Portfolio: Sivan Askayo shoots other people's laundry in her series 'Intimacy Under the Wires'


Robert Epstein
Sunday 24 November 2013 01:00

'We are all voyeurs," says Sivan Askayo – though before anyone gets offended, she is happy to sweeten this scurrilous reality check: "Photographers maybe more than others." It's a pertinent addendum given the subject of her ongoing project: shooting other people's laundry.

The 38-year-old began the series, called "Intimacy Under the Wires", quite randomly in April 2010, while holidaying in her native Israel. "I'd made plans to meet a friend at the flea market in Jaffa. While waiting for him, I wandered the quiet back streets when a woman's voice from above caught my attention. I looked up and saw her hanging her laundry from the balcony. For some, it may be an ordinary chore, but I hadn't seen that since I'd moved to Manhattan 12 years earlier."

From looking at laundry, she realised, it's possible to tell a lot about its owners. "They hang sheets, their night clothes, even their underwear for all to see."

Whenever she has travelled since, she has made sure to keep her eyes skyward for insights into different cultures. "I often say that I don't take people's portraits, but cities'," she explains of her images from London, Barcelona, Naples, Tel Aviv, Venice, Hanoi and more.

The work is intimate yet also has a sense of energy and rhythm as the breeze blows her subjects dry. Not that Askayo is always as free to shoot as the laundry is to sway. "I get awkward looks from time to time. Sometimes people come and stand next to me, trying to figure out what I'm looking at. Or there are times when people shut their windows or took their clothes from the wire."

Such is the life of a voyeur.

For more: sivanaskayo.com

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in