“I wonder what it will be like looking at them in twenty years,” write Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen of his contribution to the HOME group project. “This time capsule from when Anna and I were young, and the kids were just two bundles of limitless potential.”
Born in 1977, Bendiksen is still young enough to be adding to his family, and shot his contribution to HOME last summer, “when Bille arrived and Boe went from being our little baby to being a big sister”. It’s a time he’ll never forget, he says, though it revolved around the simple things in life – playing, eating, being at home. “That’s what life was about at the time, so it seemed a bizarrely appropriate reason to photograph these events,” he says.
It’s also a time he would have been photographing anyway, because Bendiksen is a keen chronicler of his family life – though usually it’s not for public consumption. “We used to look at our family photo albums when we were young and for everyone looking at them, they were magical,” he explains.
“I photograph my family anyway, although it’s different to other projects because usually I’m not doing it for anyone else. I try not to switch into professional mode or think about an audience. I try to keep it personal.” And, he modestly observes, they’re not photographs he would necessarily expect anyone else to be interested in – though he also counts them as “among the most important photographs I’ll ever take”.
Beginning his career at 19 as an intern at Magnum Photos in London, Bendiksen left to travel to Russia and start an international career that sees him shooting all over the globe. But for him, home is where his family is, and when I ask him if there’s a photograph that sums up its essence, he immediately points to an image showing his wife and kids at a table surrounded by green foliage. This table is at the heart of their daily life, the place where he and his family gather, eat, and talk, he says; for him it’s the place that sums up home when he’s away.
HOME, a collaboration between Fujifilm and Magnum Photos runs from 18-27 May 2018 at The Vinyl Factory London and the photobook can be ordered from shop.magnumphotos.com. Further information on the project and international exhibitions is available on home-magnum.com