‘Model Homes’ by Isabelle Hayeur

'Catherine' from Model Homes by Isabelle Hayeur

'Nadia' from Model Homes by Isabelle Hayeur

'Roxane' from Model Homes by Isabelle Hayeur

'Virginia' from Model Homes by Isabelle Hayeur

‘Model Homes’ is the name of a series of photographs by the Canadian photographer Isabelle Hayeur. Taken between 2004 and 2007, the series explores contemporary suburbs and hopes to present a portrait of our society through the suburban houses and model homes that populate the North American landscape.

While talk of urban sprawl is everywhere these days, I’m interested in how Hayeur notes that the suburbs are no longer the faceless, soulless places we so often read about – instead, for better-or-worse, they’ve grown their own identities. Yet the identities which Hayeur speaks of are grown from ideas formed by clueless property developers and steered by the greed of commerce. The suburbs have become a simulacrum – a place where the houses no longer hold context. The buildings stand with little connection to their original sites and model homes become like unused film sets. These houses are mere prefabricated copies of the homes that fueled the fantasies of 60’s and 70’s suburban lifestyle.

Hayeur’s series of photographs aim to highlight this dichotomy. Her model homes are like warped dream houses. They’re the kind of buildings that fill the catalogues of developers and contractors everywhere. Yet Hayeur’s buildings are subtly digitally placed in landscapes that emphasize the obscurity of urban sprawl; thus creating haunting portraits of our suburban society.

To view the complete series of photographs visit Hayeur’s site here.


November 3, 2011