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The Burning House— A Treasure Trove of Inspiration

By Jules Ebe on April 21st 2013

“If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.”
~ Foster Huntington


Illustrated with witty, sometimes moving and unusual photographs of people’s most cherished possessions, The Burning House celebrates the differences between people around the world—and the unexpected common threads that unite us.


The Idea

The project was started in late April 2011 while Huntington was still living in New York City, germinating as an idea on a subway trip home to a tumblr site weeks later. Huntington soon found himself signing a book contract, traveling the States in an old VW van, and dawning a new perspective. The project grew beyond the questions raised by the visual images—it became an introspective journey to discover what is truly valuable in life?

Content and Structure of the Book

Image based content dominates the book, while including vital stats of the individual’s chosen belongings. The ages range from teenagers to senior citizens. The photographs are just as varied, ranging from surf boards, to iPhones, to teddy bears.



A Few Favorites

Name: Audelino Moreno
Age: 41
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Occupation: Art Director
Father’s Leica
Timex Watch
Field Notes
Russian Binoculars
Vintage Map Meters
Favorite Chambray Shirt
Old khakis
Small gift box

Name: George Yanakiev
Age: 23
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Occupation: The online guy @ ad agency
Junk food
Junk food
Junk food

Name: Manuel Platzer
Age: 27
Location: Vienna
Occupation: Digital Media
Book: “Behind the Zines: Self-Publishing Culture“
Book jacket and a book
Polaroid camera
Photo of girlfriend
“The Impossible“ darkslide
Drawing tools
Handmade T-shirt by my girlfriend


The Burning House is a beautifully realized compendium of the human condition. Each photograph is a portrait of the person’s interests, longings, and prized possessions. It expands the point of view we tend to take in our everyday lives. Personally, I found this book to be a treasure trove of inspiration. It allowed me to take a moment from all the educational material out there and expand on what drew me to photography and art in the beginning—capturing the value of a moment in time.

If The Burning House has sparked your attention, you may also want to pick up the title PostSecret, a collection of anonymous post cards detailing extraordinary confessions from individuals throughout the world.

To purchase The Burning House for under $15, click here.

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.


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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting

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