It is very entertaining to come across a photographer with a sense of humour and this is something I enjoyed about Tom Wik’s work. He photographs houses in his neighbourhood from their street view, but almost in a naughty little boy fashion, he picks out houses that conceal or hide their “face”, or present a questionable appearance to society. One almost gets the impression that the photographer is akin to that naughty school boy running amok at someone’s wedding while he pokes fun at the aunties and uncles with his shennigans.
Each house that Wik has photographed has its own distinctive character, sometimes lamentable, sometimes laughable. Wik says it in his own words (1):
Sometimes the owners’ personalities are evident, other times there’s no hint of what might be going on behind the walls. I love houses that say “Don’t bother ‘friending’ me” . . . where people have put up barriers, planted shrubs . . . anything to screen and isolate the house from the street, homes that hide the answer to “Is anyone home?” I usually shoot these houses head-on because I think it gives them a certain dignity. I like the view from the curb. Initially it’s a structure that attracts me. James Agee and Walker Evans saw that the structures we inhabit are not merely physically necessary but crucial to us spiritually. I’m drawn to these houses. I’m curious about what goes on in them.
The architecture in North America is very different to what I am used to coming from South Africa and I too find some of these structures rather comical and quaint. This type of project I would definitely love to try in my neighbourhood as well, although I might include the alleys behind the houses in the project as well. Either way it is going on to my To Do list.
Smithson, Aline (2013). Tom Wik [online]. Available from: http://lenscratch.com/2013/03/tom-wik/ [Accessed 19 June 2015]
Tom Wik [online]. Available from: http://www.tinylenses.com/index.php [Accessed 25 July, 2015]