The drama of life rarely unfolds in majestic settings. Instead, nondescript spaces are more often the stage upon which one's life is lived. What Christine Welch sees as these "sometimes modest, sometimes sterile, sometimes pretentious rooms" are often dismissed or overlooked by their occupants, even when transformative encounters and events occur within their walls. Commonplace, a powerful new work of photography, provokes greater appreciation for these common spaces of everyday American life, as it captures their quiet power and subtle beauty in evocative images. Whether photographing the food-stained living room of a fraternity house, the dimly lit booth in a local cafe, or the cool sleekness of a corporate boardroom, Welch captures the poignancy of common spaces and the meaning they hold in our society. The unpopulated images in her book are blank canvases on which readers can project the particulars of their own experiences. Commonplace helps us redefine and rediscover those spaces too common for preservationists to save, yet too vital to the emotional fabric of American life to pass over. "Christine Welch's Commonplace is an excellent look at public places of daily life.
Many photographers have addressed this subject, but few with her feeling for color, and none with her empathy for the ways these places struggle to get it right." - Gregory Conniff, author of Common Ground
Christine Welch is associate professor and coordinator of photography at the Pennsylvania School of Art & Design in Lancaster. Her photographs are included in the permanent print collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Franklin and Marshall College, Maine Photographic Workshops, and the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, among others, John R. Stilgoe is the Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at Harvard University.