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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Alison A. Smith

SPE Member since 2006
Member Chapter: Midwest

Modeled Perfection

A generation ago, home was a rock that grounded a family to its environment, its community and to each other. The home often reflected the personality of the people who occupied it, but today, society's approach to home ownership has changed to reflect a more transient mode of living. Despite this shift the suburban housing mode continues to remain predominately geared toward the nuclear family. However, against much scrutiny, new suburban development has managed to revise itself by means of providing additional community amenities, increased security and desirable locations by water, golf courses or other recreation. Even with the recent bust in the housing market and the trend toward people saving and cutting back on spending, many community developments are still promoting a lavish lifestyle.

The Modeled Perfection series addresses the sociological aspects of marketing and advertising homeownership in gated or master planned community "luxury model" homes. The work looks at the perfection of the homes on display and often where perfection fails to measure up. I am intrigued by the duality. I show the flimsy veneer of such promotion and desire to achieve this "American Dream" by focusing on the subtle details of awkward juxtapositions of architectural styles, non-functioning decoration and the prevalence of readily available art. In addition to the interiors in the series, mixed in are exterior and landscape photographs capturing the process of constructing and developing these specialized communities. The work borders a thin line between commercial, home decorating and real estate sales photography, and that of art photography. While my intent and motivation is different from selling the product, my photography borrows the visual language of both commercial and art photography.

Park Sign, Louisville, KY


Driveway, Suwanee, GA

Seagrove In Between, Carolina Beach, NC

Entryway, Wilmington, NC

Mounds, Athens, GA

Don't Tread on Me, Vinnings (Atlanta), GA

Tower, Cobb County (Atlanta), GA

Pool, Vinnings (Atlanta), GA

Entrance, Lake Wylie, NC

Billboard, Louisville, KY

Cul-de-sac, Lake Wylie, NC

Living room, Statham, GA

Guest Bedroom, Greensboro, GA

Daughter's Bedroom, Clemson, SC

Garage, Greensboro, GA

Master Bedroom Fireplace, Greensboro, GA

Master Bedroom, Greensboro, GA

Basement Office, Greensboro, GA

Living room, Greensboro, GA

Master Bedroom, Clemson, SC

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