It has been several weeks since I started writing down words to tell the story behind the photographs from the shoot I did at my father’s studio. I had no idea these images would bring back my childhood memories, and it was absolutely unexpected when they stirred up so many emotions in me. This little assignment turned into one of the hardest things I’ve had to write in a long time.
This photo session started out from the need to take pictures of the interior of a loft that’s owned by my father. In fact, not only does he own this space, he is the one who designed and oversaw the construction of the whole building this two-level apartment is located in. See, my father is an architect, an amazingly talented and accomplished one. His portfolio contains myriad of buildings and interiors that include living spaces, educational institutions, and so many more. Yet, this one space that he envisioned to turn into a creative studio for himself has never seen the light of a day.
In 26 years that he’s owned it, the only purpose it has served was to store old furniture, scrap wood, working tools, books and magazines, rolls and rolls of construction drawings (blueprints) and one other collection of things – his miniature model buildings: some that have been actually built, some that will only exist in the model form, and some that are my father’s dream projects waiting to be realized one day.
Sadly, the purpose of our photoshoot was to capture some interior pictures to then post them next to the ‘for sale’ announcement. Even though my father wholeheartedly hates the idea, the whole family has been trying to persuade him to give up this property. Usually, he refuses to even have a discussion about this topic, but when I offered to take pictures, he agreed.
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On one of the last afternoons of my visit back home, my father picked my oldest daughter and me, and drove to this building to get the job done. We took the elevator to the 16th floor and then climbed up a couple of flights of stairs by foot to get to the last floor (according to the building plan, the elevators don’t go to the last floor, which is designated for the creative studios). As we entered the loft, memories of my childhood came pouring back to me, I remembered going there with my father and being mesmerized by all the uncommon objects I would find scattered in every corner; I’d run around, draw or paint, and play in the dust. I used to love it!
This time around, my daughter, who is the same age as I was when I used to visit this place as a child, was the one who loved running around and playing in the dust and being mesmerized by unusual items she found all around. Even while being there and taking the photographs, I failed to see this resemblance. I was so focused on getting the right angles to hide the clutter and finding enough light to take most salesy images, that I also failed to realize how sentimental this place was for me, how many special items were there that I would have loved to document with detailed shots.
Fortunately, I did capture the most important images I could have taken: my father and my daughter spending time together; the proud grandfather showing his granddaughter items that are so close to his heart, telling stories and explaining the meaning behind some of the objects that have collected dust over the years. What I also captured, somewhat inadvertently, were all these model buildings that my father has created and kept through all these years. I’ve watched him cut, arrange and glue together tiny pieces for these models. He’s even taught my brother and I how to cut small polystyrene foam pieces using a special device with a stretched hot metal wire, which worked like a laser. I would not be surprised if some of those pieces we’ve cut out in our childhood still exist in my father’s collection one way or another!
I chose to edit these photographs in black and white. When you strip off the color from an image and only things that remain are shapes and lines, lights and shadows, it becomes more about an emotion and feeling rather than specific objects or even subjects. And that’s exactly what I wanted the viewer to get from these photos – feeling of wistfulness and nostalgia and hopefully direct their attention toward those components that otherwise could have been ignored or left unnoticed.
Guest post writing and images by Sopo Titvinidze.
Sopo is a self-taught photographer, originally from the small, yet gorgeous country of Georgia, now living on Long Island, NY. She seeks to document her two daughters’ everyday through authentic, story-telling photographs. She is constantly exploring new mediums to feed her need for creativity, be it designing intricate jewelry, drafting and sewing children’s garments or learning to paint with watercolors. You can follow her at: Sopo Designs Photography
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