New York City Residents Upset Over Artist's Photos Taken Through Their Apartment Windows

By Kelly West 2013-05-17 15:17:07
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Draw the blinds! There may be someone peeping in at you and using a telephoto lens to snap photos of you for artistic purposes. Ok, probably not, but the residents of a New York City Tribeca neighborhood luxury apartment building did find themselves to be the unknowing subjects of Arne Svenson's art, which ended up on the walls of the Julie Saul Gallery and on full display, where visitors of the Chelsea establishment could view or purchase the photos.

Naturally, the residents who were photographed for the artwork aren't happy to discover that their privacy was invaded, even if it was for artistic purposes. One photo shows a woman crouching down, while another shows someone napping. None of the photos featured on the gallery's website show the subjects faces in full view. USA Today says some residents are upset to know that they or their children might be photographed in their own homes. The gallery's site describes the exhibit as "Voyeuristic and investigative, The Neighbors is social documentation in a very rarified environment."

Voyeuristic indeed. It'd be one thing if the photos were taken in a public place, but photographing people in their own homes, without their consent, and then displaying it seems like a pretty major invasion of privacy, regardless of whether or not the faces are visible. It sounds like what this artist has done is legal - based on one person's claim quoted in USA Today - but I can't blame the featured "neighbors" for finding the photos disturbing or upsetting, especially considering they weren't asked if the photos could be taken or displayed. In an age when privacy is becoming more and more limited, it seems intrusive to spy on people in their own homes and even worse to photograph them, regardless of whether or not it's for artistic purposes.

Photo credit: Bebeto Matthews via USA Today.
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