An empty home bears the weight of both loss and rebirth: it offers a strange sort of tabula rasa that is never completely blank, that carries memories that cannot be erased. My fiance and I moved into our first apartment just a few months ago, and we have spread all of our trinkets and memories amongst the mysterious evidence of residents past: an old air shower caddy, a large stain circling the dining room.
The subjective beauty of our own personal experiences is heartbreakingly translated and personalized in Ben Nunery and Melanie Pace’s series of family photographs (spotted on Buzzfeed). The images follow Ben and his daughter Olivia as they leave the house in which they lived with Ben’s wife and Olivia’s mother Ali before she lost her life to a rare type of lung cancer. Ali’s sister Melanie catalogued the couple’s transition into the house two years ago before they moved in, and with everything packed for the Ben’s and his daughter’s departure, he asked Melanie to reproduce the images, with Olivia in her mother’s place.
The images, taken two years apart, are some of the most intimate images imaginable, and yet they speak to something poignantly universal. Using the familiar language of the family photo album, each image is weighted with more profound meanings. In this bright and empty house, the young bride stands confidently and giddily next to her groom. Two years later, her daughter playfully and cautiously retraces her steps. The indescribable tie between mother and daughter comes to the forefront, and the empty childhood home is the mysterious site of their journey together with Ben.
Melanie writes on her blog, “On Friday Ben handed over the keys and drove away from the house that holds so many unforgettable memories. The place where you can literally feel my sister’s presence the second you step in the door. Heck, she poured herself into making that place their home and every inch of it was perfection.” Take a look at the astounding images below.
Thanks to Buzzfeed
Images via Buzzfeed
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