When Roberta Neidigh began taking long walks in her Sacramento, California, neighborhood, a white shed she had driven by for 10 years and never noticed triggered an awakening that would lead to her photography project titled Property Line. “I grew up on 100 acres of farmland in northern Indiana, a very different place than where I live now. Rural open spaces are inherent in me, and I am continually interested in people’s histories and their landscapes.”
That shed opened a door to seeing plots of land in a more personal, slower light. “There’s an inherited form of community in these neighborhoods, a standard of expression that is still fresh to me even though I’ve lived here for 36 years.” Neidigh’s perspective celebrates both the humorous and the voyeuristic. Several generations have passed through these midcentury neighborhoods, and in her images she captures the tension between the different eras or in homeowners trying to maintain that cultivated community standard, no matter what. “We have a tendency to edit out the property line; we don’t look at how it touches our neighbor,” she says. That point of contact — the groomed lawn, the crumbling driveway, the fortresslike fence — reveals “an intersection that is usually ignored despite being in plain sight.”
In this body of work, Neidigh documents the abstract nature of that border and how homeowners protect it: Does it create tension? Is the visual dialogue natural or fractured? And is the boundary line something that divides us or connects us?