Weekly Photo Challenge – Windows Around the World

 “Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before.”

Mignon McLaughlin



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.


BIRD’S EYE VIEW – Mendoza, Argentina

“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.”

Anais Nin

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?!


WINDOW DRAGONS – Beijing, China

“May your walls know joy. May every room know laughter and every window open to great possibility.”

Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey

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.

CORNY - Ping An, China

CORNY – Ping An, China

“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.

La RECOLETA CEMETERY - Buenos Aires, Argentina

LA RECOLETA CEMETERY – Buenos Aires, Argentina

“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”

Mark Twain

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.”


PHOTOGRAPHER AT WORK – Bangkok, Thailand

“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.

Alfred Eisenstaedt

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.

WINDOW GRAPHICS - Vienna, Austria

WINDOW GRAPHICS – Vienna, Austria

“Let me go to the window, watch there the day-shapes of dusk.”

Carl Sandburg

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.


WINDOWS ON THE WATER – Kiawah Island, South Carolina

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?”

William Shakespeare

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.

111 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Windows Around the World

  1. You quoted “the eyes are the window to the soul.” Just the other day I commented on someone else’s blog that the English word window began in Anglo-Saxon as a compound of wind and eye. How poetic, no?

  2. All this research takes time. I don’t know how you can do it. My favorite images are the Buddha and the Twin Dragons. There is an endless supply of interesting windows and doors waiting to be captured out there.

    • 🙂 She’s a very special friend, much missed. Thanks on the Charleston comment – it was a tough one because of the cabin’s darkness vs the bright sunlight out the window. Looking forward to your kangaroos!!

  3. Hi Tina, I’m really enjoying your posts! Are you still going to the Middle East? Nancy

    ________________________________ Nancy Carder Medical University of South Carolina Office of Special Programs 19 Hagood Avenue, HOT 304-H4 MSC 851 Charleston, SC 29425-8510 843-792-1469 843-792-0235 Fax

    From: Travels and Trifles <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: Travels and Trifles <comment+pgqhx8sgafp1s1fmaiu_xyl@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Sunday, January 12, 2014 11:01 AM To: Nancy Carder <cardern@musc.edu> Subject: [New post] Weekly Photo Challenge Windows Around the World

    Tina Schell posted: ” Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before. Mignon McLaughlin 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 Cic”

  4. Thanks for the info on the origin of the eyes being the windows to the soul.
    And the photo of the slave cabin … beautiful photo of a disturbing time. My son lives in Charleston but I’ve not been long enough to really explore much. I need to stay longer!!!

    • Thank you Jane-I can visualize you with your cuppa enjoying the WP reader entries for the week. What a nice way to start the day! Thanks for your visit and lovely comment.

      Sent from my iPad

  5. Such a lot to enjoy here in your post Tina .
    Lovely photos as ever … a great reminder to always carry a camera for those special serendipitous moments such as those you have captured here 🙂

    • Thanks PT! Funny you said that. The other day I saw the most absolutely priceless shot. It was an older Mercedes and there were 3 very different but all gigantic dogs sitting at attention. One was in the driver’s seat, one in the passenger seat and one in back. It would have been PERFECT for the challenge but I had no camera :-(. Oh well, eye photo anyway! Thanks for your visit and comment–too true!

  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Window | Joe's Musings

  7. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge / B4 Retouch: Window (6) Nepal and Tibet | What's (in) the picture?

  8. The first time I saw the photograph of the three women looking out of the window was last year with the caption ‘Three in a Window’. There is something really captivating about this image. It was my favourite then, it is my favourite now.

    • Thanks Uday. I actually remembered your comment from last time 🙂 its a personal favorite and makes me smile every time. That young woman in the lower corner is just so compelling to me, especially compared with the smiles of the other two!

  9. Most excellent, Tina. Windows are a constant used by famous poets, writers, etc. Loved all the quotes and writing.You summed up windows very well! Beautiful photography and thought-provoking.

  10. As usual your photos and quotes are wonderful. The depth of thought and the effort you put into each of your posts is so admirable. Makes me feel very privileged to have access to such talent.

  11. Beautiful photos, Tina – and I love the quotes that accompany them. I have a similar photo from Angkor Wat in Cambodia – there are a multitude of places around Siem Reap that seem to lend themselves to window shots, don’t they? Thanks for a very thoughtful and absorbing post.

  12. Having been both housebound and bedridden several times over the years, my best and most
    beautiful memory was a maple tree I insisted our landscaper put in our front yard. Little did i know
    that several years later, when the tree was much larger, that was what I would lie in bed and look at for 3 weeks in the fall. It was absolutely, gloriously beautiful and brought me great joy as the colors
    changed from day to day. It was a window of beauty that kept my spirits up. Lovely thoughts
    and pictures.

    • Many thanks Rusha! I hadn’t seen anything like that before; interesting that it’s not specific to China. Must admit I had to look up Bhaktapur which makes sense as I haven’t been to Nepal. But since both places are ancient towns, perhaps this is a technique used in older times?

      • Everything about Bhaktapur is “olden times.” But hanging stuff outside the windows is just a necessity — laundry, food, etc. Not much space anywhere else.

  13. Every one of your posts reminds me that you must have a vast among of photographic archives. Every one of your posts demonstrates how travel can enrich and open one’s view of the world. Very nice selection.

    • Thanks Sally – you’re right, I DO have a pretty vast archive 🙂 That just makes it more difficult to choose LOL. And I agree, travel definitely makes us more open-minded and understanding. Thanks for your lovely and insightful comment!

  14. As soon as I saw your blog, the Hollies “Look Through Any Window” popped into my head and now I can’t get it out! Nice stuff as usual.



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