Intimacy under the wires

The images of New York-based street photographer Sivan Askayo explore the poetic side of laundry
Photograph by Sivan Askayo
Photograph by Sivan Askayo

'Laundry is something so personal and private, yet so public,' explains New York-based photographer Sivan Askayo of her latest project. 'Looking at laundry seems so mundane, yet when you delve in it, you realise laundry tells of people’s intimate lives. They hang their sheets, their night clothes, even their underwear for all to see. We would never expose these personal things if we were actually in them, would we?'

Begun in the vibrant alleyways of Tel Aviv's Jaffa neighbourhood, Laundry, has become an ongoing project, taking Askayo to Madrid, Barcelona and London to snap the anonymously displayed drying clothing. The resulting images are both intimate and unconfined while their snoopy character makes laundry, a seemingly prosaic subject, all that more intriguing.

'As a street photographer who lives in New York City, I hardly (if ever) come across the sight of laundry hung outside the windows to get dry. It was a common thing to see, however, when I grew up in Israel. In every city there is that area, usually in old neighborhoods, where laundry is hung up outdoors. It amazes me to see how laundry is similar in different countries and cultures and yet so different. From looking at someone’s laundry we can tell so much about them and their families without even meeting them.'


Follow the link to The Shpilman Institute for Photography blog for further images and comments on the project from the photographer herself.

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