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Snapper’s big obsession with tiny windows

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Wednesday Sutherland never imagined her small window photographs would cause such a stir amongst Novocastrians.

After stumbling across the architectural feature by chance last year, the creative 28-year-old says her small finds have kickstarted a very big obsession.

‘Tiny Baby Windows’ is a social media page Ms Sutherland is using to showcase the small windows she finds featured on the outside of Newcastle homes.

The collection she says began with a diamond-shaped aperture, has transformed into an almost daily search for new additions, fuelled with the help of Newcastle’s most passionate historians.

“My partner at the time was renovating an old miner’s cottage in Mayfield,” she said.

“I noticed the tiny diamond-shaped window at the entrance and I just thought it was kind of cute.

“Then I started seeing the same kind of windows on houses in the area that were from the same era. 

“They all had a similar design.”

Once she’d noticed one it became impossible to ignore, Ms Sutherland said.

“Every time I was out walking the dog I’d see another one. I kept seeing them all the time.”

Fuelled by curiosity in May she sought answers from the 62,000 members of the ‘Lost Newcastle’ Facebook page.

“Hi all, I’ve been taking photos of all the diamond shaped windows you can find on houses in Newcastle’s suburbs, particularly in the Mayfield/Georgetown area’, she wrote.

“I’d love to put together a small photobook in the next year or so, and I’m wondering if anyone here has info on when this trend started (and anything else interesting about these windows, anecdotes etc). 

“My mum is convinced they are a Novocastrian thing so also interested in that.”

What followed was an outpouring of photographs, addresses, suggestions and ideas, in total 134 comments offering support for what the University of Newcastle visual arts student says has become an obsession.

“My goal was just to see if any keen historians could tell me more about the trend,” she said.

“It was great to see so many people were as excited about the tiny windows as me.

“Some people who responded had ancestors who were builders and they told me they [the windows] were a popular feature in Newcastle.

“Some included stained-glass and some were round, or arched, or square.

“I feel like the diamond-shape might have been the easiest to make.”

The reasoning behind the small feature still eludes Ms Sutherland.

“I was told they were used to illuminate the entrance,” she said.

“Which makes sense because they usually feature in the alcove.

“And I’m not sure of the ages, but ours was a 1900’s home so it might have started there.”

When she completes her university course later this year Ms Sutherland hopes to publish a coffee table book featuring all her photographs of the windows.

“My idea was to create a zine,” she said. 

“It’s a small, self-published magazine. 

“So far I’ve got 30 photos on an Instagram page – that’s a start, at least I have some way to get them all off my phone.”

She is also happy to take submissions from the general public.

“This is just something that started off as fun and has morphed into something bigger and better so I’m just rolling with it for now.

“I take on suggestions, I bank them away and then on a chosen day I go out and photograph them all.

“I don’t discriminate when it comes to the windows,” she laughs.

She may have to apologise in advance for what ‘Tiny Baby Windows’ might do to the Newcastle community however.

“Seriously, once you start seeing them, you find them everywhere, it’s hard to stop.”

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