Yakub Merchant’s Street Photography Emphasizes People Through Their Windows

All images by Yakub Merchant. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

Do you ever wonder how many of the personal projects you find most interesting were sparked by a spontaneous idea? I sometimes do, and today’s featured set of portraits is definitely a case in point. Taken by London-based photographer Yakub Merchant while on assignment, it was most likely just an idea he shelved for later as he was shooting for work. While Yakub was working as a still photographer on a film set in India, he noticed all these people watching the scenes from a vantage point in their homes. As I imagine it, Yakub took interest and began taking their portraits in between shots, eventually ending up with a nice collection for an aptly titled set called Windows.

“People in India love their movies, but nothing fascinates them more than watching the actual making of it,” Yakub shares on the idea that sparked this personal series. “Parts of the film were shot in the narrow bylanes of Old Delhi. People seemed to just emerge, as if from the walls, to watch the filming.”

While they had the perfect spot to watch a blockbuster being filmed, little did they know that they were also right where a photographer like Yakub wanted them to be. The windows make for a simple but effective narrative device in this set, telling the story of people who are looking out in fixation, many unaware that they were also being watched. Given the designs and sizes of the windows, Yakub instantly had all sorts of interesting framing for his subjects.

“I was drawn to their expressions of excitement, curiosity, fascination, anticipation and sometimes, even boredom while waiting for action to take place. And while they were looking at us, I was looking at them.”

The result is a peek into the curiosity we all innately have about what we can see or watch from a good vantage point. Or, based on what Yakub captured, how thrilling it is for most to see their favorite movie stars on the set.

Head to Yakub Merchant’s Behance page to see more of Windows and check out his other sets.