Bethel University

Since the 1940s, the television has been a part of the American way of life. Shortly after the inception of network TV, popular radio shows became television shows, sporting events were broadcast, children’s show were created and television advertising became the pinnacle way to sell a product. Color was soon introduced and the TV became a vital piece of American culture. Today, 99% of U.S. households possess at least one television and the average American watches over four hours of TV each day.
In the 1960s, Lee Friedlander documented these '‘little screens’' that Americans hold so dear in a series of photographs taken in bedrooms, living rooms, and hotel rooms. Friedlander portrayed the homogeneity and omnipresence of the television in America. Since then, televisions have changed some, with the introduction of high definition and flat screen TVs, surround sound and digital video, but the purpose of the moving pictures have remained the same. Televisions immerse people with thousands of images and ideas every day; they are windows into the lives of other people and into the ways of other places.
Windows began as a project documenting the many styles of modern televisions and the environments that encompass them. Quickly though, it morphed into a description of what is seen in and through the screen of a television. Each image consists of a TV either in its normal environment or in some sort of unnatural environment–more important, however, is the fact that something can be seen in the television screen of each image, whether it is a reflection or some other scene. The screen provides some sort of limited view of the world in which it resides. The scenes in the photos represent the way TV watchers experience little bits of life through their televisions, but at the same time, the TV is usually only a small part of the image. Windows investigates not only how the television appears in comparison to the world around it, but how the world around it is seen through the TV.