Once you start thinking of your home as a sanctuary, then your ingenuity can run pretty wild, as seen in this global tour of dwellings.
People find habitation pretty much anywhere, from scrap tin and wood to a sizable piece of cardboard. But destitution is not the Tates’ point. It is to show how people have used the materials at their disposal to fashion creative and wildly diverse dwellings not as a matter of last resort but as a matter of snugness, a place that provides a sense of comfort and security. The photographs are key: They convey a sense of place, evoking places where readers could imagine unfurling their bedrolls. The Tates moved about a great deal as kids, living in over 50 places by high school, so they have seen their share of different homes. But here, they get into some good and curious abodes: castles to yurts to igloos, Japanese capsule hotels (not for the claustrophobic), long houses and treehouses, wagons to teepees, and lots of caves and underground sites, including abandoned opal mines and storm drains. The supplementary text provides setting and logistical peculiarities, but more than that, it provides anecdotes about the homes, from the beautiful designs on the vardos (Romany caravans) to the cave complex used as sanctuary by Jewish refugees from the Nazis.
“Sanctuary” springs from the Latin sanctus, or holy—and the Tates have kept that well in mind. (Nonfiction. 8-12)