Treasures of the Heart
These pictures and the words that accompany them tell the story of C, a self-described hoarder who gave me permission to make photographs in and around her home. The title of each picture is something significant C said to me. I made this body of work because I grew up in a house much like hers. I wanted to reveal the startling beauty that hides behind that ugly word, "hoarder".
When I met her in 2014, C was in her 70's - a grandmother who had outlasted two marriages. She lived alone in a very messy house, surrounded by what she called her "treasures of the heart".
C is an open book. She'll tell you her life story two minutes after you've met her. Her tears flow freely, as do her denunciations of "the banksters" and "that bitch [who] stole my cat". She once told me, with alarming frankness, "I never knew what a boundary was until I was 50 years old." Indeed, I more than once found myself chauffeuring her to and from her daily errands while she made calls on my cell phone.
C's lack of boundaries was also a blessing: she opened her home, and her life, to a stranger with a camera. I have tried to justify her faith in me by telling her story using her own words and things. Every picture contains something that she and I both found striking, precious, or beautiful. Every picture also contains evidence of C's struggle with an ever-rising tide of stuff. The "treasures of the heart" are inextricable from the trash.