Power Houses: Canada’s First Ministers
Typologies have been a common practice used in contemporary photography. Championed by photographers like the Bechers, typologies give unique insight into the chosen subject matter by contrasting and comparing many examples of the same subject. While traditional typologies generally rely on physical characteristics to form a cohesive grouping, I wanted to explore an ‘abstract typology’ – a typology of power. Specifically, I photographed the exteriors of the homes of the Prime Minister and Premiers of Canada, the ones who we elect and give power over us in our country.
The purpose of photographing the homes of these decision-makers is to give the public a more insight into the lives these people lead, while still being completely unobtrusive and seemingly objective. However, complete objectivity is, as in all facets of life, impossible. Having these homes on display allows viewers to either identify or disassociate themselves with the individuals, as well as contemplate on the power these people have in the lives of Canada’s citizens. Having these homes shown beside each other displays the relative status of each of these seemingly equal participants in the democratic process, for as with any personal object, a home denotes the status and power of the people living inside it .
At the same time, I hope to challenge the viewer’s notions of power, and force them to confront their perceptions about these people and the power that they wield. How abstract does their ‘power’ become when the status of their homes do not accurately represent your perception of a powerful person? Or is the opposite true, that their ‘power’ becomes more tangible if they seem to live a more luxurious lifestyle? Understanding ‘power’ and the perceptions we have about it can only increase our understanding of our society, of these politician’s roles in our lives and the directions these ‘powerful’ people can take us.
This project was photographed in July-September 2006 and I hope to update the project in the summer of 2012. The read the blog of my experiences photographing these homes in 2006, please visit powerhouses.blogspot.com. All prints are available for purchase. For sizes, pricing or more information, please contact me.