On April 3, The New York Times Magazine photography critic…
I’m perfectly willing to accept that I’m drawn to Gail Albert Halaban’s new book Out My Window because of my voyeuristic tendencies. I’m also willing to accept that the project is a well-executed vision of life in a big city where we live with the artifice of walls and windows that supposedly give us impenetrable barriers of privacy. Oh, and I like the photos too.
Before you call the police, you should know that Halaban sought the permission of all her subjects before photographing them through their windows. This staged narrative style is common for those Yale MFAs from the Gregory Crewdson school (see Hillard, David), and while pedigree doesn’t necessarily confer any inherent skill or vision, these images are well executed.
Halaban uses large format cameras fitted with a normal lens to mimic what any observer might see from these perches. No Kate Middleton-style telephoto paparazzi here (although there is some topless nudity). A lot of the photos feel a bit like a Where’s Waldo tableau – the subject isn’t always obvious, but their actions (or lack thereof) always seem compelling.
I dig it. Maybe you should too.