509 is a series of photographs of the family home of music industry veteran and publisher Jefferson Holt. Drawn to Pecchio’s ongoing photographs of inhabited spaces, Holt invited Pecchio to photograph the home of his upbringing in Burlington, North Carolina two years after his father passed away. The home has not changed much in several decades. Why should it? Fads pass and new appliances are often poorly made. Wait long enough and the wallpaper might come back into vogue.
The photographs examine the spaces and souvenirs that make up the record of one family’s life. There are objects of meaning and photographs of those held dear. The rooms themselves hold strong associations, even though the furniture and elements within have been reconfigured over time. Corner (pictured above) marks the spot where Holt, as a child, stood in front of a floorboard heater on chilly mornings before school. The individual heaters have since been replaced with central heating, but evidence of the old heater remains in the house and in Holt’s memory. The phenomenon is universal, as Gaston Bachelard describes in The Poetics of Space:
“For our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word… But over and beyond our memories, the house we were born in is physically inscribed in us. It is a group of organic habits. After twenty years, in spite of all the other anonymous stairways, we would recapture the reflexes of the ‘first stairway,’ we would not stumble on that rather high step. The house’s entire being would open up, faithful to our own being. We would push the door that creaks with the same gesture, we would find our way in the dark to the distant attic. The feel of the tiniest latch has remained in our hands.”
PECCHIO: Much of my work examines connection to place, and well-loved homes are rich with subject matter. Before I made these photographs, I walked through the house with Jefferson and his mother. Both shared stories about each room and its contents. When I came back and had the place to myself for a week, I had time and freedom to explore, two things I value most in my photographic life. I worked through the house room by room. I’d begin by sitting in a room, carefully taking in each detail. I connected some details to the stories I had been told and invented other stories of my own. Then I’d begin photographing. One photograph led naturally to the next, and I stopped only when I felt I had exhausted all possibilities.