I like taking photographs through windows and other openings. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Windows make composition easy, they give you a ready-made frame within a frame. They also give you the perspective of being inside looking out, or outside looking in. Sometimes both. Am I outside the courtyard looking in, or inside the museum looking out? Both, of course, depending on your chosen perspective.
I remember going to Costa Rica in 2003. My first trip outside the country as an adult, not including Mexican border towns and a little bit of Canada. I remember noticing the change in perspective. I was outside the United States looking in. I watched Al Jazeera on the TV, which was unavailable in the US at the time, and saw the news of the world with the US as a major player, but not the center, as we always appear on our own media. The more I have traveled over the years, the more I see us as a small minority with asymmetrical power over the majority.
Most Americans see the world from inside looking out through the tiny window afforded them by their screens, censored and spun into a fabric that keeps them at the same time secure and frightened. The few who step outside and look back in realize that they should feel neither. American hegemony will not last forever, especially with ignorant and heartless leadership such as we now have, but that’s OK. There is a big, wonderful, diverse world out there. There are a myriad of windows to look through with infinite perspectives in every direction. Just take the blinders off.