“Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.”

Margaret Morton photo, Google Images

The article opens up discussing Margaret Morton’s photographs. It states that “Margaret Morton’s photographs of New York’s homeless demonstrate how urban space impacts the psyche and directs behavior” (Nersessova). It then goes on to explain what the article will discuss. However, I will be focusing my summary on the section Domestic Architecture.

It opens up with “The very idea of domestic architecture is a new understanding of structural design, and it assigns a different meaning to homelessness” (Nersessova). It goes on to discuss the categorization of “homeless”. It states that the difference is the level of vulnerability and level of awareness of that vulnerability. With the homeless facing the reality of vulnerability, it shows the inventive nature of endurance. The creation of personal space is difficult for homeless people in the richest population of the city. It states, “To allow people to create their own personal space would be to give them the right housing and to remove the damaging stereotypes of laziness and need for charity” (Nersessova). It continues and discusses that Morton “celebrates the power of the human creativity of the homeless” (Nersessova). The areas in which the homeless are living, is usually described by outsiders, but Morton’s outsider status takes the fear out of the idea of what it is to be an insider. Morton “brings her audience closer to what is rendered invisible through physical and emotional distance” (Nersessova). She turns interviews and photographs and turns them into sociopolitical commentary among other things, but most importantly, she lets the neglected tell their stories. It discusses some of her stories in detail. It goes on discussing that what is worthless to someone, provides shelter and security for some others. She discusses that people do not think of homeless people as regular. She states “the demolition of homes represents a robbing of identity” (Nersessova). Homeless people build their homes to have the ability to self-identify. With this statement it goes into detail discussing Moses’ story.

Morton discusses that “The issue of voice in human survival is ot only about the individual voice but about the community” (Nersessova). This paragraph discusses that the negative connotation given to homeless people is crime and violence, but in reality, they look out for one another. She discusses the problem of “social class” without directly stating it. Morton exclaims,

The homeless are a group that is in some way beneath the public, and whether this idea of superiority is a product of the perceived laziness of the homeless or of recognition of a difficult existence, it does nothing for the homeless.

Morton discusses many interesting things throughout this section. In this paragraph she discusses that the existence of homeless is because “the state of not being homeless is not clearly defined” (Nersessova). She also states that this is a complication because homeless people have homes, but these homes are not protected by the government due to how we perceive them. At the end of this section, it closes out discussing one of her stories. She states that the government shouldn’t have to recognize them as homes because they physically built their homes as well as mentally investing into the process of building that home.