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The Questionnaire : Gail Albert Halaban by Carole Schmitz


An other look at what surrounds us 

I met Gail in 2004 in Los Angeles for a photoshoot with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen at the Standard Sunset Hotel. At the time, she photographed what in our professional vocabulary we call “people” and also did commercial photography. Having studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and later at Yale University, she also realized personal work, in the form of series that question landscape and society. Always fascinated by the work of the painter Edward Hopper, she dedicates her series Hopper Redux to him, in which she returns to the places painted by the artist.

Now more than ever she loves storytelling. Her favorite subject: cities and more precisely the silent urban theater, which, in these cities, we can see from her windows. Wherever she goes, from New York to Paris via Milan, Buenos Aires or Istanbul, she unearths stairwells, terraces or apartments with points of view without perspective and frame chosen pieces. Intrusive? Voyeurist? Far from it, a pupil of Gregory Crewdson who taught her the art of cinema applied to photography, Gail Albert Halaban nevertheless stages her characters, for that she seeks points of view from which she seems to observe the intimacy of protagonists, a modernist way of emphasizing loneliness, an increasingly common scourge of our society.

However, this project allowed neighbors to get to know each other and even sparked romances. Each city’s unique architectural landscape sets the stage for these compelling tales, which encourage people to consider their neighbors more thoughtfully and to see the city around them from a new perspective. With an appreciation of cultural and geographic specificities. Since the first confinement, no longer having the leisure to travel freely, she has decided to collaborate with photographers interested in her approach, her only request: to lead the photo shoot from New York via Zoom. Thus, Out My Window, Global brings people together by highlighting their common values, aspirations and desire for human connection.


For more infos :

Instagram : gailalberthalaban



Your first photographic click?

Gail Albert Halaban : First Grade Science Fair.


The photographer who inspires you?

G.A.H. : Berenice Abbott.


The image you would have liked to make?

G.A.H. : Nightview, New York, 1932, Berenice Abbott (1898–1991)


The one that moved you the most?

G.A.H. : A Child Crying, by Diane Arbus, New Jersey, 1967.


And the one who made you angry?

G.A.H. : Pulitzer Prize Winning photo of a firefighter holding a baby at the scene of the Oklahoma City Bombing, 19 April, 1995 because it is so heartbreaking that the world has become so violent


Which quality is necessary to be a good photographer ?

G.A.H. : Empathy.


The secret of the perfect image, if it exists?

G.A.H. : Discovering the unexpected.


Your early camera?

G.A.H. : Olympus OM-4T.  Still have it.  Still love it.


The one you use currently ?

G.A.H. : I don’t use any single camera.  I still like my Leica rangefinders, I have Fuji and Phase digitals, view cameras…. the cameras are fun and I like to play with different ones.


Your favorite drug?

G.A.H. : Coffee.  I have been working in Italy so espresso.


Your greatest quality?

G.A.H. : I am a good friend and mom.


An image to illustrate a new bank note?

G.A.H. : Looking foward to Harriett Tubman finally getting to be on a bill.


The job that you would not have liked to do ?

G.A.H. : Anything at a desk.


Your greatest extravagance ?

G.A.H. : Film.  Digital is so much cheaper but film is so fun.


Your biggest regret?

G.A.H. : I went 10 years without a dog…. that was a mistake.


Instagram or snapchat?

G.A.H. : Don’t really like either.  I like big pictures.


Color or B&W?

G.A.H. : Color.


Daylight or artificial light?

G.A.H. : They have to be blended.  I like both together.


If God existed would you ask him to pose for you, or would you take a selfie with him?

G.A.H. : Pose, I hate having my picture taken.


The image that represents the current state of the world?

G.A.H. : Empty New York, by Duane Michals, 1964.





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