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picture windows ~ this is a quiz - no right answers, no wrong answers. there are only answers

Hotel window ~ Cherry Hill, NJ • click to embiggen1044757-21938292-thumbnail.jpg
Hotel window ~ Binghamton, NY • click to embiggen
1044757-21938316-thumbnail.jpg
Bedroom window ~ Brooklyn, NY • click to embiggen
1044757-21938360-thumbnail.jpg
Loft building window ~ Montreal, CA • click to embiggen
1044757-21938344-thumbnail.jpg
Hotel window ~ Lake Placid, NY • click to embiggen
PLEASE RESPOND There is a very specific reason for this quiz which will be revealed in an entry on Monday or Tuesday next.

I am allowing some time before the explanatory entry in order to allow for as many answers as possible because, IMO, the more answers there are, the more interesting and revelatory my explanatory entry can be. PLEASE RESPOND

And rest assured, no one will be graded on their answers because there are no right or wrong answers, there are only answers. In fact, it could be honestly written that every answer will be a right answer. PLEASE RESPOND

In order for you to answer, there must be a question. So, without further ado ...

What do see, taken as a group, in these pictures beyond their referent of visual record?

In others words, what do you "see" beyond the pictured subject? Or, what do you think these pictures are about, re: the inferred or the implied? PLEASE RESPOND

FYI, I "see" nothing beyond the visual is a very acceptable answer. On the other hand, Who gives shit? or Who cares? is not, simply because everyone should already know the answer to those questions - I do.

BTW, did I mention, PLEASE RESPOND?

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 12:05PM by Registered Commentergravitas et nugalis in | Comments21 Comments

Reader Comments (21)

Formality, shapes/geometry, light, and shadow

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick S.

I see a metaphor for photography. A box with a lens showing a particular point of view.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpepeye

Mark's world. On three levels: 1) a sense of place, or at least a slice through a place, characterised by a certain level of comfort or security (I don't live in the US and haven't been for a while so I may be making a bit much of that), 2) sense of photographer's vision and style, 3) the "artifice" of the picture window theme, which makes it obvious that the pictures are presented as art & not just description. What's the motivation - Mark documenting his world or using it to make the art he wants to make? I don't know, I'm not Mark. I like the results.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Nilsson

Mark, I think I have told you before how much I like your series of window pictures. They seem to be two pictures in one, the environment within, and the view out. Two layers. There is a feeling of comfort and protection of being inside yet having a portal to the outside. When I look out a window I like to figure out where I am in relationship to the environment... Looking north? What street is that? What's over there? The inside is more personal and the outside is more public. Also windows are natural frames.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Linn

I'm sure there are deeper meanings in your intent for these but "Bedroom Window, Brooklyn" is luscious photography, the soft shadows in the rumpled bed linens, the interior colors and the contrasting texture of exterior brickwork, all a marvelous demonstration of photographic skill, which for me, makes it art. I enjoy looking at it.

The others just don't trigger any reason to explore beyond the initial glance. I don't see any relationship for the group as a whole other then the obvious, they are all windows. That may be because I only enjoy the one image.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWerner Gansz

I see the demarcation between private and public. The window constitutes the barrier if you will. It is the area where one ends and the other begins. For me, while there is a feeling that one can look out freely there is also a comforting sense that no one can really look in.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTechfan

Not being a "picturer" myself, I won't go deep.
I'll just say…
Inside looking Out.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJimmi Nuffin

Tension between the story of the inner scene (shelter) and that need to explore/learn more about the outer scene. Except for Binghamton which seems less concerned with the emotion of the two scenes, and more interested in shape/geometry...simply stated, I don't care about this image emotionally in the same way I do the others.

The scratches/cobwebs (the reflection of those two strange bars also)on the glass of Montreal and the raindrops on the glass of Lake Placid add another dimension to these two, and make up for the lack of interior space included in NJ and Brooklyn, although the old cast iron radiator, wood floor, and every crack/flake of paint in Montreal works on me in a similar, more condensed way.

The light in Montreal and Brooklyn however, and the old brick/stone buildings in the exterior, tie these two together for me visually, and they are probably the two that impact me the most. There is something slightly uncomfortable about these that I don't get from the others...and I like that. Maybe it's the lack of space in the outer (and inner in the case of Montreal), or the somewhat haunting light, or the fact that I can see human residue but no humans...probably some combination.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Mark, I`ve got a nasty winter cold and I`m cranky. So here goes...for me the images don`t hang together. Only one has a figure, another an implied presence with the ruffled bed covers. The other three are consistent ( geometric, inside/ out, private/public although that is weak for me. As a unit, I confused about the journey. I`m not hating just trying to help you sharpen your axe.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClifford Gwinn

The first picture sets the tone. It shows a man looking out the window. I think we all look out a window from time to time and when we do we feel a certain sense of separation, a question to ourself of who we are and how we fit in in the big world out there. The next 4 photos give us 4 very different interior and exterior views. Each interior is very different from each other and each exterior is just as different from the others reflecting how each of our interior worlds is very different and how each of our world views differ from each other. So the pictures have to be seen as one piece. Although each is a very good photograph in its own right varying from a sterile geometry to a comfortable lived in space it is ensemble that makes the point. I feel the decision to show the first photo larger than the rest points to the human pondering the view - of himself and the world. Maybe you question has made me read too much into this set but then I think that was also your intention and you are trying to force us to look past content to the subject. I hope that doesn't sound too pretentious.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

As I look from one picture to the next, I get a feeling of a "push vs pull" between the interior and exterior space. None of these spaces are your home, so perhaps the photos represent how you felt about your temporary occupation in these spaces.

In the first image, the interior space is extensive but dark. A man (perhaps your self?) stares out the window. I have the impression of spending time indoors (see the book, paper) but really wanting to be outdoors.

The second image feels clastrophobic and a little alien (the round window). The view outside is small and not that appealing either.

The third image shows a well lit + comfortable bed room. The bed is unmade ... it's not a sterile look at a hotel room. You liked this interior space.

The fourth image feels as though the interior and exterior are cramped and dated.

The fifth image is all about the exterior and very little about the interior. You spent some time indoors but spent most of your time outdoors.

So, as a series of 5 images we go from being cooped up indoors to a "release" of being outdoors.

Of course, this could be complete crap! I just let my mind wander as I looked at your images.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSven W

I must make a confession before starting my own response. I cheated and looked over the shoulders of other respondents to read their answers.

There are several ways that I "see" these images.
One, and the first that came to mind as I opened the set, is to "know" that I have been there in that room. Initially it is not so much "seeing" the images as the feeling of having been there. I have "seen" those scenes of looking out the window, and I would like to think I could have made similar images.

At another level I see the set and, as on Sesame Street episodes, there is an exercise where the question is to pick out the one thing which doesn't belong; it seems that the last one in the sequence is the odd one out. But arguments can be made for each of the images as the odd one.

Then, I wonder why you selected the top image to be presented as a larger image. And what about the order of the images?. As presented there seems to be a progression from internal to external. How is my "seeing" and "experiencing" of the images affected by the order of presentation?
Taken as a set I initially "saw" them as having a wistful quality of being on the inside when there could be so much more on the other side. Then I went back to look more closely and felt in a sense offended that there were actual places named in the captions. That moved the seeing from being of a place I might have personally experienced, to a place that Mark Hobson had been and pictured.

But as Sven W. before me wrote, "I just let my mind wander as I looked at your images". And let me add, it was a pleasant wander.

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGaret Munger

Hi Mark,
I've been following your blog posts for several years now. I really appreciate your thoughts and how you express them in your writing - though you can get just a wee bit wordy at times. But having said that, I can honestly tell you how impressed I am with your ability to write it all out. I can only imagine the time and patience your posts must take. For someone like myself, where writing does not come easily, I am simply amazed - and appreciative.

It is because of that difficulty that I do not usually reply to posts I read online. But this latest post is one I think I can address. It seemed like a good time to jump in anyway.

What stands out for me, at least conceptually, is how the images emphasize the separation between Man (humans) and Nature. They do this in at least a couple of ways. First, in how the world is portrayed in a near/far relationship - i.e. comfort of the human environment near us, next to the natural environment away from us. Secondly, how you have structured your frame "picture within a picture" wise. We see the natural environment, but only through the context of the human made, with a barrier always between us.

The images represent, in quite a literal way, how I have come to view (and photograph) how we fit in the universe.

Not all the images fit perfectly into my little critique - although there is almost always at least some small natural element in every image, but this is what is strongest for me.

Please keep up the wonderful work and words.

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Gardner

The window, itself, is a red-herring in each shot. I don't think it is intended or expected that we think about windows in metaphoric terms. Or that we think about windows at all. I find the variety of distinct vertical and horizontal lines to be most interesting, they create frames within frames.

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerek Hendsbee

Framed frames from the inside looking out.

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDon Cooper

Yeap, someone mentionned the first image stets the tone.
The man looks outside, then you got variations on a this idea. The window is the surface of the eye, the 'pupile' the room, the interior is a representaion of the human who's looking out by the window and see that 'paysage'
Ok...
Interesting series
See you
Michel legendre

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichel legendre

This seems to me to be an addition of impeccably designed photographs, as always, to one of several ongoing themes. The continuation of the practice of art as a verb. Again and again and again….

Thanks for providing such an interesting blog. I very much appreciate the time and effort.

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid McCoy

For me the most interesting aspect here is time and society, interconnected. Visible and traceable they are in the inside/outside pairings, the manifestations of individual life (inside) and society's state (in the built environment outside) and the similar or distant times these stem from.

February 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarkus Spring

I see a driven photographer, enthusiastic in imagining, developing and pursuing self set projects, who also has a creative eye along with the technical skills necessary to realise what he has visualized.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColin Griffiths

I simply see a photographer stuck inside longing/yearning to get outside...

February 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSvein-Frode

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