Where the Heart is:

California

 

The erosion of affordable housing continues to cause the displacement of vulnerable people throughout the US. My ongoing study, Where the Heart Is: Portraits from Vernacular American Trailer and Mobile Home Parks, investigates this uniquely American and deeply affected housing subgenre and challenges the ingrained stereotyping of the 18-20 million Americans who live in trailers and mobile homes.

This project is informed by immersive research into affordable housing and the American Dream, then contextualized by issues impacting manufactured housing (as stigmatized trailers and mobile homes are being rebranded). Conversations with park residents and collaboration with park managers, urban planners, and academics further ground my image’s fine art aesthetic within the documentary tradition.  

Inside trailer parks, feelings of community are heightened by the care often devoted to the ornamentation and landscaping of confined yards and entryways. I delight in discovering these spaces and presenting them as portraits revealing the personalities of the unseen residents. These often exuberant public displays are in contrast to the anonymity of life within the urban high-rise where I live today.

Singular portraits of individual homes are also classified and constructed into a library of typology grids, archiving differences and commonalities across communities. This act of observing, collecting, and codifying is embedded in my creative process and has been my lifelong way of engaging with the world.

To date, Where the Heart Is includes locations within Maine, California, Texas, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, and Arizona. This California portfolio highlights unique landscaping gestures and reflects responses to park density.