NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

PortWatch

November 27, 2013

No one's home

Exhibit documents what people leave behind in foreclosures

(Continued)

He turned to freelancing so he could pursue topics in depth, which he examines in series of photos that are either documentary or devoted to capturing the light in particular environments.

“Foreclosed Dreams” combines these approaches, Wells said, to present a contemporary social crisis through poetic means.

“I didn’t want to do people standing in front of their houses upset, because it’s a very narrow visual language,” he said. “I didn’t want people to look at that and dismiss them.”

Although he often interviewed real estate agents to find out what had happened to the people who had lost their homes, Wells felt it was important not to include them in his photographs.

Viewers tend to distance themselves from people whose circumstances seem unique, Wells said. But imagining what might have happened in a scene when all you can see is its aftermath helps us put ourselves in others’ places.

“I wanted people to look at this and think, ‘This could have been my grandma’s house,’” he said.

In one picture, a half-eaten grilled cheese sandwich is left on a plastic foam plate on a kitchen counter, along with an empty bag of chips and a can of soda. Behind it, out of focus, a dish rack with a few glasses sits next to the sink, at an angle that will allow it to drain.

In another photo, a cardboard box has been left on the floor, with a child’s stuffed toy leaning its head against one side, as if in despair. A piece of paper pokes out of the top of the box and may have been used to pack something inside, raising the question of whether these items were forgotten or abandoned.

Wells thinks that many people have moved beyond this crisis in their minds, but millions of foreclosures are still working their way through the system, leaving plenty of agony to document.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Special Features