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Author Topic: Art or Just Plain Creepy?  (Read 54859 times)
brianrybolt
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« Reply #60 on: May 20, 2013, 06:23:33 AM »
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A bit of levity for this discussion.

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petermfiore
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« Reply #61 on: May 20, 2013, 06:27:26 AM »
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Now that IS offensive on so many levels.  Wink

Peter
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jjj
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« Reply #62 on: May 20, 2013, 07:26:12 AM »
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No, Rob, it's you who doesn't get it. It's not spying if you look at a person in an open window in the apartment building across the street from yours. There's nothing in Svenson's photos that he and everyone else in his apartment building couldn't see with their naked eyes when they looked out their windows.
Absolutely, but Svenson used a telephoto lens to focus in on his unwitting subjects, that changes things quite dramatically. I seem to recall in some places paparazzi can get into trouble for using telephoto lenses to capture celebrity shots of people on their own property. 

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It's not immoral if you publish faceless and anonymous photographs of your neighbors who choose to hang out in full view of you.
Being in your own home is not hanging out in full view though. It would be absurd to insist that people need to keep curtains closed 24 hours a day or put up with people taking photos or peering at you with a telescope. I easily could take photos of the vicar and his family in the vicarage opposite me if I wanted. I would need a long lens to do so and I'm pretty sure it would be seen as a bad thing by most people here in UK and not just because he's just happens to be a vicar.
And in California, these photos would probably fall foul of these laws.




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kencameron
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« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2013, 08:06:27 AM »
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Ken, I'll come back to what I said earlier.  That we can't recognise the people in Svenson's photos isn't relevant.  The people who the images are of know and, quite probably, their neighbours may know who they are.  The shots are not 'unfocused'.
Bob, I don't think you are reading what I wrote correctly. I didn't say the shots are unfocused - just that some of the body parts depicted in them are - which is the case. The fact that we can't recognize the people is relevant in the context in which I mentioned it - that of questioning the view that there is a black and white difference between what Svenson is doing and street photography. Invasion of privacy is surely diminished where people aren't recognizable to anyone (not just themselves or their neighbours) who sees both them and the photograph. I don't hold the view that you seem to be attributing to me - ie, I don't believe the fact that the people are unrecognizable in that sense is a complete defense of what Svenson did. As you say, his neighbors might still be unhappy, and I wouldn't presume to tell them that they shouldn't be. His behavior was certainly unneighbourly. But I still quite like the photographs.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 08:08:30 AM by kencameron » Logged

petermfiore
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« Reply #64 on: May 20, 2013, 08:28:26 AM »
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If I painted these views from life by observation would that be a problem for anyone?

Peter
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #65 on: May 20, 2013, 09:42:10 AM »
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If I painted these views from life by observation would that be a problem for anyone?

Peter

That question was posed before, Peter, with some examples linked.  From my standpoint, it would be problematic, yes. 

Ken, I guess I misunderstood your point.  Sorry for that.  I still think we're on opposite sides of the debate.
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petermfiore
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« Reply #66 on: May 20, 2013, 09:45:43 AM »
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That question was posed before, Peter, with some examples linked.  From my standpoint, it would be problematic, yes. 

Wow, I missed that point years ago in Art school. Very disconcerting, not for me, for you.

Peter
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nemo295
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« Reply #67 on: May 20, 2013, 09:55:19 AM »
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Absolutely, but Svenson used a telephoto lens to focus in on his unwitting subjects, that changes things quite dramatically. I seem to recall in some places paparazzi can get into trouble for using telephoto lenses to capture celebrity shots of people on their own property.  
laws.
Context counts for a lot in these situations. You have to keep in mind the setting in which Svenson was shooting. This was Manhattan and his neighbors would have been about 200 ft. away. He could have taken those shots and shown just as much with a Nikon D800 with a normal lens and cropped the photos. At most he'd only need about a 135mm lens and do a small amount of cropping. We're not talking about paparazzi lenses here. These peoples' lives were in his face when Svenson looked out his window.

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Being in your own home is not hanging out in full view though. It would be absurd to insist that people need to keep curtains closed 24 hours a day or put up with people taking photos or peering at you with a telescope. I easily could take photos of the vicar and his family in the vicarage opposite me if I wanted. I would need a long lens to do so and I'm pretty sure it would be seen as a bad thing by most people here in UK and not just because he's just happens to be a vicar.
Hanging out in your home is being in full view if people can see you with their naked eyes. I can't speak to the laws of the UK, but if your vicar lived in Manhattan and everyone could see him banging a church choir soprano through his open window I would encourage him to keep his curtains closed.

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No, they wouldn't. There was no assault, because given the close proximity of the street and other apartment buildings his subjects knowingly exposed themselves to the public. The U.S. Supreme Court has already defined the legal test for a reasonable expectation of privacy. No extraordinary means were necessary for Svenson to take his pictures. He was merely recording nearby scenes easily visible from his window.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 10:11:19 AM by Doug Frost » Logged
petermfiore
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« Reply #68 on: May 20, 2013, 10:14:44 AM »
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Seems to me that if all this legalise were around in____________ (pick a date) a whole bunch of Art would never have come to fruition. How very sad for the world. But we would have the Law.

Peter
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Gulag
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« Reply #69 on: May 20, 2013, 10:48:12 AM »
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Does this guy have a valid point here?

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“For art to be art it has to cure.”  - Alejandro Jodorowsky
nemo295
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« Reply #70 on: May 20, 2013, 12:46:10 PM »
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Does this guy have a valid point here?


He may think he has a moral point, but the law doesn't back him up. It's not up to him whether or not a trademark or copyright is valid.
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kencameron
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« Reply #71 on: May 20, 2013, 04:38:20 PM »
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Ken, I guess I misunderstood your point.  Sorry for that.  I still think we're on opposite sides of the debate.
No problem. I think where we differ is that I am prepared to "suspend" the moral judgement and value the photograph - and maybe that I think it is a similar moral judgement that has to be "suspended" in Svenson's case and in a lot of street photography. It is a bit like the "suspension of disbelief" that is necessary to enjoy a lot of fiction. I also think other kinds of artists can behave badly in the cause of their art - eg, writers who dump on their families or their exes. Some of this comes within the ambit of the law but most doesn't. If the "art" is not much good (as is the case quite a bit of "art", IMO), there is nothing left but the bad behaviour but if it is, (as in Svenson's case, IMO), then, up to a point, I am prepared to enjoy it.
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RSL
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« Reply #72 on: May 20, 2013, 05:30:10 PM »
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There is no expectation of privacy when one is in a public place.  I do street photography, but I wouldn't even consider doing what Svenson did.

True, Bob, but when you're inside your house you have an expectation of privacy and if some turkey is outside on the street shooting through your windows and then shows the result, chances are you can sue him. On the other hand even if you won I doubt you'd end up on the plus side of the ledger with the suit.

Street photography is wonderful and fun, but you've got to be reasonable. Never, never, never take unfair advantage of anybody with your camera. I'm with you on Svenson.
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kencameron
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« Reply #73 on: May 20, 2013, 06:54:37 PM »
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Never, never, never take unfair advantage of anybody with your camera.
That is good advice. But would you say that all the great street photographers have reliably followed it? I would be interested in your take on some of the alleged counter-examples people have raised earlier in this thread.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #74 on: May 20, 2013, 07:29:05 PM »
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Whether it's on the street or in people's apartments or where ever,  It comes down to how you personally feel about it inside your gut.  If you feel queasy about taking the picture, don't do it.  In the end, you'll be hurting yourself more than the people you're taking pictures of.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #75 on: May 20, 2013, 08:19:12 PM »
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True, Bob, but when you're inside your house you have an expectation of privacy and if some turkey is outside on the street shooting through your windows and then shows the result, chances are you can sue him. On the other hand even if you won I doubt you'd end up on the plus side of the ledger with the suit.

Street photography is wonderful and fun, but you've got to be reasonable. Never, never, never take unfair advantage of anybody with your camera. I'm with you on Svenson.

Fair points, Russ, and agreed.

Ken, you're right, not all street shooters do.  I'm drawing a blank on the name but there's a famous street shooter who used to go up to people and blast a flash in their faces for his shots.  You likely couldn't get more intrusive.  As for the 'all for the sake of art' idea, as I mentioned earlier, I have a different boundary line,
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RSL
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« Reply #76 on: May 21, 2013, 10:57:56 AM »
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. . .there's a famous street shooter who used to go up to people and blast a flash in their faces for his shots.

That's Bruce Gilden, and as far as I know he's still doing it. Here's a clip of his street photography "technique:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRBARi09je8. I don't understand how Bruce has managed to live this long.
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petermfiore
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« Reply #77 on: May 21, 2013, 11:07:48 AM »
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That's Bruce Gilden, and as far as I know he's still doing it. Here's a clip of his street photography "technique:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRBARi09je8. I don't understand how Bruce has managed to live this long.

Great post! Thanks for the share.

Peter
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nemo295
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« Reply #78 on: May 21, 2013, 11:56:48 AM »
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I don't understand how Bruce has managed to live this long.

Gilden is about as aggressive a street photographer as one can be. Joel Meyerowitz's street photography is, in my opinion, more interesting and his approach is a lot less confrontational.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qjym5uliDw
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Gulag
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« Reply #79 on: May 21, 2013, 01:03:26 PM »
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Bruce Davidson always asks permissions first when he does street photography.

http://youtu.be/NXjJs6n3m2U
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“For art to be art it has to cure.”  - Alejandro Jodorowsky
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