New East Digital Archive

Home comforts: a door into Estonian interiors

2 April 2015

Estonian photographer Triin Kerge is interested in the idea of home and domesticity; this is the prism through which she has explored the national identity of her home country in her project Kodukoht (“Place of home”). “Sometimes I gained access through the people I know, but often it was by walking around areas where I thought I might find homes I could add to my project,” remembers Kerge. “I never knew what would be behind closed doors until I knocked, described the project and people were kind enough to help me with it.” The interiors she has captured are intimate, but they also reflect Estonia’s complex history: the country was occupied by the Soviet Union for nearly 50 years, regaining its independence in 1991 and joining the European Union in 2004. “In some of the homes I would still find old Soviet-era practical furniture or tin boxes for flour, sugar, raisins, etc. The tower block buildings that I photographed in reminded me of the Soviet times. Their minimalist interiors, in contrast, were influenced by the West,” says Kerge. “Estonian homes are colourful and people tend to express themselves a lot through their domestic spaces, no matter how much they earn.” There is something flat about these pictures: as if the walls, furniture and view from the window all merge into one deeply personal and slightly nostalgic postcard.