My public window

As daily rhythms accelerate and our bodies get exhausted, our eyes crumble down without noticing the surrounding daily wonders and their numerous hidden details. To battle the poisonous lack of curiosity, I have always seen photography as a wonderful antidote. Through pictures we’re able to frame fragments of time and places that usually remain in oblivion. The “clic clac” of the camera captures an everyday live scene forever that once on paper it screams its strength and its vitality.

After three years living in Brussels, I also ended up getting too comfortable in the habit of labelled routines. I passed ten, fifty, maybe a hundred times in front of this local household window displaying a child’s game, without taking the time to linger on it. Then one day, by coincidence, I saw a bunch of young boys gathered in front of the crystal. They were all pointing at the colored construction, trying to guess which schoolyard companion was able to build such a structure. “Clic clac”, it was the first window that I photographed. On my way back home, I came across other personal museum, exposed to the sight of the hassled spectators. A dog on the watch, a portrait of Christ, a dusty Egyptian bust, a golden deer… These treasures, protected by their transparent shields, were the perfect photographic subjects.  What is the story of this Elvis fan couple, this panda bear enthusiast, or this anonymous showing his stuffed fox?

For several weeks, I walked the streets and avenues of the Belgian capital, systematically capturing my newly discovered urban landscapes. I thought I was living in a cold grey city, but suddenly I noticed a whole new range of colors and shades. Beyond their aesthetics, these spontaneous settings invited me to unveil some intimate stories that gently permeated into the public space, transforming the landscape of a given street into an unexpected and surreal social experience.

I sincerely thank the “Bruxellois” for this wonderful experience and I hope to pay them a quirky tribute with my series “My Public Window”

 

“Witnesses of a history of longings, moans and prayers, they are built little by little over time, as each personal incident leaves there its own mark. The altars contain family and personal stories as a photo album does. A domestic altar is not only unique and unrepeatable but also largely encoded by the personal experience that composes it, becoming incomprehensible to the eyes of strangers” (Celeste Olarquiaga, “Megalopolis, Contemporary Cultural Sensibilities”, 1993).

(Photos and text: Jean-Luc Feixa )