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The Art of Keeping: Paula Salischiker Documents the Homes of Hoarders

Paula Salischiker

I have always been interested in exploring the intricate relationships built between people and objects. This photographic body of work, which started in 2011, is about hoarders and the objects they feel an urge to keep. Motivated by (in)famous American TV programmes on hoarding and maybe as a somehow angry response to the insensitivity they displayed towards the collectors of apparent garbage, I felt urged to see these places myself, and to talk to hoarders to try to understand what lies behind their compulsive need for having. — Paula Salischiker

Argentinian photographer Paula Salischiker opens the door to the cluttered, uncomfortable home of hoarders in the United Kingdom. Attempting to understand the humanity in the mess, Salischiker attended multiple self-help groups in London and Essex to meet those who struggle. Surrounding by their ever-expanding collection of objects and trash, hoarders often feel lonely and paranoid about those in the outside world discovering their condition. Unable to see the debris about them, subjects were shocked by the photographs of their own homes. All admit the chaos and disorder somehow remains invisible.

I didn’t even know this was here, can’t remember where I got it from, or whether it is even mine. – Anonymous Hoarder

After spending many months documenting and being told about each “treasure”, Salischiker feels that she now understands the relationship between these objects and the struggle for those who find it hard to master the art of losing.

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

Paula Salischiker

This post was contributed by photographer and Feature Shoot Intern Jenna Garrett.

  • Lorre Fleming

    These pics look so much like my dad’s house, where I’m currently residing. I thought he was a “mild” case, but maybe not. Anyway, he doesn’t seem even remotely bothered by his clutter, and my attempts to clear it away over the past year have been met with more cluttering. Only my bedroom and bathroom remain clutter free. I’m working at letting go of my need to clear it away. It’s his house. His clutter. And he’s not bothered by it at all.

  • http://www.alexanderkreher.com Alexander Kreher

    It is amazing how similar the patterns of Hoarder’s across the globe are. I did a Multimedia piece about a Hoarder from the USA and I am impressed on how certain things are repeated in different Hoarder’s houses, e.g. the bed is covered with stuff, you will always see a vacuum somewhere in the room but it seems as if it has never been used and the kitchen looks the worst. Feel free to have a look at my piece: http://alexanderkreher.com/all-those-beautiful-things