Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Place Bourbon, 2006

Regular readers know that one of my favorite photographic motifs is the “portal perspective,” pictures taken looking out a window or doorway. But I hadn’t realized until I looked back through some pictures from a recent trip to Providence, Rhode Island, that I seem to be pretty shameless about taking pictures that look in, as well.

I’m not so much of a voyeur that I would think to photograph people in their privacy of their own homes. But when I am somewhere where interiors are visible from the street without any mechanical amplification or violation of privacy, I do like to imagine stories that take place in the rooms I see.

I can easily envision stories in each of these:

Red & Blue Rooms, 2010

Window Lace, 2010

Keeping Watch, 2010

Ceiling Shadows, 2010

Seeing these reminded me of Place Bourbon, above, which is just down the street from the hotel where my wife and I stayed during our last trip to Paris. It’s kind of a swank neighborhood with a surprisingly affordable little hotel in the middle of it. A lot of the apartments were dark during the time we were there. (Do Parisians all leave town in late May?) But every now and then you’d look up and catch a scene like this and wonder what lush life might be lived there.


  1. Hmmmm....you've given me more food for thought and possibly inspired me. Now, when I get arrested for being a peeping Tom I'll just tell the judge it's all your fault!

    Now, how many do it yourself snowman kits can I put you down for? Since we'll be back home for a visit next week I'll make you a deal and forgo the shipping and handling charges.

  2. Oh, I'm shameless. If someone has lights on inside, and no curtains drawn, I love to look inside! I don't think I'm trying to see the people so much as the house itself. I was in the Netherlands where long windows were right down to the ground along canals, and they never had curtains drawn. You could look right in, and I never hesitated. Endlessly fascinating--it's just a glimpse into another life, or something. These are great photos: I'd peek at any of these!

  3. I'm a peeping Thomasina, myself, but never thought of using my camera to capture the scenes. I also marvel at the bravery of the people who don't pull the curtains. I wouldn't like passers-by peering in.