Suburban Dreams by Beth Yarnelle Edwards

Issue 21

Sometimes I’m so interested in what’s going on with people in their homes that I want to know what’s in the closet or under the bed. In my photographs I aspire to tell the viewer not just about what can be seen, but also about things that are hidden and locked away.

In 1997 I began photographing in the suburbs of Silicon Valley, where I had lived for many years. Then after Suburban Dreams was exhibited and published in Europe, I received invitations to create new work in France, Spain, Holland, Germany and Iceland. One of the most startling things about working in other countries has been the discovery of homes that are difficult to distinguish from American living spaces. For that reason, I've included some European images in this series.

My intention is not to critique but to observe. I begin with a preview visit, during which I introduce myself and interview potential subjects, asking many open-ended questions and listening carefully to the answers while observing everything I can. Since I consider myself to be a stalker of the real, I have devised rules to keep my photographs as truthful as possible. Though the events pictured are staged, they are based on information obtained from interviews with my subjects and always with their knowledge and consent. I don't pose people but rather set up improvisations and then wait for an authentic expression, posture, or interaction to appear.

Because I’m intrigued by people, their places, and their things, I’m naturally drawn to the documentary. However, my purpose has also been to make images that are arresting and can stand on their own, like paintings. Composition, color, light, edge detail---aesthetic elements are as important to me as content.

I seek out intersections of the mythic and mundane. As I attempt to reveal some basic truth about my subjects, I’m attracted to the peculiar or surprising. When I succeed, I've created an image that is both specific and universal. For Fraction Magazine, I'm presenting a selection of women and girls from my larger body of work.

Beth Yarnelle Edwards is a San Francisco, CA based artist.
To view more of Beth's work, please visit her website.

  Cathy (California) 

Cathy (California) 

  Helga and Halla (Iceland) 

Helga and Halla (Iceland) 

  Elsie (California) 

Elsie (California) 

  Kim (California) 

Kim (California) 

  Dyanne (California) 

Dyanne (California) 

  Lorraine (California) 

Lorraine (California) 

  Haley (California) 

Haley (California) 

  Dietlinde (Germany) 

Dietlinde (Germany) 

  Josien and Marleen (Holland) 

Josien and Marleen (Holland) 

  Chris B. (France) 

Chris B. (France) 

  Rita (California) 

Rita (California) 

  Lillian and Grace (California) 

Lillian and Grace (California) 

  Lucia B. (Germany) 

Lucia B. (Germany) 

  Erin (California) 

Erin (California) 

  June (California) 

June (California) 

  Jessica (California) 

Jessica (California) 

  Susan (California) 

Susan (California) 

  Harriet (California) 

Harriet (California) 

  Mareike and Bettina (Germany) 

Mareike and Bettina (Germany) 

  Benthe (Holland) 

Benthe (Holland) 

  Mireille (France)

Mireille (France)

  Laurel (California) 

Laurel (California) 

  Lea-Pauline (France) 

Lea-Pauline (France) 

  Niki (California) 

Niki (California)