Recently my friend Paula Cheney asked me if I would like to be involved in a series of blog posts about The Burning House project. Basically, The Burning House project is a project by photographer Forster Huntington where he asks people from different generations what they would save if their house was on fire. It's an interesting project, not only seeing what people choose as their most treasured items, but also how everyone perceives their material goods.
Paula decided to ask some of her friends to do a photo similar to the original Burning House project. My entry is posted on Paula's blog here. I thought I'd share it here with you all too.
Before I start, as we all know, if a fire broke out, the main thing we'd all want to save is our family and pets. Material things are just that... things. But even so, let's just say it was a smouldering slow burning fire and I had lots of time to gather up my stuff... here's what I would go to:
(In no particular order)
1. Vintage camera collection - I have a nice collection of cameras including old brownies, 35mm, 120mm, accordion, polaroid etc. Many I have used, many I have just collected.
2. Letters from friends and family - I have three old suitcases full of letters and postcards. Probably way too many to save in a burning fire! But they all mean a lot to me and I love re-reading them. Connecting with friends and family through snail mail is always special.
3. Vintage letter opener - I have about 20 or so different ones (I know, crazy! I mean, I don't receive enough letters to justify this!)
4. My diaries - The one pictured on top is my diary from high school when I first met my husband (sensational reading in that one!), while the one underneath is my diary from my big European trip in 1997. I have actually burned many of my diaries from childhood, but I'd be sad if I ever lost these two.
5. Kombi curtains - After traveling through Europe for a year in a Kombi van, the only thing I could keep from the van was some remnant material from the curtains.
6. Knitted hat - both my children wore this the day they were born.
7. Photo negatives - I have folders full of B&W negatives taken over the years (before I went digital). A whole body of work!
8. Grandma's sewing supplies - she handed down her pinking shears to me when she had to stop dressmaking. I then inherited her complete sewing collection after she passed away. She taught me so much about sewing as I was growing up (among other things) and I continue to use her supplies.
9. Grandma's watch - my Grandfather gave her this watch as an engagement present and Grandma gave it to me many years ago. It was actually stolen in a house invasion about 10 years ago, but we found it in the forest nearby a couple of days later! It was meant to stay with me.
10. Photographs - need I say more?
11. Passports - Not all who wander are lost, but I'd be lost without my passport! I know they're replaceable, but I love looking through the stamps. Each one represents so much!
A few things I didn't include in the photo:
12. My children's favourite treasures (Sunshine especially).
13. Computer and hard drive - we have 3 back ups in 3 different locations (home, work and with another family member). We back up every month, including all digital photos. So I think I'd save some other stuff first. Unless all three locations were on fire at the same time!!!
14. My handbag with my wallet, phone and all the stuff that I have in there!
See more about the original Burning House project here. And a huge thanks to Paula for asking me to be involved.
It's an interesting concept to think about, as it's made me aware of the 'things' I really do treasure and how there is so much stuff that I could easily leave behind. However, I hope that I'm never faced with a burning house in the first place. My Grandparents house burned down when they were young and lost everything. I remember them telling me a few stories about it, and it sounded horrifying. Let's hope we aren't faced with that situation. But if we are, like I said earlier, even though I treasure those items listed above, my main focus would be on family and pets. Oh and the highschool diaries of course - as Oscar Wilde once said: one must always have something sensational to read!