“Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before.”
Poets have forever been writing about windows – including my favorite sentiment “the eyes are the window to the soul.” That one goes as far back as Cicero, who lived from 106-46 BC. It is also in the bible (Matthew 6:22-23), and is of course quoted by William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Scientists now know that the saying is actually true. Research has shown that patterns in the iris can give an indication of whether we are warm and trusting or neurotic and impulsive. Their findings say that mapping the iris may one day be used in psychoanalysis and by companies screening candidates for jobs.
“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun. A bird settled on the fire escape; joy accompanied me as I walked.”
If you are a long-time follower of Travels and Trifles, you may recognize the first two photographs. I posted them here and here, on a previous post about windows which includes many other window views. The first is one of my favorite captures, since the expression on each of the faces is so completely different – one of those serendipitous moments that we photographers hope for with every shot. The same is true of the second photograph, where the bird paused just long enough to allow me to frame him within the window overlooking the vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina.
“Let there be many windows to your soul, that all the glory of the world may beautify it.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In addition to poetry, literature too features the window quite often. I can think of dozens of titles, including Window by Jeannie Baker, and The Wide Window, Lemony Snicket. And let’s not forget the movies, with such classics as Rear Window and Secret Window among dozens of others with window in their title. Incredibly, Amazon lists 100 pages of books with the word Window in the title – including of course, many about Microsoft’s version. Did you know that Microsoft’s Windows product, originally named “Interface Manager” was renamed prior to release based on Marketing’s suggestion to create more customer appeal? Duh, really?!
“May your walls know joy. May every room know laughter and every window open to great possibility.”
Songwriters too celebrate windows in many of their lyrics. There are at least 22 songs with the word in their title, including two by the Beatles and one each by Bob Dylan and the Doors.
“All the windows of my heart I open to the day.”
John Greenleaf Whittier
The thing about windows; they can be open or closed, up or down, physical, mental, or emotional, actual or allegorical. You might find them in a book, a poem, a song or a sentence. You can look in or out of them, or you can avoid them completely. The dictionary shows a minimum of four window definitions as well as numerous phrases in which they’re featured, yet the thesaurus has nothing – because no other word means the same thing.
“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”
Photographers speak to the use of their cameras as windows. Tom Kennedy says it very well: “Photography is both the mirror and window, a means to enlightenment that connects subject and viewer through the heart, eye and mind of the photojournalist.”
“I find it wonderfully rewarding to see what I can discover outside my own window. You only need to study the scene with the eyes of a photographer.“
As an example, the photograph below shows the interior of a slave cabin, which I took at one of the many plantations preserved here in Charleston. It serves as a window into the life of those who lived there, and as a mirror for the viewer of the importance of that small opening to the beauty beyond. Is it not critical that photographers and filmmakers document subjects like slavery or concentration camps or the devastation of war, to teach us about ourselves and the repercussions of our actions?
“You are the window through which you must see the world.”
Georges Bernard Shaw
What about the photo below? Are you drawn to the graphics of the tiles, or would you rather think about what lies behind the small window? Do you suppose there is ever anyone inside looking out? Clearly only a passing bird might have an opportunity to look in.
“Let me go to the window, watch there the day-shapes of dusk.”
Finally, in this photo the reflection of windows on the surface of the water. I featured this same structure in a night photo here. Different moods can be created from the same set of windows depending on the photographer’s perspective and intention.
“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?”
I found it interesting as I was writing this post that there are as many quotes about windows as about any other weekly challenge I’ve researched. There’s something from most every great speaker, writer and poet throughout the ages. I was also pleased to realize that throughout my travels I’ve focused on windows in most every place I’ve visited. I had fun playing with Cheri’s challenge, exploring a subject that on the surface seems quite simple, but which in fact offers much food for thought. Hopefully it gave you a moment’s pause as it did me. To see what some other bloggers thought about, click here.