American photographer Gail Albert Halaban has voyeuristic tendencies. When she peers out her window, she not only observes the world, but she documents it with her camera for all to see. In her first series, Out My Window, the New York-based artist staged a series of moments that capture people in their homes from a distant point of view. Now, the artist is back with a second series, also a book, entitled Paris Views.
For the collection, Halaban traveled throughout various neighborhoods in Paris to photograph her subjects through open windows. She actively engaged her participants in the process by seeking them out and asking for permission in order to blend ideas of voyeurism and performance art together. “Some Parisians were horrified that [it] might be criminal or immoral,” explained Halaban. “One might assume that the French are more free or uninhibited as they are portrayed in the movies, but my experience was that they are very carefully guarded about what strangers should know about other strangers.”
The people are just small elements within a larger image and viewers will find themselves peering in closer to learn more details about what’s going on inside the apartments. In that sense, Halaban is able to convey a sense of intimacy in an extremely public way. The observational images of people in the privacy of their own homes blend beautifully with the exterior urban surroundings. Apartment buildings are nothing without their residents and it’s fascinating to see the beautiful display of how people choose to live very different lives, even side-by-side in such close proximity.
You can learn a bit more about the project in the short video below.