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IKEA has just hired photographer Annie Leibovitz to document normal people doing normal things in their homes

Last year, IKEA went around the world interviewing some 37,000 people in 37 countries about what it takes to “make us feel at home.” And one of the things that they discovered was that nearly 50% of people do not feel like their home reality is authentically represented by what they see in the media. In other words, there is a disconnect between how we actually live at home and how the media suggests we are or ought to be living.

To explore this disconnect a little further, IKEA has just announced that photographer Annie Leibovitz will be the company’s inaugural Artist in Residence. Leibovitz is best known for her celebrity photographs. But for this assignment, she’s going to be travelling to the US, the UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, India, and Sweden, to photograph normal people doing normal things in their homes.

This is a fascinating idea because we know that there are all kinds of cultural biases around housing. Here in North America, for example, there is a longstanding history of hating apartments. If you wanted to properly raise a family, you needed a morally correct form of housing; meaning, a grade-related house. But this reality isn’t universally possible in most big cities today, and that is probably one of the reasons why we now have this disconnect:

…why do people feel like they’re not represented in the media, that they’re left out? ‘In the same way that there has been a typical idea in the fashion industry about what size a woman should be, there’s been a typical idea of what a home is,’ wagers Leibovitz. ‘But now we’ve opened up in all sorts of ways, and there’s a difference between a home and feeling at home. And the latter can happen in many different places and maybe that’s more important now than an actual home.’

On a more basic level, I think people are also just endlessly curious about how people live and what their homes are like. So regardless, this should be interesting.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

1 Comment so far

  1. Nancy Cohen

    A few years ago I took an extended vacation travelling across China. Although I found the country interesting what I was most interested in is how people live. Unfortunately it was next to impossible to get any of the people I met to invite me into their homes. I felt that this was important and regret not hanging had the chance to engage with the Chinese at home.

    I did however, when travelling through Germany, have the good luck of being invited to have lunch with a family that lived in Corbusier’s apartments there. Now that was a treat.

    I think that’s the big loss with the way we’ve travel now.


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