Modern Day "Window People": by Robin Venable

With the huge success of social media networks like Facebook, we are able to peer into other people's lives. That is, the lives that they want us to see.

In a somewhat-controlled environment I am able to post status updates, pictures, and videos to inform my "friends" of my ever-changing life.

Norman Lerner, "Piano Tuner, 1950's", archival digital print, 13 x 19 inches

When I post something, I know that it will pop up in my friends' news feeds, but I don't know who is actually coming to my page, looking at all of my photos, or analyzing my status updates.

A little creepy? Absolutely.

Norman Lerner, "Elevator Operator, 1950's", archival digital print, 13 x 19 inches

Have you ever felt like someone was looking at you? When viewing Norman Lerner's "Window People" I feel that uncomfortable tingle of watching eyes. The dilapidated windows house all sorts of people - a frowning, bulbous-nosed woman in her seventies sitting instead of standing, an old man who tunes pianos daring you to come in the front door, a bald elevator operator with sunken eyes looking out blankly...

Norman Lerner, "Resigned, 1950's", archival digital print, 13 x 19 inches

Perhaps we should feel that same unpleasant twinge when we log on to Facebook - feeling the clicks of the mouse as people visit our page.

Lerner's "Window People" are timeless. With his camera he has captured moments of connection between the observer and viewer (The original prints are silver gelatin prints that have now been converted to digital prints.) that make us want to know more about the people in the photographs. He has preserved that moment in time in which the gazer is caught looking... and now, just like Facebook, we get to look back...uninterrupted, and with all the time in the world.