2 min read

My thing with windows and peeling paint

My thing with windows and peeling paint
Petersburg, Alaska

Includes portals, paint, denial of any voyeurism, mention of cadmium yellow, and the figure 8,235,377

I first made digital images in 2006, after shooting film for more than 30 years. Were you to review the 17 years of pictures on my hard drive—please schedule an appointment—you would find an oddly large number of windows.

Park City, Utah

Not because I find windows beautiful or compelling. Most often what prompted my attempt to make a good picture was the surrounding exterior of a building or house, especially if that exterior has been painted bright colors, especially if that paint has weathered and flaked and been battered. I think of these images in two ways. One is added color—that Pompeian red or teal or cadmium yellow did not exist in that setting until someone painted their house. Why this arrests my attention every time…I dunno, it just does. The second way I view these pictures is added geometry. Except for circles, which seem to occur a lot (pi is everywhere), nature is not Euclidean. It does not come in straight edges, isosceles triangles, rhomboids, or squares, it comes in fractals. There is math under everything, but it is usually complex math, and I like the way humans put simpler math into the world.

Rockland, Maine

These walls that I cannot resist usually have doors and windows. As subjects for photography, doors have been done to the point of cliché. I prefer windows. No one has ever accosted me, but that may be a matter of time. I am not a voyeur; I do not want to pry into what is happening inside anyone’s living room or bedroom. What I do like to capture is an enigmatic hint of what might be on the other side: a single lamp, or shadowy clutter, or an indeterminate shape. Or a cat. Cats in a window are great.

Maybe it is the way a glimpse of something in a window starts us inventing stories.

Rockland, Maine

Shutterstock advertises 8,235,377 royalty-free pictures of windows, so I guess I do not have this niche to myself.

I just hope I do not get shot someday. I live in a crazy country, you know.