Living Places

'The pleasures of life do not fill time but leave it empty. The human mind however, feels detestation and discomfort in the presence of empty time. Present time can admittedly seem to us to be full, but in our own memory it nevertheless appears to empty, for when time is full of diversions and the like, it only feels full when it is contemporaneous - in the memory it is empty. If one has not done anything in one's life but simply waste one's time, and then looks back at one's life, one will be unable to understand how it could come to an end so swiftly.' - Emmanual Kant


Through use of an adapted paper negative process, Living Places takes a wry look at the present era of ubiquitous surveillance, social networking by literally recording everything that has happened within the participant's living space for periods of a week or more in a single photographic frame. Volunteers were sought and chosen through an open-call online, the process is explained and the subjects collaborate in the installation of the camera in their chosen personal space, normally a bedroom. The camera is then left, shutter open over an agreed timeframe.

The resulting images give cause to reflect on the apparent need to record our lives in comprehensive detail and the corresponding trend of making this record of banal, yet often highly personal information available for public consumption, via various social networking platforms. These photographs seek, in abstracted form to document and to an extent subvert this confessional trend, in which the public and private are increasingly entangled; the intimate commonplace.

Part of this series was exhibited at Photomonth as part of the Ideas Tap Magnum Photos Award, winning the Conceptual Category prize

“There’s an aged, ghostly, luminous quality in William Arnold‘s timeframe shots of vacated offices and bedrooms, where air and Vermeer-ish light seems to assume a life of its own.”