For as long as American photographer Sarah Malakoff (b. 1972) can remember, she has had a preoccupation with domestic interiors, constantly rearranging furniture and other items. Her obsession continues in the series Second Nature, in which she demonstrates how people choose to decorate their most intimate spaces, through simple images of a wide range of living rooms, bedrooms and other.
Individual tastes, personalities and cultures are displayed through décor choices, displayed in these almost-too-perfectly staged images. Animals sit obediently on immaculate cushions and even the more informal set up of a few pillows on the floor look flawlessly arranged, highlighting the photographer’s and viewer’s need to control the environment around them. The interiors also act as a barrier from and a reflection of the outside world: the domesticated pets serving as less feral versions of the animals outside, whilst windows frame but also protect from harsh weather. The series presents a light-hearted contrast between the authentic and artificial, domestic and natural.
Sarah Malakoff was one of the 38 photographers selected for the shortlist of GUP#47, our 10th anniversary issue, for which an Open Call was held.