Member of the Month April 2023
When my reclusive neighbor of many years disappeared and died in her house, there were no friends or family to claim anything that remained: her body, her possessions, or even her memory. It seemed she was simply going to disappear.
Who had she been? What had happened to her? Convinced the answers lay inside her silent, vacant house, my curiosity grew into obsession.
“The House Next Door” documents the days and weeks and months that followed, as I gained entry, and returned to the house again and again. Initially driven by emotional voyeurism—a desire to observe and investigate the details of a life so different from my own—my motivation and perspective shifted over time. Through letters, photos, and personal items—many salvaged from a dumpster I climbed into—I pieced together fragments of her history. Her mementos grew meaningful to me, and I began spending more and more time in the house next door, giving shape and voice to her past. Her story became vividly real to me; a part of my own memories now. I felt both gratitude, and a deep sadness for all that was lost. Were we really so different, after all?
A meditation on atypical beauty, perception, and point of view, “The House Next Door” ultimately considers how one individual’s untold story can impact and alter the life of another.
Elizabeth Bailey is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses photography to create evocative imagery that explores the themes of self, identity, memory, and longing. She uses staged scenes, portraiture, and self-portraiture with implied narratives to consider what we conceal and reveal about ourselves to others.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Bailey moved to Los Angeles at 18 to attend Occidental College. After receiving a BA in Philosophy, she studied photography and graphic design, finding that each informed the other. She currently works as a graphic designer and fine art photographer.
Her work has been exhibited in galleries nationally and internationally, including Light Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon; A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas; and PH21 in Budapest, Hungary. Her photographs have been published in books and magazines including Float, Stubborn, and SHOTS Magazine, and are held in private collections.