All photos by Jonathan May. Used with Creative Commons permission.
The concept of home can be different for every person and even groups of people, which is why it’s always fascinating to see how photographers interpret it. Previously, we’ve seen Magnum photographers take on the challenge with Fujifilm and compile their visual stories in a photo book aptly titled HOME. Today, Sydney-based photographer Jonathan May brings us another fascinating perspective through his series titled Transient.
As the title suggests, the series explores the idea of home through the unique lives of caravan dwellers on the South Coast of New South Wales. Their living spaces are temporary in every sense, but that didn’t seem to have stopped them from making homes out of them. As May himself described, there’s a certain transitory beauty that can be gleaned in how each of his subjects have found refuge in their unconventional dwellings.
Our featured photographer here takes a peek at the daily lives of the caravan dwellers with both an artistic and documentary eye. Through the former perspective, he shows us the things the caravan dwellers have done to make their transient living spaces as cozy as possible. With the latter, he presents to us the truths about living differently this way: it can be harsh, inconvenient, cramped, and austere, but it’s still possible to give it a semblance of comfort found in a typical home. As the saying goes, home is where you make it.
Transient is certainly one of those projects that you want to see more of, and I definitely wish May would continue exploring this concept of home even elsewhere. He certainly knows how to add a tinge of nostalgia and wistfulness to a visual story, whether real (as with this documentary series) or imagined (as we’ve previously seen in his THE SOMNAMBULANT series).