Published on May 25th, 2015 | by Alana Tamminga


Homebody: documenting house arrest


Environmental portraiture – also called location portraiture – is all about capturing the essence of someone’s personality in context. The subject’s surroundings and expression all contribute to a photo that tells a story. This is the type of photography that has always appealed to me most. I love for an audience to get to know a person through my photographs. When Ashley approached me to document a somewhat embarrassing and brief period in her life, I jumped on it. I am attracted to brave people who are willing to put themselves out there, virtually naked and exposed. That sort of vulnerability defines courage to me and is an honor to capture through photography.

Ashley is a mom, a very dedicated mother of two adorable little girls. And Ashley made a mistake…a common mistake many of us have been guilty of…she drank and drove. The difference between her and most of us: she got caught and ended up on house arrest.

10700636_10152801146801392_6204537038823854490_oI wanted to capture what this consequence of her mistake felt like, how it affected even the smallest details of her day. Some examples: ankle bracelets are often not waterproof so bathing is not easy. You must regularly plug in and charge the device, sitting alongside the electrical outlet like a robot waiting for full power. Sometimes, when your child calls suddenly for you, you forget the device is still charging.

You must keep a tiny phone within ten feet of the device at all times.

The entire time we were shooting (and discussing the looks she gets, being a tattooed mama on her you-only-have-an-hour-to-grocery-shop run with her children), this mantra developed and kept running through my head: Before you assume, learn the facts. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think.

Ashley could have been any one of us and she learned from this mistake. I’m glad she was brave enough to share her story and allow me to tell it.



*All photos created by Alana Tamminga


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One Response to Homebody: documenting house arrest

  1. Teresa says:

    This is beautiful

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