Photography + systems

Darkness provides a sense of security. A lack of visibility. Brightness reveals what the darkness hides.

I first noticed this while walking through my neighborhood one night. How easy it was to see into people’s homes, illuminated by ceiling lights and lamps. I didn’t mean to look into someone’s private space intentionally, but the light piercing through the dark grabbed my attention. Once I made it home I turned on all the lights and looked outside. I couldn’t see a single thing, as the lights created a glare in the window panes.

Next, I was sitting in the living room of a friend’s apartment which sits on the ground level right on King Street, a place with heavy foot traffic. The blinds were open, and since the daylight provided enough light, the rest of the lights inside were off. It was clear to see  people walk by, but I noticed that nearly every person that walked by looked inside at us. I stepped outside and looked in. I couldn’t see a single thing besides darkness and a faint reflection of myself and my surroundings. Neither could anyone else, but they looked in to see that same darkness. Even though several times it seemed as though we were looking back at people that looked at us, they likely had no idea we were watching them back. 

Light, and the lack thereof, has an immediate effect on visibility. In turn, it also has an immediate effect on our perceived security/privacy at any given moment. This realization bred a sense of paranoia...

I came to a simple conclusion: We never know who’s watching. But someone might be.