Inherent Spaces Series

Parallel to the Family Dynamics Series, I have continued working on the Inherent Spaces Series from 2010 until presently. The idea behind Inherent Spaces is to portray our psychological connections with the concept of “home” as opposed to the physicality of “house”, and at the same time contemplate “home” as a temporary transient space. Home is defined as a place of residence or refuge. It can also refer to the geographic area in which a person grew up or feels they belong. I am interested in the idea of “home” as both a physical locale, and specifically the alternative, relating instead to a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort. Each portrait and self-portrait un-folds inside a dynamic interior space. For this series, I photograph myself, in other people’s homes, vacation rentals, or hotels during my travels throughout the world. Stemming from my cultural dislocation at a young age, uprooted from my home country of Egypt, and re-grounded into the United States, I learned as a child that home is a place that one seeks through displacement, either personal, social, or political in nature.

I first started this series on a night when I rented a room in the Hotel St Michel in Coral Gables, Florida, as I was going through a particularly tough time in my life. I was coming to terms with my separation from my ex-husband and my recent divorce that was finalized just 6 months prior. I have to admit, I was not having an easy time of it, and I contemplated the idea of marriage, commitment, relationship, love, and domesticity.

Somehow, translating the experience into image, gave me something I could keep and hold onto, since so much else was lost. I decided to make thoughtful work full of many layers of meaning that represented various aspects of marriage, relationship, property, ceremony, domesticity, permanence, the fleeting moment, past and present. I utilized the space itself as a tool to reinforce the meaning behind the work.

I also thought about the idea of “home”. Mine had changed so drastically in the past year, after nine years of stability. However, when I was younger, my family moved constantly, so the physicality of “home” was not something that had to remain constant as I was growing up. The idea was ever changing, and my family was always re-inventing our “home”.

I embarked to photograph myself in other people’s homes, incorporating the vivid colors and the inherent décor allowing the space itself to become essential to the portrait.