Read Culture

The Burning House

A visual archive of last minute saves goes from blog to book


“If your house was burning, what would you take with you?” That’s the question that Foster Huntington poses in his blog, The Burning House. Readers respond to Huntington’s question with a single image and the corresponding list of the items they would snatch, making the Burning House a visual solution to the interview. “We live in a very material culture,” says Foster. “I’ve always been interested by the way the things people own are reflective of their priorities, their experiences, and where they come from.”

In marrying personal and captivating visuals with an examination of values, the concept has proven interesting to a wide audience. To capture the representation of that shared sense of response, Huntington has gathered a selection of saved-from-the-fire vignettes in a new book, coming out in July 2012.


The idea for The Burning House started at a dinner party in April 2011 and evolved quickly into an extensive visual archive. Attracting posts from a range of people spanning journalists in São Paulo to illustrators in Stockholm, The Burning House commemorates the individual while it simultaneously connects the collective. Posts include items that range from the logical to the romantic, from passports and phones to well-loved matchbox cars. “I think today people have such an appetite for images and information,” says Foster. “I think that’s what The Burning House satisfies.”


The culmination of The Burning House is a book set to release on 10 July 2012. The book will contain more than 200 entries including 50 exclusive to the print edition. The Burning House is available now for pre-order for about $12.

Images by Graham Hiemstra


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