What do you see when you look out your window? A new photo project, “The View From Here,” shows what 41 people in 27 different countries see when they do this, from Ringgold, Virginia, to Kolkata, India.
The project, by a company called Somfy Systems, used freelance photography websites like Fiverr and Upwork to contact photographers around the world. Somfy asked the photographers to take two pictures of the view from their window, one in the morning and one in the evening, and write a short description of what they see and how it makes them feel.
It’s a simple project, but it offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people behind the camera and how ways of life vary around the world. (You can click on the photo to see a larger image.)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
"I’m on the 26th floor of a 50 story building - not too high and not too low: just right. I’m low enough that I can still see and hear everything going on in the street, and high enough that there is always a breeze on my balcony, and there’s no mosquitoes."
"From here I can look over the whole city. My window faces east and every morning I feel like I'm looking at the best scenery ever and it's never going to be any better than this. But then the night comes, and the view just pulls you in with a million colors and its New York-like soul. Sometimes I feel like I have a huge virtual reality screen and the scenery is changing just for me."
"I can see directly into a neighboring apartment. I’m not sure how many people live there in total, it could be 3 or more. Sometimes I see a person cooking, other times opening or closing the window, but mostly I just hear them chatting and laughing. It’s nice and lively."
"The people in the flat underneath mine have a child who’s apparently a bit of a terror. I know this because I can often hear them yelling. The noise gets quite annoying, I wish they’d speak rather than yell all the time."
"When it’s dark, finally a cool breeze enters my apartment and brings in the smells my neighbors cooking their dinners. Time to cook myself."
Easter Island, Chile
"From my window I can see Ahu Tahai, the island’s sunset spot in the distance. This place makes me feel so calm, I can hear the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks and smell the sea breeze."
"I feel very lucky to be here, in the middle of the ocean. I love the peace and how calm this island makes me feel. However there’s also a sad feeling: I ask myself why is time passing so quickly."
"I see tiny houses and roads around me throughout the day from a height. There are many people and vehicles going about their business, but I feel disconnected from them, as though I am watching a silent movie."
"I love to spend my time near the window especially on a sunny day, but sunny days are few and far between here."
"As the sun sets, I can see lights flickering as though in a time lapse. As peaceful as it is, I miss waving a hand to a neighbour and hearing children play. At night as much as I love the silence, I wish I could sense some activity around to make me feel less isolated."
"From my window I can see many others, and each window has a story to tell. In the mornings you can see some smoking cigars, some in their bathrooms, and some are cooking. You can actually smell their food - typically curry soup or sometimes fried dried fish. Some neighbors go out to eat breakfast at the food court nearby that they call the hawker center."
"You can hear garbage collectors, grass cutting, children playing football, neighbors shouting and arguing, the MRT metro train passing, and airplanes flying. Often we close the curtain on this window or obscure the view with our laundry - we put our wet clothes on a bamboo pole to dry outside."
"At nightfall, the house lights opposite come on one by one like watching Christmas lights. Again you can smell curry soup and dried fish cooking, and you can hear children laughing like they’ve not seeing their parents for a long time. There are also big guys drinking and chatting at the hawker center, sometimes they’ll be watching sports and cheering loudly."
Ringgold, Virginia, United States
"I love where I live. It is fairly quiet as I live out in the countryside; however, I can see some cars here and there. I can see the neighbors play with their kids, dogs running around, birds flying, and I sure hear a lot of lawn mowers. I also see the mail arriving, and the school bus picking up and dropping off kids."
"Afternoons are the best because of the view. The sunsets are amazing; especially on a nice summer night. Winter can be just as amazing with the view of the snow-covered trees, grass, the road, with the beautiful sunset in the back."
"I can see the salt fields from my window. My street is always windy and most of the time it smells like the ocean. At the end of the street there is a walkway that goes along the river where many people run and walk throughout the day. In the sky I can see storks, seagulls, and during the day I hear the swallows too."
"At night I can hear the crickets and the frogs. This view always makes me feel happy because it’s quiet and peaceful, it was actually one of the reasons I moved here. I love it."
"I don't like this area much. I came here because I didn't have any other option. My apartment is situated in a mini market, which is semi residential, semi commercial area."
"From my window I see the top of a plaza which is still being developed, some houses, and minaret of a mosque. I can also see a burger shop sign. Being a market, this area is quite noisy, and I hear all sorts of voices and noises throughout the day. The scenery and sounds change at night. By 8pm shops start closing, and by midnight everything becomes peaceful. Except for a few street lights, the area becomes dark."
"This view does not make me think or feel anything good. Sometimes I look outside just to have an idea of the weather and heat."
"From my window I can see the Colombian mountains laid out before me. This is the beginning of the dry season so I can smell grass and horses, and hear birdsong. The landscape is very dramatic."
"It’s in sharp contrast to the rainy season when it often rains for 24 hours or more at a time. The rain feels endless. The seasons here are so determinant in all aspects of life. But I feel very comfortable here, living very simply with just the basic things I need, and I love the people here, they are so friendly and helpful."
Miami, Florida, United States
"This morning as I stood to take this photo, the air was fresh and Ms. Smith from next door was having her morning coffee under the tree which is home to a family of iguanas."
"As the day progresses more iguanas will come down from the tree, but fortunately not many come on our side of the fence. I don't really like how close the iguana tree is, because I fear one may fall on me if I sit out there, even though it is probably unlikely."
"I love the amount of animals that live in this lake. There's a often a turtle just under the iguana tree, and as I look up a gaulin is snatching a fish and taking him away for his meal."
"From my window I can see the typical urban kaleidoscope of structures which are sprouting up in my area. Across the roofs of my neighbors (where cats frequently play at night), I see the tall, lean building which has recently been constructed. It’s the first of its kind to be erected in this area, but I am dead sure that a lot more will be constructed in the near future. I love taking comfort in this window after a long stressful day."
"During rainy reason I can hear the splatters of rain on the metal roofs which sometimes sound like a melody. At other times the sound of the rain reaches a crescendo, and then we know our streets are likely to flood."
"I live in a very small village next to the sea, there are only a few people left here. The streets are empty, it's very calm and quiet. My view is very lush, it’s as if the plants want to make up for the lost time in winter and autumn."
"It's quite windy and the only sound I can hear is the the trees swaying in the wind. I can smell the freshly cut grass from the lot next to me. My neighbor takes good care of it, as he wants to sell it; the land prices have been rising in the last few years. I feel very calm here, that is why I love it so much."
"Heavy traffic ceaselessly flows up and down this street. Vehicles and motorcycles of all shapes, sizes and colors. The noise of these vehicles is the first and last thing I hear every day."
"In the mornings I see the housewives washing clothes through the windows opposite me, and I hear the sound of dealers opening up their shops and cleaning vigorously. The activity of the dealers and housewives makes me feel optimistic for the new day, even though the vehicle noise makes me wake up early and feel sad."
"Crows patrol outside the century old house we call home, a home that we are about to lose. We have to sell because the maintenance costs are rising day by day."
"From my window I can see the adjacent houses situated on the north side, I can hear my neighbors talking, the dogs barking, and there are birds that sing. But it smells of dogs, as there are 9 dogs living in the gap between my house and the house next to mine."
"Whenever I am in this room, I can't help but think about my childhood because this is the room I used to share with my brother. I love everything about it, this secret window and the unique view. As darkness falls you can barely see the distant houses."
"I hate the fact that most of the old houses in this neighborhood are being replaced by new apartments. These old houses have been here since Calcutta was the capital of British India."
Viña del Mar, Chile
"Rows of high-rise buildings separate me from the Pacific Ocean. This is my first day in the city, and I am anxious to go out and see what it has to show me."
"This will only be my home for a few days as we’re on the road at the moment. I hope for clear skies so we can enjoy the city tour we’ve booked. I cannot wait to get out there."
"Nine hours later I am back, city tour completed. After a quick shower, I sit on the bed and watch the lights flick on in windows across the city as the dusk comes."
"My view makes me feel connected to a bustling, lively city, even though I live in the suburbs. I love that I can see the modern buildings that make up Bangkok as well as the cranes that are busily erecting the future iconic buildings of the city. At night, the lights twinkle and it’s beautiful."
"I really dislike the mobile phone tower that sits directly in front of my building, if I were just 5 floors higher in this building, then it wouldn’t disrupt my view."
"I've only been living here for 2 months, but I can see that it won't be long before I have new buildings to look up and enchant me with their twinkling lights."
"I love the view from my window because I can see my neighborhood evolving. The large building has just been built, therefore we can see newcomers gradually settling in. Conversely, the backyard below my window is filled with chickens and ducks, so it’s often possible to see new chicks and ducklings, and to see them growing over time."
"This neighborhood is never truly quiet, as no matter which part of the day it is you can hear traffic, the neighbors and chickens and dogs making all kind of noises."
"When I come back home by the end of the day, before sunset, the view is very relaxing, as the orange sun illuminates the street. The view at night is breathtaking, as the city lights shine in the night sky."
To see the full project click here.
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