Monday, 13 June 2011

What would you take with you if your house was on fire?

I recently discovered a website called The Burning House. It's an open blog of what people (mostly professional photographers, it seems) would take with them if their house was on fire. It's beautifully photographed – of course – but also really fascinating to see what people perceive as essential and irreplaceable in their lives.

I think part of the 'about' explanation states that all people and animals have been safely removed from the building, so there's no need to include them in your lists. I think 'your handbag' is also excluded. This is all about the material possessions that are part of you and the loss of which you would truly mourn.

There are a lot of cameras, old negatives, photo albums. There are also a lot of favourite shoes – none of which are new, they're all old and battered and comfy-looking. Most people have something that belonged to their parents or Grandparents. Some people seem to have just decided to save the most expensive items from their living room.

When you look at it – which I'm imaging you have by now – you start to wonder what you'd take with you. Well, this is my list:
  • my holiday scrap books

  • my box of letters

  • the grey wool dress that is the first piece of vintage I ever bought

  • the first print I ever bought, on a family holiday in Regensburg

  • my external hard drive

  • my Bally heels

  • vintage two-tones bought on holiday in Cairns

  • collection of sketch pads containing my drawing of shoes I wish I could make

  • my favourite pair of jeans

  • jewellery belonging to both of my Grandmas

And this is what that looks like:

It's not exactly an easy collection to carry, but that's not the point. When I sat down to think about this I was looking around my room, my bookshelves really thinking about what I couldn't replace. There is a lot of stuff I'd miss and while it wouldn't be the same brand new, I could still replace it - my 5 year long collection of international Vogue's, my books, my HUGE closet and all my shoes. I'd miss them, but ultimately it is all replaceable.
The items above I could never replace. Some of them – like the shoes and jeans – are just absolute favourites. But my hard drive with 10 years worth of photos and the start of a crappy novel I'll never finish? Irreplaceable.

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