A Portrait of Possessions

Although I wasn't even ten years old at the time, I remember being really captivated by Peter Menzel's Material World: A Global Family Portrait.  The concept is simple— cultural portraits in the form of photographs of "average" families presened alongside their possessions.  A sort of stripped down, dissected interior editorial, minus the style element, in a way.  Anyway, I hadn't seen the book in YEARS, so when I had a chance encounter with it at the library this week, I knew I had to take a look.

The photographs might be a little dated, but the idea that from possessions, you can extract dreams, lifestyles, and cultures, is timeless.  What do your possessions say about you?

Russia, The Kapralovs, 1993:

 China, The Wus, 1993:

Kuwait, The Abdullas, 1993:

Scans from Material World, by Peter Menzel, 1994.


home before dark said...

Didn't know about this book. Charming and provacative. As was hearing someone actually went to a library! I think my possessions would say I appreciate history, memories, stories and a heavy duty dose of loving tools (cookware, dinnerware, books) as decorative objects. What about you?

KP said...

v cool idea-I'd love to see it updated xo


Home- Come to think of it, the one thing that unites most everything I own is an appreciation of stories. I love an object or interior that looks like it has an interesting tale to tell! But if I were to lay everything out Material World style, one would think I've got a propensity toward the old and ugly, a fascination with the human form, an unhealthy obsession with light, and a strange attraction to baubles that vacillate between the dingy and macabre to the excessively frouf-y and totally tacky (ha). Yup, that pretty much sums it up. And you know I adore tools as decorative objects.

kpeach- I totally agree, I'd love to see an updated version. I know Menzel had a more recent book out, on the various foods people from around the world have in their refrigerators. Interesting, but it just doesn't have the same appeal!

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