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Author Topic: Art or Just Plain Creepy?  (Read 66551 times)
RFPhotography
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« on: May 17, 2013, 10:20:27 AM »
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An NYC photographer is coming under fire for an exhibit of a series of images he shot of people in neighbouring buildings through their windows without their knowledge.  Put me in the 'just plain creepy' vote column.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/new-york-artist-faces-backlash-over-voyeuristic-photos/article11987801/
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Jason DiMichele
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 10:36:22 AM »
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I'll share that column with you. Clearly an attempt to get the 15 minutes of fame.
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Jason DiMichele
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 10:46:19 AM »
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Merry Alpern, Windows 1994

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Shot covertly across an air shaft, through a bathroom window on Wall Street, Alpern's photographs of female prostitutes and high-powered businessmen are strange and indistinct. Captured yet elusive, these images are more startling in their voyeuristic magnetism than they are shocking. The viewer must try to make sense of them, to cull stories from blurred lines and sheds of fabric.
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nemo295
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 11:58:23 AM »
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Svenson is a terrific artist. His sense of color and composition are amazing.

His photographs of his neighbors are tasteful and quite beautiful. And he was more respectful of their privacy by not showing their faces than he needed to be for any legal reason. The law is completely on Svenson's side here. If his neighbors didn't want the world to see what they were doing they should have kept their curtains drawn.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 12:40:32 PM »
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Svenson is a terrific artist. His sense of color and composition are amazing.

That, of course, is a matter of opinion. 

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His photographs of his neighbors are tasteful and quite beautiful.

That, too, is a matter of opinion.  Frankly I don't particularly find the image of an anonymous woman from behind with her ass in the air to be overly tasteful or beautiful.


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And he was more respectful of their privacy by not showing their faces than he needed to be for any legal reason. The law is completely on Svenson's side here. If his neighbors didn't want the world to see what they were doing they should have kept their curtains drawn.

Did I say anything about his legal position?  Irrespective of the law, there should be an expectation of privacy in one's own home.  Curtains/blinds open or not.  One should not have to live completely shut-in out of fear of someone getting his/her jollies or taking commercial advantage through photographic spying.  What happened to the concept of respect?  He's shown none, despite not showing any full faces (although some partial visages are seen).
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AFairley
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 12:50:24 PM »
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Whether legal, moral, or whatever, cast me in the creepy camp, no matter how good the pictures (which I have not yet seen) are.

Having said that, a while back I saw a simply teriffic series of photos that were taken of people inside airliners through the windows as they were taking off at night.  Very atmospheric.  Those didn't strike me as creepy.  If you know the series what I'm talking about please post a link.

[EDIT]  Story has just been picked up by the L.A. Times http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-art-or-voyeurism-20130516,0,3656405.story

[FURTHER EDIT]  Having been to the gallery's website and looked at the photos posted their, this is visually very nice work, very evocative images.  But for me it's ruined by the creepy voyeuristic aspect.

Maybe it's time for some topic drift into snatching unconsented photos on the street.   Wink
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:24:43 PM by AFairley » Logged

Mjean
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 01:34:34 PM »
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Your home should be a safe haven, off limits to anyone not invited in.  You shouldn't have to live your life with the curtains drawn all the time.  There is an expectation of privacy in your own home and it has been violated by the photographer who in my opinion is nothing but a "stalker"  trying to make money off a controversy not art.
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nemo295
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 01:36:18 PM »
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That, of course, is a matter of opinion.  

That, too, is a matter of opinion.  Frankly I don't particularly find the image of an anonymous woman from behind with her ass in the air to be overly tasteful or beautiful.


Did I say anything about his legal position?  Irrespective of the law, there should be an expectation of privacy in one's own home.  Curtains/blinds open or not.  One should not have to live completely shut-in out of fear of someone getting his/her jollies or taking commercial advantage through photographic spying.  What happened to the concept of respect?  He's shown none, despite not showing any full faces (although some partial visages are seen).

Art is always about opinions. And with regards to Svenson, yours clearly differ from mine.

As far as the legality is concerned, first of all, I wasn't addressing you specifically. I was talking about the controversy. And with regards to privacy, the expectation of privacy does not extend to things that are on public view, whether they're in your home or not. In the U.S., where this occurred, the law is quite clear on that point. As to whether people in their homes should have an expectation of privacy when they are clearly visible to the outside world, that is another matter entirely.

In my opinion, if these people didn't want strangers looking at them and possibly photographing them, they should have kept their curtains closed. Their outrage is all the more puzzling given the design of their building--it's almost a fishbowl. They might as well have been sitting in a department store window, for christ's sake.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:48:55 PM by Doug Frost » Logged
cybis
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 02:00:27 PM »
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C'mon, it's Art! And very good art at that.
Oy vay.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 02:45:14 PM »
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Your home should be a safe haven, off limits to anyone not invited in.  You shouldn't have to live your life with the curtains drawn all the time.  There is an expectation of privacy in your own home and it has been violated by the photographer who in my opinion is nothing but a "stalker"  trying to make money off a controversy not art.



I agree 100%.

It's my opinion that shooting people without their consent is intrusion, however you write it or whatever the law might state. The law has little to do with morality, and probably makes a pig's ass of it when it tries to get involved in moral matters.

The only reason some people on forums say otherwise, condone this blatant intrusion, is that they hope to get their jollies doing exactly the same sort of spying. It's bloody pathetic, exploitative and in very poor taste. And no, that has little to do with the victims being dressed, half-naked or anything like that: they should simply be left in peace - by right.

It's a part of the amateur snapper psyche, especially the amateur/art one, that everyone is fair game. They are not - if you want to shoot people, go hire models.

That, however, doesn't exclude people from taking the common sense route and drawing their blinds if they are about to do anything compromising. Both parties carry a responsibility. I can tell you this: if I found someone had been spying on my wife, I'd settle the matter out of court, and not with money. I feel a hatred for these types of photographer. They besmirch all of us; just like pornographers, of which this is but a thin, chicken-livered branch.

Rob C 
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nemo295
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 02:50:18 PM »
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I can tell you this: if I found someone had been spying on my wife, I'd settle the matter out of court, and not with money. I feel a hatred for these types of photographer. They besmirch all of us; just like pornographers, of which this is but a thin, chicken-livered branch.

Rob C  

What Svenson did wasn't spying. He was photographing people on public display.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 02:53:31 PM by Doug Frost » Logged
RFPhotography
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2013, 03:02:57 PM »
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I think the idea of having your blinds open to allow in natural light means you're on 'public display' is more than a bit of a stretch.  

Certainly there's a long history of this sort of thing.  The article mentions, perhaps, the most well-known in Hitchcock's "Rear Window".  All sorts of TV programs and movies have played on the idea of the voyeur peering in with a telescope or binoculars.  That doesn't make it right.  And even if it may be legal (I'm still not completely convinced) it doesn't make it morally acceptable.

The images are on the photographer's website for those who are interested.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 03:06:49 PM by BobFisher » Logged
nemo295
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 03:09:07 PM »
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I think the idea of having your blinds open to allow in natural light means you're on 'public display' is more than a bit of a stretch. 

Certainly there's a long history of this sort of thing.  The article mentions, perhaps, the most well-known in Hitchcock's "Rear Window".  All sorts of TV programs and movies have played on the idea of the voyeur peering in with a telescope or binoculars.  That doesn't make it right.  And even if it may be legal (I'm still not completely convinced) it doesn't make it morally acceptable.

And where would you draw the line? If a woman is standing naked in the open window of her bedroom, would it be okay for passersby on the street to stop and stare at her? How about if a crowd gathered to gawk at her? And at what point do you tell the public that they can't photograph what they see in public?

I think people have a responsibility to safeguard their privacy. If you're going to put yourself on display to strangers, you don't have a right to complain if strangers stop to look at you. And if people can look at you, they can photograph you.
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cybis
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2013, 03:17:39 PM »
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None of the pics actually show anyone's face recognizably, correct? I enjoyed looking at the photos not in a voyeuristic way but because they depict an interesting aspect of life in the city.

Rob C, your comment on the motive of people not supporting your point of view couldn’t be more far off, IMO.
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Jim Kasson
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2013, 03:47:15 PM »
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It's my opinion that shooting people without their consent is intrusion, however you write it or whatever the law might state. The law has little to do with morality, and probably makes a pig's ass of it when it tries to get involved in moral matters.

The only reason some people on forums say otherwise, condone this blatant intrusion, is that they hope to get their jollies doing exactly the same sort of spying. It's bloody pathetic, exploitative and in very poor taste. And no, that has little to do with the victims being dressed, half-naked or anything like that: they should simply be left in peace - by right.

It's a part of the amateur snapper psyche, especially the amateur/art one, that everyone is fair game. They are not - if you want to shoot people, go hire models.

I think the world would be a poorer place without the work of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Robert Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Frank, and Garry Winogrand.

Jim
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 03:49:45 PM by Jim Kasson » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2013, 04:40:36 PM »
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Both artistic and a bit creepy.  The two aren't mutually exclusive.

Without knowing anything else, the photos are evocative and well composed.  Creepy isn't always bad.  I like them.

I think he could get in trouble, and what he has done is a bit unethical.  I don't think it is a terrible crime, but it is a bit of a violation of pulic trust, something like trespassing.  I wouldn't want the artist to be jailed, but if he were fined I wouldn't think it inappropriate. 
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2013, 04:45:58 PM »
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I think the world would be a poorer place without the work of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Robert Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Frank, and Garry Winogrand.

Jim

Roger that.  For me the thing with these pictures is that a line of sorts has been crossed.  If I'm out on the street, I expect to be observed by those around me.  If I am in my front yard, I expect to be observed by those passing by on the sidewalk.  If I live in a high rise, do I expect to be observed by people in neighboring buildings?  Perhaps, but I certainly don't expect to be photographed.  The thing that tears me up about the present situation is that all of the images are very well seen IMO.
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Isaac
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 04:49:39 PM »
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I think the world would be a poorer place without the work of photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Robert Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Frank, and Garry Winogrand.

I think the world is a poorer place when we need to be concerned that someone may be recording what happens inside our home with a telephoto lens.
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nemo295
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2013, 05:20:21 PM »
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I think the world is a poorer place when we need to be concerned that someone may be recording what happens inside our home with a telephoto lens.

Then don't make the inside of your home visible to strangers. People need to learn that being in their home doesn't make them invisible to people on the street or in the building across the street if they don't have anything covering their windows. These people live in a densely populated city. They're not living on a farm miles from nowhere. You'd think they'd learn to close their blinds if they don't want people to see them.
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Isaac
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 05:45:59 PM »
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People need to learn that being in their home doesn't make them invisible to people on the street or in the building across the street if they don't have anything covering their windows.

Maybe it does make them invisible to people on the street or in the building across the street -- who don't have surveillance equipment.
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