Lonely little window

Lonely little window
Nikon N2000, 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5 Zoom Nikkor

Kosmo Foto Mono
Rodinal 1+50

I live in a modern vinyl village. It’s not my cup of tea, but it made practical sense when Margaret and I got married and so here we are. We both hope to move on from here when the nest empties.

While we’re all on stay-at-home orders during the global pandemic, my photography is limited to my house and, when I take a walk, my neighborhood.

The houses all present well from the front, but they paid zero attention to what the sides and back look like. Windows, when they exist, are stuck wherever it made sense from the inside, without regard to how that would look on the outside. Our house has windows on the front and back, but the sides are huge, unbroken slabs of vinyl. Some houses have windows inserted in random places. The pictured house has this one window on this side, in the extreme lower left corner. It just looks weird.

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23 responses to “single frame: Lonely little window”

  1. J P Avatar

    Those window-free side walls really offend my sense of how houses are supposed to look. But I imagine it is done in the name of energy efficiency.

    Painting a big “Chew Mail Pouch” sign in the side is probably not allowed by the HOA covenants?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Here’s the rub. Air does not move through these houses when you open the windows. It may be energy efficient but to cool the house you must use the AC.

      1. Matt Avatar

        Windows no longer are built for air flow. Need the old style window with ability to open from top and bottom. Need airflow with cool coming in the slightly open lower window and hot air (rises) out the top of another across the room, down the hall or out a bedroom. As sun moves around house have to reconfigure windows through the day. Modern windows could be built for airflow but cheaper to have only 1/2 screens and only 1 side able to open. Someday fancy green houses will have triple pane with this configuration

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Well, my last house (built 1969) didn’t have top-opening windows but I could get air flowing because I had windows on all four sides of the place. The wind flowed through in the direction of the wind.

          House before that had a house fan in the hallway ceiling. Good Lord was that ever awesome. Open the windows, turn it on, and all the air in the house changed out in 10 minutes.

  2. Roger Meade Avatar
    Roger Meade

    For the most part I think the only efficiency thought that goes into designing modern housing is the efficiency to the builder’s bottom line. Fewer windows mean less complication during building and less cost of materials, period. And those vinyl blisters drive me crazy!

    A few years ago we were visiting relatives in New Mexico and went to look at some model homes in a new subdivision north of Albuquerque. When I walked past a sunny window inside the model I could feel the sun’s heat on my skin. I asked the sales rep how much double pane widows would cost as an upgrade. He looked at me like I was an idiot. “No, we don’t offer that as an option”. So the AC electric bill is your problem after you buy the house.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes, these houses are built to a price. They put in features and amenities that sizzle but everything else is cheaply done. It galls me that I have to put plastic insulating sheeting on the back windows or the cold just blows in all winter.

      The vinyl on our home’s north side is warped all over. It’s maddening.

  3. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    I still like how the lines work in the image.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s what I was trying to capture – glad it transmits!

  4. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    An epic wall and a lonesome window … well done ;)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! That window makes the shot.

  5. Basil Berchekas Jr Avatar
    Basil Berchekas Jr

    In Chicago for instance, brick houses have polished brick on the front and darker, unpolished brick on the sides and rear. Not only from, say, the Great Chicago Fire days, but right on up through the post WW II suburban building “boom”…your article here reminded me of that phenomena…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Makes sense, especially where houses are closely spaced. But man, can’t we just have some windows to let light in?

  6. jim Avatar

    Wouldn’t care for the house but really like the image!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! Just shows you can make most any subject interesting if you try.

  7. DougD Avatar

    I’m with you on this one. Our 1960’s house has no side windows, we were tempted to add some when we replaced them all, but were un-tempted by the price. And we’re the ones who had vinyl siding added, but at least we have brick on the lower half.

    People tell us “oh your house is so well built” but it’s really that cheap 1960s construction was a higher bar than cheap 1990s construction.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s it, isn’t it? My former 1969 brick ranch was probably a typical build for 1969 but it felt like Fort Knox compared to this place. On windy days I hear the house flex and pop!

  8. Basil Berchekas Jr Avatar
    Basil Berchekas Jr

    Jim, I agree! lET THE LIGHT in!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That was the beautiful thing about my previous house, a 1969 brick ranch. Windows everywhere. Plenty of light.

  9. Khürt Williams Avatar

    Yes. American homes. Boses with a few small openings.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Except in front, where it’s windowpallooza, because it’s all about curb appeal.

      1. Khürt Williams Avatar

        FYI that was supposed to be “Boxes with a few small openings.”

        Most of the neighbourhoods in my town are planned communities built in the last 20 years after city folks discovered “rural county living”.

  10. Christopher May Avatar
    Christopher May

    Great eye on this! There’s a sense of mystery to that one lone window that’s very appealing!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s what I was going for! I also like how the window is in the extreme lower left. Throws the whole composition delightfully off balance.

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