Photographer Gail Albert Halaban doesn't like the term voyeur, she is friendly window watcher. That's why this series of pictures called Paris Views don't look at all creepy but rather tender and beautiful.
This is Baudelaire's poem Gail refers to in the video:
A man looking out of an open window never sees as much as the same man looking directly at a closed window. There is no object more deeply mysterious, no object more pregnant with suggestion, more insidiously sinister, in short more truly dazzling than a window lit up from within by even a single candle. What we can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what we can perceive taking place behind a pane of window glass. In that pit, in that blackness or brightness, life is being lived, life is suffering, life is dreaming....
Above the wave-crests of the rooftops across the way I can see a middle-aged woman, face already wrinkled—a poor woman forever bending over something, who never seems to leave her room. From just her face and her dress, from practically nothing at all, I've re-created this woman's story, or rather her legend; and sometimes I weep while reciting it to myself.
Some poor old man would have sufficed just as well; I could with equal ease have invented a legend for him, too.
And so I go to bed with a certain pride, having lived and suffered for others than myself.
Of course, you may confront me with: "But are you sure your story is really the true and right one?" But what does it really matter what the reality outside myself is, as long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am alive, to feel the very nature of the creature that I am.
Gail Albert Halaban is an American fine art and commercial photographer. She is noted for her large scale photographs of women and urban, voyeuristic landscapes.
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