I started the "Hoarders” photography series in 2016. Through this series, I strive to demonstrate the hoarder's psychological state of mind by capturing their bizarre living conditions. After shooting over twenty individual cases of hoarders, I was able to identify two common traits among them: Firstly, all hoarders share a crippling fear of loss. Secondly, they lack a sense of security in their lives. Both traits can perhaps be attributed to past experiences. In most cases, individuals are either unaware of the abnormal environment in which they dwell or feel powerless towards their situation.
For majority of the cases, the hoarders’ actions have had serious repercussions on their own lives and those of family members living with them. The hoarders exhibit a distinct lack of insight into their hoarding habits. After interviewing each case subject and hearing about their past experiences, I was able to gain a deeper understanding as to why they are compelled to hoard. While society can be quick to view these people in a negative light, I have come to see that they are greatly misunderstood; in fact what they need the most is our care and support.
What is it that causes hoarders to be terrified of loss and be so lacking in a sense of security, that they feel compelled to seek relief through the act of hoarding? Hoarding has long been a neglected mental illness. It is currently unknown if the act of hoarding can be classified as a specific illness or merely a symptom brought on by some other illness. Be that as it may, there is no doubt of the extreme stress this habit exerts on a person at both a physical and psychological level.