Secret Spaces focuses on the intimacy of inside space and looks at bringing the inside outside as discussed in Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space. I chose to photograph the interior of handbags because they are reservoirs of privacy and secrets. A handbag can protect or reveal identity, it is a manifestation of power and status, it offers a form of security through its contents, and it has symbolic properties. Carl Jung described the purse as “the archetypal symbol for the fertile womb, the shape, the darkness, the secrecy … all that is hidden away.” In Shakespeare’s English the word purse was used to represent vulva and the shape of handbags has echoed the female anatomy from seventeenth century pouches tied under skirts and marriage purses to the contemporary range of handbags in shops today.
The interiors of handbags use fabric, ribbon and leather combined with hard objects in a decorative way and the result is a sexual yet abstract object. In his essay on photography and fetish Christian Metz describes how photography is suited to work as a fetish. These principles can be applied to my photographs which are both fetishistic and uncanny. They can be touched or looked at lingeringly, there is the unknown off-frame element of the absent contents of the bag and the photographs are prints of real objects yet show what is private and cannot normally be seen. By showing these images I have the feeling I am breaching a private space and revealing intimate secrets.
Framed C-Type Prints, sizes vary (max print size 20 x 24 inches)