When a deep-seated desire to be accepted for who we are—in a culture that values what we have—becomes twisted and perverse, an awe-inspiring home in the right neighborhood can feel like the ultimate expression of worth. In the recent housing boom, that desire was exploited by everyone from real estate agents to mortgage brokers to Wall Street traders to politicians. We are now dealing with the aftermath of people grasping to fill their inner void with homes they could not afford.

Distressed is a series of fine art photographs, produced as a social commentary on our obsession with the grandiose over the genuine. At the time of capture, I abstracted the subjects—financially distressed properties on the San Diego real estate market—for the purpose of directing the viewer away from depiction and into visceral connection. The narrative is further enhanced by a title pulled directly from the home’s MLS listing, as well as a visual layering of the MLS text on the photograph. The visual style of the series is chaotic, intense, and saccharine, echoing the exploitation, desperation, and delusion swirling around these homes.