I am a hunter. Once I have hunted something, I know I've got it. I don't need to look at it all the time.

—(Anonymous horder)

I have always been interested in exploring the intricate relationships that are built between people and objects. This photographic body of work, which was started in 2011, is about hoarders and the objects they feel an urge to keep. Motivated by the (in)famous American TV programs on hoarding — and maybe as a somewhat angry response to the insensitivity displayed towards these collectors of apparent garbage — I felt an urge to see these places myself. I wanted to talk to the hoarders and try to understand what lies behind their compulsive need for having. 

I photographed the houses of people who have difficulty throwing things away. Their objects help them feel safe. The objects also take up time, requiring care and attention which is comforting for the owner. However, they also make their lives difficult, sometimes forcing them out of their own homes, suffocating them with their never ending expansion. Rather than taking portraits of the people themselves, I chose to show the objects they felt so close to.

This series is ongoing and will continue next in Uruguay. Perhaps this condition is not only related to the wealth of a country or consumerism — perhaps it is somewhat universal. And perhaps the term "hoarding" has become too loaded, too negative. Thus, The Art of Keeping.

—Paula Salischiker