‘Home’ A Think Piece by Matilda Vidal.

About a month ago, I broke up with my boyfriend.

When I told him that he could stay in the room that we were renting and that I would
leave, he replied something that surprised me: he said that this place did not feel like
home if I wasn’t there and that there was no point for him to stay.
This made me think about what makes a place home. Is it the bond you have with the
people you share this space with, is the space itself just superficial?
The theme of “home” gradually appeared as a recurring theme in my photography. It
happened unexpectedly, but, this is the first time that I intellectualise it and put it into words.
My relationship with my home is quite profound, it is an important part of my life. Growing
up in the middle of nowhere in rural Brittany, France, means that you spend quite a lot of
time in your home. My parents always put a lot of work into their homes and have tackled
a lot of renovation projects. I have family members working in construction, some others
in antiques and my mother is an estate agent in the countryside. Hence a lot of my world
and the topics of conversation that I have heard since I was a child in my family, were
about houses and living spaces.
The result of this is that I am fascinated by spaces that people call home. I like familiarity
and habits, I like cities and urbanism, I like to know where people are from and what
draws them to their home. I love London and how it has become home for so many
people. It may be an apartment block, a basketball court, a busy high street; there are
always places that people call home in London and I want to learn more about them.
Moreover, in my work in production design for film, I always find myself thinking about
domestic places. Recreating living spaces for films is an amazing exercise that demands
a lot of attention to detail. It requires to dive deep into the script and its characters: their
history, their passions, their characters traits etc. What kind of decoration (if any) is on
the wall? Would the space be cluttered or neat and tidy? What food is in the fridge?
Every answer needs to be decided according to the story and characters, design in film,
is an essential part of storytelling. Thinking about those crucial and revealing details
while designing films, made me realise that I could also pursue them with my
When entering a home, I like to see the charm that spills out of a kitchen or the layers of
decoration that has built up in a bedroom throughout the years. When in an outside
location, I like to think about memories and nostalgia. I love to take picture of those
places that people have called home once and come back to later with reminiscence. Are
these a places calm and peaceful or are they places of chaos, anxiety and worry? What
are or what were the relationships like in these living spaces? I am attracted to the
atmosphere of a place, its light and how the objects scattered around can tell me so
much about a person without them being there. Hence, this love for the home, the house
and the familiar has become a recurring theme in my photography and is what directed
me in this series of photographs. Every room tells stories and I want to share them.

-Words + Images by Matilda Vidal.

Matilda Vidal

Welcome to another Orange Peel Art Collective blog post!!

Today we are in conversation with Photographer Matilda whos work centres around the idea of “Home”! Keep your eye out for more of her work featured on our platform over the summer! ENJOY !

Q1: What is your Name, Age, and Where are you based?

Hi! I’m Matilda, I am 22-year-old and I am a photographer based in Tottenham, London.

Q2: How did you first get into your creative practice/ work?

I’m French/English and have grown up in France. I moved here for my film studies. As I
started university, I got to meet loads of fellow creatives and collaborate with them for
films, music videos and photoshoots.
However, for photography, it started when I was a lot younger, I would always be the one
taking pictures at parties or whilst travelling. It came very naturally to me and has always
been a part of my life, there was no major event or deciding moment that pushed me to
start taking pictures, it just happened, and I went along with it!
I got into 35mm photography in the past 3 years and haven’t gone back to digital since. I
learned a lot from the 35mm “discipline”, not being able to see the result straight away
and being restricted to 36 or 24 exposures. I makes me think before I take the picture
rather than after.
Q3: Are there any main or overarching themes you explore in your work?

One overarching theme for me has been the concept of home, familiarity and
domesticity. Of course, I am very privileged to even have a home and some people do
not have a place to call their permanent home. Homelessness is an essential part of the
story that is crucial to portray and talk about as, in a city like London, it implies a lot of
injustice and inequalities. I am planning to do something in collaboration with the
homeless shelter that I have been volunteering at.

Q4: Highlight one of your biggest inspirations!

Christopher Nunn is a photographer I have discovered in the past year that has really
changed my photography. His work Edith (2013), composed pictures taken whilst
clearing Edith’s flat after she passed away, taught me a lot about storytelling in

Image from Christopher Nunns project Edith.

I also really like the brutal honesty of eastern European contemporary photography in
which the theme of home is often present, either as a sort of nostalgia and longing, or as
a conflicting relationship. As Andy Galdi Vinko puts it talking about her work
HomeSickLand: “I have spent a lot of time abroad, longing for someplace else, like many
of my eastern European contemporaries, believing that my place and happiness lie
somewhere out there”
Q5: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

In five years, I would love to make images that make a difference and talk about relevant
social topics. I want activism to be an essential part of my photography practice. I would
love to be working on a research-based projects, to produce relevant and well thought out
series of photographs!

Image by Matilda Vidal
Image by Matilda Vidal
Image by Matilda Vidal
Image by Matilda Vidal
Image by Matilda Vidal

To see more of Matilda’s Work, follow her Instagram!

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