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"My everyday life in 10,532 things"
"My everyday life in 10,532 things"

The Belgian artist spent two years photographing everything she owned. The question arises: How much does a person really need?

10,532 things
10,532 things

Do you have any idea how many things you own? How many pins, hair ties, earrings, tubes and jars? What exactly and how much of it is in the shallows of your closet? - No? Most of us probably don't. One woman who wanted to know exactly is Barbara Iweins. The Belgian took everything in front of her lens every day for two years that she found at home. She spent 15 hours a week doing it. "I photographed every object in my house room by room, corner by corner," she writes on her website. The photographer calls the project her personal "catalog".

10,532 portrayed objects

10,532 photographs documenting your personal property. Statistically, the amount is not uncommon: The average household in Europe has around 10,000 things so the result of the study "Life at Home in the 21st Century". The reason for Iwein's extraordinary inventory was her eleventh move, she explains in an interview: "While packing, I noticed that it was always a burden for me that I had collected so many items."

"I was amazed at the relationship I have with the objects that surround me every day."

Photographing her belongings should help the mother of three deal with her possessions. "I was amazed at the relationship I have with the objects that surround me on a daily basis. My home and all things give me stability in this chaotic world ", she says. Your original goal: to limit yourself to less. That was apparently never easy for Barbara Iweins, as the artist describes herself as a "collector since a young age". This is also reflected in her photo project. Below you will find a picture of her first wristwatch as well as a doll from the seventies.

Photo project as a self-disclosure

"As a neurotic collector, sorting things has always given me great pleasure," laughs Iweins. That explains at least a bit the quirky approach to their project. In order to maintain an overview, she categorized her objects according to colors, materials, frequency of use and where they belonged. Some also according to their emotional value, by stating whether they would take it with them in the event of a fire. She was particularly meticulous: "To avoid mistakes, I worked my way from left to right in each room and used post-its to remember which objects had already been photographed. After each photo session, I put the data in an Excel -File inserted."

Barbara Iweins Photography
Barbara Iweins Photography

For the photographer, this project is also a kind of self-revelation. Because while Iweins pointed her camera at someone else in all of her earlier projects, the work on "Catalog" revolved around her own life for the first time. "It's a bit of an autobiography To show all my belongings to the world. In this way I also reveal a lot about myself. It's a strange but liberating feeling, "says the mother of three children. Everyday objects, games and dolls are also part of the collection.

Burden or importance?

The photographer couldn't more easily part with her things after this report, and that was exactly the plan behind it: "In the course of the work, two opposing feelings arose. On the one hand, I found many of my possessions more of a burden, but at the same time they won Objects by ordering and classifying but in importance and beauty. " One day it even lasts for several hours enthusiastic about the aesthetics of a syrup bottle been.

Even things that were defective and should actually be thrown away, such as a broken Christmas tree ball, were allowed to stay on Iwein's shelves after the photo project: "I thought I would sort out radically, as Marie Kondo does, but the opposite was the case. The more useless the items are, the more indispensable they became to me. "

"All my life I've lived with the fear that I might lose everything overnight."

After Barbara Iweins had taken in all of her 10,532 belongings for two years, she also felt reassured in a certain way: "All my life I have lived with the fear that I could lose everything overnight. 'Catalog' is for me now forever proof that these objects and this life existed. " Your conclusion after all this sorting, documenting and taking photos: No one really needs that many things. "I think only one percent of the items we own have real meaning to us," she says. The Belgian will still not become a minimalist so quickly.

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