21.09.2012 in21:16 in Documentary -->
Gail Albert Halaban began looking into other people’s windows six years ago, soon after moving to New York. She was living across the street from a 24-hour flower shop, waking up at all hours with a newborn baby, and the shop was the most reliable show in town. Then, when the store changed owners and hours, she said, she needed something else to watch.
“I really wanted to see the whole city, and the only way to do that was from other people’s apartments,” she said.
The photographs here come from her continuing project/obsession, “Out My Window,” taken from the apartments of people who like to look into their neighbors’ lives. Fifty images from the series will be published in book form by powerHouse on Sept. 18.
Ms. Halaban, 42, begins by finding watchers, then asks permission from the objects of their gazes. The watched all know she is shooting. In six years, only one has said no, she said.
“People have been incredibly friendly,” she said. “Everyone looks at their neighbors, and they’re almost happy to have a reason to acknowledge it. People have great stories of meeting somebody at a party, and realizing they’ve been watching that person for years.”
She uses a normal lens, rather than a telephoto, to approximate the watcher’s view. So far, Ms. Halaban said, she has seen nothing like the action in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” in which Jimmy Stewart
solves a murder across the courtyard.
“I never saw ‘Rear Window’ until three weeks ago,” she said. “I was afraid to see it, because I thought it might be creepy, but it was so inspiring that I started shooting a lot.”
She added: “The fact that I haven’t seen anything crazy mirrors daily life. Most of what we see is people making dinner or watching television or giving their kid a bath. Daily life is pretty mundane.”
Series: Out of my window…