/18 Family

Justine Reyes

Home, away from home

I’ve spent the past nine years photographing my immediate family (my mother and two uncles) at home. After the death of my uncle Vinnie I booked a trip for my mother, uncle Al and myself to Bermuda to allay some of our grief. Since then we’ve traveled to Spain, Italy, Australia and the Jersey Shore. Home, Away from Home combines the photographs of my mom and uncle at home, with pictures of them in hotel rooms around the world.

After my uncle Vinnie’s death I began focusing more on their fragility; my uncle Al’s broken nose or my mom injured from a fall. The pictures of them at home are laden with my own fear of loss and grapple with the realization of my aging parents’ mortality and the inevitability of their death.

Away from home the hotel rooms become grand stages for dramas that never quite unfold. I focus on the subtle underlying tension created by being slightly out of place and out of one’s comfort zone and the little things we do to try to recreate a small piece of home wherever we go. By staging them in foreign hotel rooms designed to have the look and feel of domestic comfort, I begin to draw relationships between home and away from home both literally and metaphorically. This work utilizes my close relationship to my family to examine the idea of leaving and returning home, and the longing to hold onto things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature.