The Picture Show
3:39 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

If Your House Were On Fire, What Would You Take?

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:34 pm

That's the question Foster Huntington asks on his blog, The Burning House. And to answer the question, you have to submit a photo of what you'd take.

Few of these piles really resemble what one might grab in a panic. They are carefully contemplated and arranged. And the responses vary. Some interpret the question to mean: What would you need to survive? (Advil, scissors, rubbing alcohol.) And others take it to mean: What are your most irreplaceable possessions? (Photos and stuffed animals.)

Huntington, who started the blog, falls into the latter camp. He'd grab family photos and a few blank rolls of film, he says.

At the time of its launch, he was a fashion designer in New York City, "surrounded by a culture interested in definition by possessions," he writes via email.

Last summer he quit his job and bought a Volkswagen van, and since then he's been living on the road — dispatching his photos on a personal blog and via Instagram, with the hashtag #vanlife.

"Hearing and interacting with thousands of people's responses to the question has helped me realize I need a lot less to be happy," he writes.

A book edition of The Burning House: What Would You Take? will be released next week.

And how would you respond? Submit it to The Burning House — or to us!

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.