Interview by Alex Gerson



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Alex Gerson: What made you decide to shoot windows?


Sarah Natow: I have always been interested in architectural photography.  Windows are a common aspect to almost all architecture, and so are doors.  I am also interested in geometry, parallel lines and perpendicular ones.  In this instant I tried to make the plane of the camera as parallel to the plane of the house as possible, in an effort to maintain the original angles of the house.  In the past I have tried to do the opposite, but in this case this approach seemed to have a greater integrity


AG: Was there a specific quality that each window had to have?


SN: Windows and doors are generally thought of as passageways, ways for a person to get in and out of a building or to see in and out.  All of these windows and doors prevent a passerby from seeing in in some way.  So the windows and doors are not performing the functions we normally think that they would.  We as viewers are locked out of these buildings, only able to see their surfaces, which sometimes are a good indication of what is going on inside.  It is impossible, however, to know what is going on inside.



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AG: Why the decision to pairs windows into one photograph?


SN: Kent actually suggested it to me.  I was trying to pair the images up into two page spreads for my book, and he walked over and laid two images on top of each other.  The effect was interesting, it started to say more about the actual architecture of the houses.  This neighborhood has sever restrictions on the way in which homes can look to maintain historical integrity.  Pairing the images so closely highlights this aspect of this neighborhood.


AG: What is significant about the borders? 


SN: The borders are merely a technical issue because of the final presentation of the images.  All of the information in the photographs, up to the edges of the images, is important.  Had I left the images as full bleed pages, it is likely that Blurb would have cut some of the image away, which would detract from the viewer’s experience.  The borders allow the image to have a more graphic presentation than just a plain white border, and still maintain the idea of a fully bled page.



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AG: What made you choose the colors for the borders? What was the thought process there?


SN: The colors of the borders come from within the images themselves.  I just used the color picker in Photoshop to find the colors.  I tried to pick colors that I thought presented the images in the best way possible, and often these colors were earthtones, though that was not intentional.


AG: What was your favorite part about the process of creating these images?


SN: My favorite part is always taking the pictures and then at the end viewing the final result.  While I do enjoy editing, it can often be tedious and lacks the gratification of taking the initial images, seeing what you get, and then finally seeing a whole project that is completed.



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AG: What got you interested in photography?


SN: When I was 12 I went to a summer camp for the performing arts.  The camp had an amazing darkroom, so I knew I wanted to see what that was all about.  My first two instructors were two graduate students from the Yale Masters in Photography program.  They knew what they were doing and taught me a ton.  Once I got back home, I immediately asked to be signed up for photography classes, and have been taking them ever since.  


AG: Were you influenced by any photographers in particular?


SN: I don’t usually find myself influenced by individual photographers.  While I may admire photographers, and I admire many, I try to come to photographic solutions to my own questions in my own way.  There is no artist that I can think of who inspired this particular work.



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