Annick Sjobakken

Annick Sjobakken is a Des Moines based photographer and educator. She received her BFA in Photography in 2003 from Parsons School of Design and her MFA in Photography, Video, and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in 2009. Her work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Fraction Magazine, Lenscratch, and PDN and has been shown in numerous exhibitions.

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When I moved to Des Moines I tried my best to make it feel like home. As I familiarized myself with my new surroundings I was drawn to the pastel enameled steel houses that I would see periodically. I soon learned that these prefabricated structures were called Lustron homes, which were developed in the post-World War II era for returning GIs. I longed to enter them and to meet their owners. I wrote letters to all of the Lustron homeowners in Des Moines, and was thrilled to receive responses.

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One by one strangers began to invite me into their homes. I made portraits of the homeowners and photographed the interior and exterior of each home on the day that we met. It was fascinating to see how homes with identical floor plans, square footage, shelves, doors and windows could be individualized by their owner. When I first started this series, I had convinced myself that befriending Lustron home owners was key to assimilating into Des Moines, however none of my subjects have become my friends.

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To view more of Annick’s work, please visit her website.