The Enigma of Objects

An ongoing editorial project that showcases everday objects with reflections on what they evoke. Each edition centres on a theme and examines material culture through crowd-sourced artifacts and stories.

Edition 1 | AT HOME : The pandemic has us sheltering in place, amidst a collection of objects that help us feel safe. Even staunch minimalists reserve a category for objects that spark joy. How do such morsels of materiality become vessels of hope, nostalgia, and grief for us?

Edition 2 | CYCLES : Cycles operate within us and upon us. They can feel tight, like a week racing by, or long and drawn out – bringing us back to familiar beginings. Then there are cycles that continue in spite of us. Nature is full of cycles like this - a sun that arcs overhead and sinks no matter what the day holds; leaves that grow only to fall and feed new buds. What objects embody these cyclic forces in our lives?

Edition 3 | RECORDS : Music can release a flood of memories from bygone times. This edition focuses on recollections that live inside objects and nest in the sound waves they emit.

Submissions: To feature an object from your personal collection, please send the following to enigmaofobjects@gmail.com or message me via DM on instagram:

  • 2 photos of an object that responds to the current theme. See photo guidelines below
  • A short text on its significance and what it evokes for you. Max. 500 characters or 200 words
  • Your name and city. You may use a pseudonym if you wish to stay anonymous.

* Submissions from past contributors are accepted for new editons. Curator may edit submissions for clarity and consistency.

Photography: Whether capturing your object with a phone or camera, photographs should be taken under natural light, against an even backdrop, and in focus. A photo framing the entire object is recommended, you may also include detail shots.

  • Ensure good lighting. Place object by a window during the day, in indirect daylight. Avoid harsh shadows from direct sunlight.
  • Create a neutral backdrop. Drape fabric, use paper, or shoot against a wall, so that the object stands out against a background.
  • Framing and focus. Choose a square frame on your device, if available. Keep steady, and check that the object is in focus.