Intimacy Under The Wires

Jul 29, 2013
Photographer Spotlight

by Maria Luci

The following statement and photograph series is by Wonderful Machine photographer Sivan Askayo:

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Like a lot of things in life, this photography project started with a random image. And, like a lot of times in life, sometimes you have to get away from a place in order to discover it. These two phrases basically initiated my on-going photography project, “Intimacy Under the Wires.”

As an Israeli photographer based in New York City, I hardly, if ever, come across the sight of laundry hanging outside windows and balconies to dry. It was a common scenery for me growing up in Tel Aviv. So common, in fact, that I didn’t even notice I missed it, until I returned for a visit.

I started the project in April 2010, in the narrow allies of Jaffa, Tel Aviv. A random shot I took of a laundry drying initiated a journey of photographing laundry in every place I visit.

We can tell so much about a someone’s life by looking at their laundry. Some have all work shirts, some party dresses, uniforms, children’s clothes, tank tops, t-shirts, sexy lingerie and so on.

Laundry is something so personal and private, yet so public. Looking at laundry at first seems mundane, yet when you delve into it, you realize it tells the story of people’s intimate lives. They hang sheets, night clothes, and even underwear for all to see. We would never expose these personal things if we were actually in them, would we?

It’s about the differences between the cultures, the places, the hometowns and the people who wear these clothes. In every city there is that area, usually in old neighborhoods, where laundry is hung outdoors. It amazes me to see how laundry is similar across different countries and cultures, and yet so different. When I photograph laundry, I always make sure to relate it to its location, whether it’s a street sign, a building, or a window. I’m also interested in the texture and colors of the buildings where the laundry is out to dry.

Another hidden layer of the project, or not so hidden, is our urge toward voyeurism. We are all voyeurs, photographers perhaps more than others.

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View more of Sivan’s work at sivanaskayo.com.

Tags: laundry sivan askayo