Burning Desires: What Must be Saved

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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There has long been an obsession with bucket lists (although most of us never heard the term until the film with it in the title). Lists of what to save if the world came to an end are just as frequent, these days, as lists of favored otherwise insignificant objects. The latest, and possibly the most absorbing, collection of lists is twist on the what would you take to a desert island trope: The Burning House: What Would You Take? by Foster Huntington (It Books). The title speaks for itself. It also speaks for the numerous natural and man-made disasters that occur every year. The book and website (with many more answers to the question) is fascinating to view. What’s important to someone says lots about that someone, in a way.

But having been trapped in a burning apartment, I can tell you I took NOTHING!!! Not even my glasses. I was just grateful to my neighbor for alerting me and to the NYFD for taking me out my window on their ladder to safety. Its great to be able to ponder such theoretical question as “what would I take,” but the reality is that the moment overrides rational thought. So this premise is more figurative than literal:

If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.

Yet taken at face value, the objects of importance and desire that are presumptively saved by the contributors to this book and website are fascinating for its range and surprising for its common denominators. You can submit your own to The Burning House site here. And here is the author’s display of objects:

Name: Foster Huntington

Location: New York City

Occupation: Fashion

Website: http://restlesstransplant.blogspot.com/


  1. My Grandfather’s Explorer Scout Shirt

  2. Naked and Famous Jeans

  3. Zeiss 35mm f/2

  4. Nike SFB boots

  5. Ralph Lauren Alligator Belt

  6. Leatherman Wave Black

  7. One basalt rock from the Columbia River Gorge

  8. One shell from Nicaragua

  9. Three shells and one stone from the Maine coast

  10. 45 RPM Orange Bandanna

  11. Vintage Woolrich Horse skin hunting gloves

  12. LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive (all of my photos and image research)

  13. Rolex Submariner Date with Zulu Ballistic Nylon Band

  14. Oakley Razor Blades

  15. Ernest Thompson Seaton, “Two Little Savages” (well worth a read)

  16. iPhone 4

Not Pictured

  1. Canon 5D Mark II

  1. Sigma 50mm f/1.4