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Today We Talk about: Neighbors Photographed from a Window and Displayed at an Exhibition

Controversy is guaranteed with ‘The Neighbors’, Arne Svenson’s last exhibition. This artistic photographer took pictures of the dwellers of a building close to his studio in New York. Very interesting work, but undoubtedly controversial too.

The inhabitants of this luxury building in the Tribeca neighborhood are really angry about this photography exhibition in a gallery in Chelsea. They just had no idea they were being photographed. From the second floor of the building across the street, the artist Arne Svenson secretly took pictures of his neighbors through his windows into theirs.

His pictures, that never fully show the subjects’ faces, are part of the exhibition The Neighbors and on sale for $7,500 on average in the Julie Saul Gallery.

One of the subjects stated:“What about the kids? If he waits with his camera for hours, who knows what kind of pictures he has taken. I can identify stuff from my daughter’s room”.

On the other hand, the artist said: “I am not taking photos of the dwellers of the building, of specific subjects, I am photographing humanity. In fact, I make sure I don’t disclose their identity. The power of those photos steams from our identifying with the anonymous subjects from The Neighbors”

On his side, one of the managers of the Julie Saul gallery said to the AFP that she’d rather ‘not say anything’ about the controversy. On its website, the gallery describes the series ‘The Neighbors’ as a ‘social documentation’ which it qualifies as ‘voyeuristic and investigative’.

Here you have a video with some opinions about the controversy surrounding the exhibition.

Video via NBC.

What do you think about this series? Invasion of privacy or art? Do you think Svenson invades his neighbors’ privacy or is it just an artistic documentation of society?

written by lomographyembassyspain and translated by bisilala

12 comments

  1. clownshoes

    clownshoes

    Ha! Awesome; I love it.

    7 months ago · report as spam
  2. susielomovitz

    susielomovitz

    I JUST LOVE THIS WORK... My modest version: http://www.lomograph(…)adeenfrente

    7 months ago · report as spam
  3. shhquiet

    shhquiet

    I LOVE IT!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  4. duncandeephotography

    duncandeephotography

    Its an invasion of privacy ,disrespectful and pervers but because he is an "artist" then that makes it ok and peaple who say its ok are only saying it because its the someone els if another photographer or "artist" stuck their lens in my garden and photographed me an my family i would have a real problem with it.he could of just ask one of the tenents if they wanted to be involved in the project

    7 months ago · report as spam
  5. blueskyandhardrock

    blueskyandhardrock

    I guess to those who do not mind being photographed while they're in their most vulnerable, which to me I think is when I'm at home feeling safe, it's art. But to me, it's a little creepy if I'm on the receiving end. If I were on the street or in a public place I wouldn't mind but while I'm in my own home? I shudder to think.

    7 months ago · report as spam
  6. jourdanlynch

    jourdanlynch

    I don't have a problem with candid photography out in public in the street, I do it myself... but to be fair if I was looking through these photographs or went to his exhibition and saw a photograph of ME unaware... I would be outraged...

    There are many people who like to indulge in "candid" documentary style photography, me being one of them... but to me this takes it a little to far... this is invasion of privacy and in all honesty I believe this gives photographers who actually do like to shoot "street photography" a very bad rep...

    It is project like this that is just worsening a already camera fearing society where you are looked at like a pervert for pointing a camera in the direction of children in a public place.

    7 months ago · report as spam
  7. micky_s

    micky_s

    i think this is a great project, and looks really well put together and constructed. I really don't understand peoples massive aversion to this, and i am really surprised at the majority of comments being against this project. it's not only beautiful but it also captures some reality that we can all witness ourselves if we just look. Who doesn't take the chance to have a sneaky peek in the illuminated window of someones house on the walk home? And if you are genuinely worried about invasions of privacy then you probably don't have facebook, a cell phone, an email address, a credit card, or even an internet connection... so fair enough to those people, shame you won't read this...
    And if you ask the tenants if they would want to be part of the project... my guess is that most of them, especially the ones that don't have net curtains, would say yes, and then you'd end up with a bunch of dull and contrived images that say, do, or prove absolutely nothing...

    This project is great, stop being paranoid and just enjoy it!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  8. susielomovitz

    susielomovitz

    I also like it A LOT @micky_s! I would have loved to have been photographed in this project. But I have to say, I had asked for a free copy! Hahaha!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  9. micky_s

    micky_s

    @susielomovitz well, i think at least you could have photographed your photograph...! haha!

    7 months ago · report as spam
  10. sudhashunmu

    sudhashunmu

    Very Much Agree with @micky_s.....the photos speak a new story .....its mysterious and highly in the form of art....cannot be called as invasions of privacy..just loved the photography

    6 months ago · report as spam
  11. sudhashunmu

    sudhashunmu

    Very Much Agree with @micky_s.....the photos speak a new story .....its mysterious and highly in the form of art....cannot be called as invasions of privacy..just loved the photography

    6 months ago · report as spam
  12. saidseni

    saidseni

    I understand that the essence of this project is to photograph people without its knowledge but using such intimate pictures (I think @blueskyandhardrock really described well the feeling of being "safe at home" and that's why people may react in a negative way to this) without asking people first... Hm, hm, I think I would not do that.

    I think the photographer should have spoken to the people on the photos and ask permission to use them. Some would say no (and get new, opaque curtains), but I bet some would say yes and even ask for a free copy like @susielomovitz, which would be well deserved!! :)

    But if he had done it, we probably wouldn't be speaking about it... there is no bad publicity, right? ;)

    6 months ago · report as spam

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The original version of this article is written in: Spanish.