Looking Out the Window with Hye-Ryoung Min

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Look out your window. What do you see? You might find that you have a steady cast of characters, and that the show is always interesting. That’s what photographer Hye-Ryoung Min found when she looked out the windows of her apartment in Prospect Lefferts Gardens from 2009 to 2011. Her five windows became her television set, and with her camera in hand, she took stills from the “set” for her project “Channel 247”.

“Repetition helped me understand actors’ basic characters; nuance and difference offered me clues into their hidden stories,” Min wrote in an email about how routine was essential to the development of the project.

Firing off random surreptitious shots of her neighbors wouldn’t have worked. Fortunately, her apartment and her neighborhood put her at the nexus of a motley crew of characters that played in equal measure outside of her front and back windows.

“The three windows in the curved construction in the living room had the most interesting and varied shows and actors, since they give out on the main boulevard with its constant flow of people and situations,” Mind wrote. “But I also enjoyed the daily shows in the backyard featuring a more regular cast of actors and private moments throughout the windows from the bedroom and the kitchen.”

This isn’t voyeurism for obvious reasons. The characters in her photographs are engaging in life at its most quotidian, and it’s those moments that can be the most revealing.

“There are moments when people are oblivious of others, or simply don’t want to be mindful of anybody other than themselves,” Min wrote.

It’s when people are focus on themselves that we can see who they are, even when the moments aren’t necessarily that grand. Her project has airs of street photography even though she never set foot on the street, and it’s that candid, spontaneous essence that makes Channel 247 a compelling character study.

A project like this couldn’t work everywhere, but fortunately, Min realized what was happening and set out to capture it. Scroll down for my photos from Channel 247, and for the entire project go here. For more of Min’s work, check out her website.

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