Power Houses: Halifax’s City Council
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 mayor and city councillors of Halifax, the ones who we elect and give power over us in our community.
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 Halifax’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.
Exploring the reasons how we perceive those with more ‘power’ than us gives insight into the community in Halifax and in society as a whole. I hope that some of these reasons will be challenged, while others solidified, when viewing this project. Gaining an understanding of the cultural myths surrounding how we understand ‘power’ can only create a more aware public – those without ‘power’.
This project was photographed in May-June 2006. All prints are available for purchase. For sizes, pricing or more information, please contact me.