"Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” — Epicurus
Americans have a reputation for living beyond their means and gathering objects that signify their socio-economic accomplishments. The idea of decluttering or reducing our possessions to what we consider essentials reach as far back as Epicurus (341-270 BC) and as recently as Marie Kondo’s “The Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.”
As I looked around my home of over forty years, I realized that I had accumulated large amounts of objects and memories: toys, baby clothes, old medicine bottles, paint cans, unused fabrics, and clothing now considered vintage. My closets and garage overflowed with objects even though donating was part of my annual routine.
So I changed my routine by Letting Go. Prior to donating or discarding unwanted objects, I photographed them, a process that allowed me to “keep” the memory of each item. Photographing the objects transformed a mundane task into an important one. Each item became a still life—evidence of the home I built and the life lived within its walls (marriage, children, illness and survival, career and retirement). These photographs provided the necessary closure, allowing me to let go of the objects. However, there were certain items I couldn’t bear to give away. Hence, “Holding Back” became a part of the process.
Ultimately, these images ask several basic questions: What do the objects we cling to say about us? Does one ever regret letting go of their posessions?