Stilts 7

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

“Stilts 7” / Kiunga, Western Province, Papua New Guinea / June 2013: The space below the house on stilts is utilized for various uses, including for hanging laundry, for cooking, and other family activities.

It was in September 2011 when I started the Stilts series which featured houses elevated on unusually high posts.  The colored photos I  posted back then were those taken along the banks of the Fly River in Kiunga, Western Province, PNG (see links below).  Understandably, because of the frequent flooding of the mighty Fly River, houses along its banks have to be elevated to prevent the muddy waters from seeping into the dwelling’s floors.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

The muddy road to the upland village in Western Province

Apparently, this is not the only reason for building houses on stilts.  During my visit to Western Province in June 2013, we went to an upland village which is obviously not in danger of getting flooded but, there, the houses were also built on very high stilts.  In these areas, the main reason for building elevated houses is quite different.  Villages are located in the midst of tropical jungles and thus it’s safer to sleep on floors situated high above the ground.  The other practical reason of course is work and storage space.  The dry area below the sleeping quarters provides a perfect space for cooking and doing other chores, for storing supplies and materials, and, as far as the kids are concerned,  for horsing around during monsoon months.  I have decided to use sepia for this segment of the stilts series because I feel that these images, even if they were taken just recently, appear to be a throwback to more primitive times.