As you can clearly see…

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(image 1/5 of diploma series)

As you can clearly see, the building occupying the center of this image was built in the 1960's or 70's in a flat, functional, conservative, suburban european industrial style. Not surprisingly, this region of Switzerland has many buildings constructed in this manner – all of which uncannily resemble each other. Some are factories, some are offices, others apartments or schools – such as the building within which you are contemplating this image and text.

Through the blinds in the second window from the left, a woman, probably around 40 years old, of medium build and short-cropped brown hair, is looking back at me. Oblivious to her blank penetrating gaze she is wondering who I am, what I want and why I am taking this photograph. She even briefly considers alerting her superior, wondering “Should he being doing this?” However, curiosity overrules her blind submission to authority because I am taking this photograph with a large view-camera mounted on a tripod, which is somewhat uncommon. The woman is not sure if my camera is a still photography camera since it is so large, encouraging her to think that it is more likely a movie camera and then to wonder why I might be filming her. In a bizarre moment of vanity, she imagines a spontaneous screen test. Unconsciously she runs her fingers through her hair, mouthing what she thinks I am trying to tell her, to give her, a direction, a suggestive proposition, something which might aid her understanding of her character in order to improve her representation so the camera only captures her best performance. Suddenly, the clouds part and expose the naked sun, immediately reflecting, in a flash, a ray of golden light off the window of a car, straight into her eyes before she can move to avoid it, thus snapping her out of her fantasy, returning her preoccupation to suspicion. “What does he want anyway?” In fact, for the moment, I am only focusing the camera, so she has nothing to be concerned about.

The large colorful bird, visible against the clouds in the upper left hand corner, is a parrot. The large colorful bird, visible against the clouds in the upper left hand corner, is a parrot. To the left and just in front of the large metal double doors, on the right side of the picture, lies a 1 franc piece, carelessly lost by an employee of the building. His pants have a hole in the left pocket, small enough so that objects only rarely fall out – and thus has not annoyed him enough to merit a repair. The 1 franc piece has been sitting there for 4 and a half days now, although tomorrow a visiting child, the 8 year old daughter of the woman who is still looking at us, will pick it up. After I have taken the picture, she will use the 1 franc piece to buy 10 Carambar candies that afternoon at the kiosk near the park where she plays with her friends. The park has one white oak tree, similar to the one at the exact center of this photograph, the trunk of which is blocking our view of one of the other windows. Behind the hidden window, another worker, observing the expression of the woman who is still staring at the camera, is wondering what exactly is happening outside, although the tree is positioned as to obstruct his vision of the camera, and thus he cannot see you.