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Creating this portfolio was a year-long project that involved working in a small group with other members of the Enchanted Lens Camera Club to help each other develop a selection of no more than twelve photos that together conveyed a theme or a story. I had no idea what I was going to do when I started, but I had lots of ideas about windows. I don’t think a single photo I started with ended up in the final selection, which I narrowed to photos of windows that distorted or transformed what was seen through or reflected by them.
Half of these remaining photos were taken through two windows in my tiny bathroom — one covered with condensation and drops of water that transformed the trees outside, and the other a wavy glass window in the shower that transformed flowers, a face, and the light behind it. Others came from shattered and bubbled glass in San Francisco, through a dirty window and a window screen in our garage, and a graffitied window high up on the outside of a cathedral in Quito, Ecuador. One of the delights of the project was learning to pay attention to what I was seeing, and discovering beauty in unexpected places.
I also enjoyed the oxymoron that a window, which should enable us to see clearly, was also a means of distortion and transformation. The reviewer of the project commented on the lack of window frames, and he liked that — I hadn’t noticed — and indeed when I started, many of the pictures had shown window frames. When discussing illustrations in children’s books, we often consider whether frames distance viewers or bring them closer into the pictures and the stories. What do you think? I always rather liked frames, such as those often used by Trina Schart Hyman, but without frames perhaps the distorted vision could be our own, and not the fault of the window through which we are looking?