Sarah Hinds

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Artist Statement:

A series of images taken in vacant local authority housing in South East London.

VOID :A feeling of absence or emptiness strongly felt. The term voids is also a local authority technical term for empty properties that have been vacated by the previous tenant. The flats are then cleared of personal items although often a few items would remain. On entering these properties with my camera I did get a strong feeling of emptiness and often a feeling that the previous occupant had left very recently. My attention was taken by traces of the lives of the previous inhabitants and found myself, like a crime scene photographer, creating narratives around the clues, a pair of shoes left on a balcony, a phone left off the hook…
While inside these properties it was the interior decorations, the choice of wallpaper and colours used showing traces of past lives. I became fascinated with how the previous occupants had personalised their living space, despite the often temporary nature of their tenancy. The ways that they had made the place their home. For me this project was also a return to my own past, this time as a photographer rather than as a Housing Officer. Having worked for a local authority in the early 90s inspecting properties that had been vacated – either voluntarily or following an eviction. I wanted to present a non-stereotypical view of local authority housing, away from the idea that the dwellings are all depersonalised concrete tower blocks. The project is still growing and likely to finish
as a book as the number and variety of properties increases.

Sarah Hinds



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