A home often expresses the taste and aspirations of its occupant. That’s can be true whether “home” is an ancestral manor, a showplace or a stretch of sidewalk. “Notions of Home,” a group exhibition now on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City features images by Larry Sultan, Tina Barney, Mitch Epstein, Anthony Hernandez, Julius Shulman, Lisa Kereszi, Mark Steinmetz, Jitka Hanzlova and other photographers who have explored a variety of places where people have made their home. The show has particular resonance now, at a time of growing income inequality, when hundreds of thousands of people around the world are forced from home by conflict, civil strife or poverty.
The oldest images in the show are by Julius Shulman, who photographed sleek modern homes in Southern California. His “Case Study” homes show people lounging in the minimalist interiors and allowed prospective buyers to imagine a glittering life there. Andrew Moore envisions a different kind of architectural splendor: a beautiful Havana villa that shows the patina of age. Other photographers captured scenes of domesticity: Laura Letinsky, for example, photographed the dishes left after a meal.
Some of the images are poignant. Anthony Hernandez photographed some possessions left on the ground near the encampment made by a homeless person. Amy Elkins photographed a sketch of a prison cell made by a 23-year-old man living on death row. The scale of these images contrasts sharply with a photo in the show by aerial photographer Alex MacLean, who photographed a suburban development in Sun City South Africa. The nearly identical white houses line concentric circles of streets that sprawl out past the edges of the frame.
Whether the subject of the photo is grand or humble, intimate or monumental, each image in this show reflects the style, perspective and concerns of the photographer.