In the third instalment of ‘Where Is Home?’, photographer Olivia Arthur discusses capturing the final few months of her pregnancy, recording a period of waiting that depicts a family of three both impatient and nervous to meet their new arrival.

In the third instalment of ‘Where Is Home?’, photographer Olivia Arthur discusses capturing the final few months of her pregnancy, recording a period of waiting that depicts a family of three both impatient and nervous to meet their new arrival.

For Olivia Arthur, ‘home’ has never really been a place.

Growing up, her father worked as a diplomat, meaning that she and her three siblings were accustomed to the ritual of moving house every few years.

As a result, there’s never been a specific physical space – a childhood home, a bedroom, a town – that binds the British photographer’s memories together. Rather, it’s always been about the people: her family.

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

“A lot of people have that association with their childhood, a space or a place where are all those memories are held, and because we lived in a lot of different places, I don’t have that,” she explains.

“But, what I do have is a family that I’m very close to. That’s the thing I’ve really taken with me from my childhood. That’s much more important than the place. We retained this closeness to each other.”

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

So, when it came to her involvement in Magnum’s HOME series, it was never going to be a case of returning to a location. Instead, for Olivia, pregnant with her second daughter at the time, it provided the perfect opportunity to document her own family – a gang of three, soon to be four – on the cusp of change.

When she began shooting, she was already into the final months of her pregnancy. Thus, the photos that make up Arthur’s contribution to HOME depict a period of waiting, illustrating the feelings (excitement, anticipation, nerves) that she and her family shared as they looked forward to a new arrival in their “little world”.

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

“Since my first daughter was born, I’ve photographed more seriously at home, but this was the first time I’d done it knowing in the back of my mind it wasn’t just for our family albums.”

Shot in black and white, the series covers the “end period” of the family’s wait, culminating with a spectacular image – taken by her husband – of Arthur’s second daughter being born. “Since, I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, with the two little ones,” she adds.

“But home hasn’t changed in nature. It’s just grown.”

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

Family life. London, England, 2017 © Olivia Arthur / Magnum Photos

HOME, a collaboration between Fujifilm and Magnum Photos, runs from 18 – 27 May 2018 at The Vinyl Factory, London.

The photobook can be ordered from the Magnum website.

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