Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I am a photographer of rent-stabilized apartments

[Photo by Susan Schiffman]

Since July 2017, longtime East Village resident Susan Schiffman has contributed an ongoing feature to EVG titled I Am a Rent-Stabilized Tenant.

Susan is the subject of a Q&A today at Gothamist. To an excerpt!

What do you look for when you photograph an apartment?

I go in totally blind. With these apartments, I don't know most of the people. They don't send me pictures. We don’t talk about it. There is a text that has always been important to me. It's called the Poetics of Space, and it’s basically about how the house is a metaphor for the mind. There are few things that informed this work and that is one of them.

To get into these people’s homes and see how they arrange their jewelry, their clothing, and their books — it’s people's arrangements that make them feel safe and secure in their home. When I walk into home, I can tell a really important arrangement. It's one thing to live in a house: A house has a basement and an attic and all those rooms and closets. It's another thing to live in an apartment for 40 years, where do you house all those memories and belongings?

You can revisit her past EVG posts here.

And if you're interested in inviting Susan in to photograph your apartment for an upcoming post, then you may contact her via this email.


Marjorie said...

dear lord, the comments on the gothamist piece! they're like a tsunami of the horrid people who now populate the east village -- "ew, so much clutter!" and "horrible!" and "old people are gross!" (ok, i paraphrase a bit). the commenters unintentionally illustrate WHY susan's project is so essential. and beautiful.

i literally wear a bracelet that says "never read the comments." WHY DID I READ THOSE COMMENTS.

Giovanni said...

Never read the comments on Gothamist unless you want to have a really bad day. Their regulars have a daily competition with each other to keep outdated Gawker-like snark alive. I’m sure the new overlords at NPR are not amused by their antics either.

Keep up the great work, Susan, your series is amazing.