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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.”

  • http://jeremybrooks.net Jeremy Brooks

    Just came across this while looking around the web site. Just as an FYI for future visitors, the photographer was sued, and won. These are primarily works of art, therefore they are not commercial work. Further, the judge ruled (correctly, in my opinion) that this artistic work is protected under the first amendment.

    If you stand in front of a window visible to everyone, you do not have an expectation of privacy.