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Arne Svenson Takes a Voyeuristic Look Inside the Apartments of His Tribeca Neighbors

Arne SvensonArne Svenson, The Neighbors #1, 2012, pigment print, 63 x 26″, ed. 5

For my subjects there is no question of privacy; they are performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised high. The Neighbors don’t know they are being photographed; I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs. I am not unlike the birder, quietly waiting for hours, watching for the flutter of a hand or the movement of a curtain as an indication that there is life within.—Arne Svenson

After inheriting a bird-watching telephoto lens from a friend, New York-based photographer Arne Svenson embarked on an intriguing and voyeuristic project, The Neighbors, capturing little stolen moments of the residents of a glass-walled apartment building across the street from his NYC studio. The resulting images are small movements and quiet details; they are the moments when no one’s looking—until now.

The Neighbors opens May 9 at Julie Saul Gallery in New York and will remain on view through June 29, 2013.

Arne SvensonThe Neighbors #17, 2012, pigment print, 47 1/2″ x 30″

Arne Svenson16The Neighbors #16, 2012, pigment print, 46″ x 30″

Arne Svenson
Arne Svenson, The Neighbors #11, 2012, pigment print, 45 x 30″, ed. 5

Arne SvensonArne Svenson, The Neighbors #9, 2012, pigment print, 45 x 30″, ed. 5

Arne SvensonThe Neighbors #8, 2012, pigment print, 39″ x 30″

Arne SvensonArne Svenson, The Neighbors #5, 2012, pigment print, 44 1/2 x 30″, ed. 5

Arne SvensonThe Neighbors #4, 2012, pigment print, 45″ x 30″

Arne SvensonArne Svenson, The Neighbors #2, 2012, pigment print, 45 x 30″, ed. 5

All images courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York

  • Kristen Peelle

    Noone’s is not a word. Try no one’s.

  • James Drabble

    Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, a man who tirelessly defends the right of citizens to take pictures in public, had a pretty good idea. (About whether these photos are an invasion of privacy)

    He stated the following in an email to Photography is Not a Crime Thursday:

    “It is one thing to have a right to photograph and record in public, but another to invade the reasonable expectation of privacy of another person. Now add commercial use without a model release and possible violations of penal law – I would think he could be a poster child for what not to do as a photographer.

    It also does not help matters that he has made public admissions regarding his actions. He may ultimately have a defense in that he claims he does “not show his subjects’ faces” but as for likening himself to a bird watcher – people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes – such protections don’t apply to birds, even in their nests.”