Portfolio - 2005 - Winter Windows

I do not think that I am alone in finding the lit window alluring. Many evenings travel in Winter is spent craning my neck, catching that quick sidelong glance into another person’s world – a world which they have put on public display through the simple action of turning on a light. The stage is set, it tells us more about the actors than their presence and performance ever could, their unconscious is laid bare in the swags at the window, the ornament on the ledge.

I have had this project in mind for some time, when I’m feeling very brave I even carry out the act; I follow the rules and I take the prohibited glance a step further, I take the photograph. And I flinch. The fear of being caught performing the transgressive act, although apparently invited, hangs heavy.

Is this illegal? I haven’t been able to find out. I am not trespassing. I am not intruding beyond that already freely visible, yet the private space is captured and celebrated for all its uniqueness, its uniformity or its out-and-out bizarreness. Is that really how someone else lives? Does this take me any closer to understanding how other people live in this society? Is it really identity on show?

The Rules:

  • No people, I’m not interested in the occupants, only in their habitat.

  • Front window only, no other identifying exterior features, anonymity is important.

  • Image of whole front window including casement frame.

  • If there has been a noticeable effort to obscure the window I will not intrude (if there’s a big hedge, its safe).

  • Any level of illumination from the inside.

  • Observations must occur during Autumn or Spring when British Winter Time is either waxing or waning and dusk is exaggerated. Ideal time for observations is 5-5.30 pm.