Islands of Prague

The project is a series of images that describe auras of the places where common people in Prague live. In some of them you’ll see more more than just objects, but coincidences: like 4 rooms used specially for a kitchen in a homogenous way. Or in some pictures different colors on the window. The idea is, rather than playing with humans, understanding the organization of society with buildings.

The idea of sneaking in people’s windows is not new. At least one time in our lifes we have pay attention of what our neighbor is doing, how he is decorating it space. Perhaps, the idea of looking through windows is the most secure way of voyeurism. While many people look at their neighbors if they happen to be near their own windows inside their homes, the majority of people do not actively perform surveillance upon their neighbors. Most people realize that this could be construed as an invasion of privacy and they respect the rights of others. Many also don’t want their neighbors to be spying on them either.

The word island is ambiguous. It can represent something like a small piece of land in the ocean. It can also mean isolation. Everybody makes their own island in their homes. They create their own piece of region, they decorate it and they mostly with things they like.

The very few who actively peek inside of other people’s windows are risking both embarrassment and arrest, as this type of voyeurism is illegal in many areas. It is often viewed as something wrong or malicious. Eventually, I got caught. But after showing the pictures to the police officers and explaining my project to them, they release me with the material.

Regarding windows to understand how people organize their lives it’s a tricky experience. In this project I pay attention to the ambience, the atmosphere of the place and not that much into what people are doing inside. It’s a contemplative exercise where I find how, even in the same building, people decorate their ho- mes differently and how the differences between interior design can change que way we live.

Avoiding legal matters, I decided to shoot pictures of the atmospheres that you can see through windows of the hoods in Prague built on the social – communist era. It was more like a contemplative exercise for me because I was not looking for action, rather than sha- pes, moods, atmospheres. I decided to shoot in digital Velvia simulation because of the mood I wanted to give the photos and to highlight the objects. For that reason, none of the pictures have digital retouching.

Sources of Inspiration in aesthetics came from artist Maria Svarbova’s “Swimming Pool” project because of the tones and colors. The concept, however, was inspired in “Out of my window” series made by photo- grapher Gail Albert Halaban (although she made constructed scenarios, staged photos rather than shooting windows in real life, less contemplative approach) I was fascinated with the idea to shoot something in a more documentary way, but with no need of having human contact. Instead, putting people away from the pano- rama as the first thing you see in the image and ma- king them a part of the scenario itself. In some of the pictures, we see people but that’s not what matters to us: it’s the mood what catches the attention of the photograph.

Paying attention in people’s life is something the French Artist Sophie Calle do in her projects and I took her as an inspiration as well in the modus operandi of the project. Her works develop a contemplative procedure where, in some cases, she follows people to understand how their life’s are.