English Domestic Interiors [1986/7]

Published in 2021 by Cafe Royal Books, [and now in second printing] these photographs are made in the homes of friends and family’s parents and grandparents, looking at the interiors and domestic displays. This way of working and looking at the home environment influenced my photographs of the families I worked with in the later series Pictures from the Real World.
English Homes
©Louise Benson

English Domestic Interiors
compiles a study of the objects, decorations and ephemera encountered by Moore in the homes of family, relatives and friends' parents. “With the phrase 'English Domestic Interiors’, I'm acknowledging a difference, perhaps, in some vernacular that may have disappeared, I could have even called it ‘English Interiors of the East Midlands’ as an attempt at a necessary specificity amd authenticity.”

The households captured here preceded the scenes shown in Pictures from the Real World. “They're from a slightly different set of domestic circumstances, and they reflect a little more my own background than do the interiors that were drawn from Pictures from the Real World ”. China ornaments and glassware are highlighted by Moore’s flash, sat primly on dark wooden dressers against floral wallpaper and fringed lampshades. “I remember going to my grandparents' homes as a child and being so fascinated by what was on display,” he says. “this project like many became a reorientation for myself, photographing places that were quite familiar”.

Moore describes English Domestic Interiors as a still life project. Objects sit alone in rooms empty of their owners, hinting at who might occupy these spaces without ever revealing them. “I was looking at how environments can offer metaphor and simile ” Moore says. This attunement, not only to our immediate surroundings but how they are shaped by broader circumstance, runs throughout his work. His skill lies in burrowing below the surface to reveal the intricate network of strands that connect us geographically, socially, economically and politically, like uncovering the inner workings of an electronic toy.

This is rarely straightforward, and Moore continues to interrogate his own work and the stories he is telling. As he concludes: “People often feel that they need to take a conventional narrative form with documentary photography. Photography is much more interesting when it asks questions of itself rather than try to resolve a story.”

Edited from a larger interview first published in Scenic Views magazine, September 2022