For the last thirteen years I have been working on a photography project called Domestic Landscapes. This project is about light - natural daylight. The photos show how daylight illuminates the domestic interior, and how it dictated the way the interior was built, used and decorated. This specific light and the atmosphere it creates have their origins in the architecture of the pre-electricity era, when daylight was the main source of light. This kind of light started to disappear from European homes after World War II when the old way of building was abandoned. At this moment few of these homes remain.
Domestic Landscapes is also about identity and diversity. Every country, every region has its own distinctive culture that can be recognized in its homes, customs, cuisine and traditions.
The inhabitants of the houses where I take photographs still know how something ought to taste and how it should be made; they understand the importance of time and ripening, and the value of daily and seasonal repetition. I found that when local traditions disappear, most of their visible aspects are also lost. When a small farmer stops slaughtering, the open fireplace becomes redundant. Sausages and hams will be dried artificially and smoked in a factory losing their original flavour and appearance. And when a small farmer stops farming, the stables are converted into storage or living spaces, the stable doors are replaced by windows, the cement floor by parquet, the hayloft is altered into bedrooms, the kitchen is moved to the former parlour, and slowly all rooms and spaces will have lost their original meaning and significance.
The title Domestic Landscapes refers to the characteristic panoramic format of a landscape photo. It also refers to the idea that the homes that I photographed form a landscape of the life of the people that live in them. These homes have changed just as slowly through the years as the landscapes in which I found them. The people in the photos have aged with their habitats and have become part of it.
Cool summer nights. Windows open. Lamps burning. Fruit in the bowl. And your head on my shoulder. These the happiest moments in the day. Next to the early morning hours, of course. And the time just before lunch. And the afternoon, and early evening hours. But I do love these summer nights. Even more, I think, than those other times. The work finished for the day. And no one who can reach us now. Or ever.