Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by Rob Meyers

I have always been a nosey person, especially when it comes to people’s homes! Any chance to be invited into someone’s house I would always jump at; a look around a show home, yes please; a snoop on Rightmove – you get the picture. The reason? I love to see how people’s personalities and tastes come across in their interiors, what is their style in their most sacred place – their home. It is fascinating and something I will never tire of. So as you can imagine, when I saw Rob Meyer’s book pop up on someone’s Instagram account, advertised as a look into ‘the private homes of 25 of the world’s most creative people’, I knew I had to have it.

The premise of the book is the culmination of a project by the author Rob Meyers, who, with the same intrigue I posses, began to send disposable cameras to creatives asking them to photograph their homes for the project. Meyers works within the creative industries and so his contacts are wide ranging and fascinating, from Courtney Love to Tavi Gevinson, and the photographs are as interesting as their home owners. He gave them trust in him, by providing photos of his own home alongside the camera, and there was only one rule – one image must be of the contents of the creative’s fridge. The rest was open to interpretation!

What I love most about this book is that it is a view of each home through the eyes of the owner – their most treasured items, the way the sun hits their favourite spot or their shelves and wardrobes piled high with wonders. And here in lies the cleverest, most wonderful thing about the project. As Meyers explains in the book, if he were to be invited into these homes to take pictures, he would have an outsider’s view; a tidied, presented version of the home without its normal quirks and taken through the eyes of a visitor rather than the creator of the space. Instead, by providing a disposable camera, the homeowner Meyers has created a book that isn’t ‘about capturing the perfect home … (but) about revealing a personal space; taking those quiet moments and sharing them…’. It’s genius in my eyes and a concept that I would love to see taken into other projects.

One of the main reasons that I originally bought this book was the inclusion of one of my favourite ever creatives, Tavi Gevinson (creator of Rookie Magazine). However, once I got into the book I found that each person’s home was equally enthralling even if I hadn’t heard of them before. The book provides a small introduction to the homeowners before sharing the photographs and I feel like actually, despite this, you would learn more about the person from simply the photos they took. Not poo-pooing on the introductions, but instead really trying to tell you how insightful this project really is.

I’d highly recommend this book, particularly if you have an interest in the creative industries or interiors. We can all tell by now that I found it fascinating and I’m sure you would too! What do you think a home says about its owner?

  1. Interesting idea. Aside from satisfying your nosiness – nothing wrong with that – what was your take away response to the book? Interesting too that all the people were arts creatives, but that be who Meyer knew well enough to ask; the circles he moves in.

    1. I think it made me think a lot about the work I’m doing to become an Interior Designer and how I might like to approach projects more organically than I am perhaps trained to do, letting client’s style and objects be one of the things that steer the design. Yes, definitely – I’d like to see the project expanded to reach further afield! x

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