/20 Night

Martin Hyers & Will Mebane


HOUSES is a photo installation comprised of 24 individual photographic prints of American houses. The installation dimensions are variable. (The 20 ½ x 17 inch edition measures approximately 6 feet high by 10 running feet.)

During the winter months of 2009 we mounted a studio strobe to the roof of our car and photographed approximately 1800 single-family homes from the car window. Our travels took us to fifteen states and included locations in Nevada, California, Florida, the Carolinas, and multiple Mid-Atlantic states. Our intention was to create an archive that would sample much of the American vernacular architectural style.

We draw inspiration for this project from the photographs of buildings made by Walker Evans and Russell Lee under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration. We are also much indebted to the conceptual and formal strategies utilized by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Henry Wessel, Ed Ruscha and real estate listings.

Our primary concern was to continue the forensic-inspired technique that we had utilized in our earlier project, EMPIRE, a series of still life photographs that were made with on-camera flash. In HOUSES, the strobe is employed to isolate the buildings, to emphasize the inventory-taking nature of our photographic process and to create the impression of a scene.

For us these pictures conjure thoughts of home, privacy, foreclosure, and the American dream.