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Author Topic: Art or Just Plain Creepy?  (Read 59902 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #100 on: May 24, 2013, 06:01:06 PM »
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WOW

 What's that story about the pot and the kettle?  Huh

 What happened to morals on Mr Svensen's part? It seems that this self centered putz has none, IMHO.

 Rich



That's the 'quality' that some here would defend. Probably stems from the belief that a camera bestows upon the owner the divine right of doing whatever the hell he/she - and it can be a she - wants to do, and the hell with anybody else.

An old fashioned punch in the nose would do some of these people the world of good. But of course, in this day's world, it's all about lawyers, money and a gawping spectator base willing to buy into the nonsense. Such a lot of nakedness in the royal households.

Rob C
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AFairley
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« Reply #101 on: May 24, 2013, 06:20:16 PM »
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Getting back to the lawsuit, I am interested to see how much of a distinction will be made between being watched and being photographed.
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kencameron
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« Reply #102 on: May 24, 2013, 06:55:41 PM »
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Getting back to the lawsuit, I am interested to see how much of a distinction will be made between being watched and being photographed.
Indeed, and there are other complexities that may come into play - visibility, "reconisability", focal length of lenses, and so on. The legal expert seems reluctant to predict the outcome of the litigation. Perhaps we should all take a deep breath and follow his example. The ethical and aesthetic issues are quite different, of course. One of things that interests me is that the photographer and the gallery seen to have chosen to draw attention to the ethical/privacy issues and hence deliberately bring about the controversy. Was that purely a commercial decision, or was it also aesthetic in some way? Was the photographer being deliberately "transgressive"?
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RSL
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« Reply #103 on: May 24, 2013, 07:04:18 PM »
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I suspect the suit is going to settle once and for all any question regarding whether or not a big a window eliminates your expectation of privacy when you're inside your home. The law isn't based on a question of window size. It's based on the founding idea that your home is your castle.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #104 on: May 24, 2013, 08:24:15 PM »
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What will be interesting as the suit plays out is whether Svenson is compelled to produce all the images he took, if there are others - and there probably are - and what those other images show.
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Gulag
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« Reply #105 on: May 24, 2013, 09:50:09 PM »
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If I'm right in connecting him with the guy who does set-ups on LA streets (and in bedrooms and balconies) of male hookers and stuff like that, you are correct.

Anyway, the generous people of California appear to pay him to do it via grants, so it can't be all bad - for him. The whores get a buck without selling a f**k, and I feel no temptation towards either them or the piccies, so everybody wins. And then the galleristas cash in on top of that too, so the world spins merrily onwards to hell.

No, I don't rate that stuff at all beyind being masterful con.

Just my opinion, and as I'm not in the market it doesn't count. But you did ask.

;-)

Rob C

Banksy says, "Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”  But, this whole setup, I mean even if you want to slice it and dice it anyway you want, is extremely exploitative in nature, at least according to the 19th Century mega thinkers. Is there any exception to today's art world?
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Ed B
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« Reply #106 on: May 25, 2013, 12:15:19 AM »
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Only a coward points a tele into someone's house.
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Riccardo
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« Reply #107 on: May 27, 2013, 05:20:31 AM »
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The problem is not about the images, but, as Rob pointed out, about the act of spying.
We may suppose of taking a picture of the entire front of a building with a super-duper ultra high resolution camera and there would be nothing objectionable in this, even if, thanks to the high resolution, we could enlarge the details and recognize the figures through the windows. It 's a completely different thing from pointing a telephoto lens on someone's window in order to spy on his private life.
I don't know U.S. laws, but in Italy, the act of pointing a binoculars or a telephoto lens to spy on the private lives through the window is an illegal act (technically "illegal interference in private life"), regardless of whether you do or not photographs.
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jjj
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« Reply #108 on: May 28, 2013, 08:45:15 AM »
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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.
Have you ever used a camera? As you are talking utter tosh. He used a birdwatching telephoto lens that he was given, not a short camera telephoto lens.
I walked to end of road to get myself ca200 ft away from neighbour's house and shot this with a 200mm as it's the longest camera lens I have. And as some of Svenson's shots are about the height of the jogger's elbow off the floor, that a big lens needed to get his shots, maybe as much as 1500mm.  And don't talk any more rubbish about cropping a high res sensor as that is no different from using a bigger lens.




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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.
And I'm sure people do close curtains when they are shagging someone in living room, but why would they need to otherwise in their own home.

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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.
Furtively and quite possibly with a telescope! Not reasonable behaviour and this quote about/from Svenson kind of sums up the situation as being being slightly dubious.

"Svenson did not return a request for comment. In press material he said privacy was not an issue for his subjects and likened himself to a bird-watcher: “[My subjects] 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.”
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nemo295
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« Reply #109 on: May 28, 2013, 10:52:33 AM »
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Have you ever used a camera? As you are talking utter tosh. He used a birdwatching telephoto lens that he was given, not a short camera telephoto lens.
I walked to end of road to get myself ca200 ft away from neighbour's house and shot this with a 200mm as it's the longest camera lens I have. And as some of Svenson's shots are about the height of the jogger's elbow off the floor, that a big lens needed to get his shots, maybe as much as 1500mm.  And don't talk any more rubbish about cropping a high res sensor as that is no different from using a bigger lens.


Your example is ludicrous and your assumptions raise the question of whether you have any clue what a camera is capable of. The point was whether what Svenson photographed was visible to the naked eye and whether he could have revealed as much about about his subjects in a cropped photograph taken with a normal lens. The answer is, absolutely yes.

For proof I offer this cropped photograph, which I took with a 35mm lens on a Sony NEX-7. It's only a 24MP camera, but I didn't have my D800 with me so I went with what I had. The NEX has an APS-C size sensor, giving it a crop factor of 1.5. That gives a 35mm lens a equivalent focal length of a 52.5mm lens on a 35mm camera. That makes it a normal lens. This picture is of an office building across the street from where I work. It's about 200' from the camera--approximately the same distance that Svenson was working with.

Is the technical quality as good as his shots? Of course it isn't. It's grainier and lower resolution and the office window I was shooting was tinted. But all that is entirely besides the point. The point is that he could have revealed just as much about his subjects had he used my camera and lens combination.

« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 11:14:40 AM by Doug Frost » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #110 on: May 28, 2013, 11:13:41 AM »
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Never thought I'd agree with JJJ, but here we are. The question has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not what Svenson photographed was "visible to the naked eye." Nor has the question anything to do with focal lengths. The question is whether or not you have an expectation of privacy when you're in your home, a concept that has nothing to do with window size. That's the question that'll be thrashed out in court, and unless the court decides to reverse hundreds of years of precedent in common law, Svenson will lose. For Kravetz, winning the suit may be a moral victory but I doubt it'll be a financial one. It ain't cheap to launch this kind of suit.
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nemo295
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« Reply #111 on: May 28, 2013, 11:34:14 AM »
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Never thought I'd agree with JJJ, but here we are. The question has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not what Svenson photographed was "visible to the naked eye." Nor has the question anything to do with focal lengths. The question is whether or not you have an expectation of privacy when you're in your home, a concept that has nothing to do with window size. That's the question that'll be thrashed out in court, and unless the court decides to reverse hundreds of years of precedent in common law, Svenson will lose. For Kravetz, winning the suit may be a moral victory but I doubt it'll be a financial one. It ain't cheap to launch this kind of suit.

Legal opinion is not on your side on this, Russ. 

"According to experts contacted by the NYPost, there is likely no misdemeanor criminal case against Svenson due to the fact that faces in his photos “aren’t fully visible”."

http://petapixel.com/2013/05/16/new-yorkers-upset-over-photographers-secret-snaps-through-their-windows/
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RSL
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« Reply #112 on: May 28, 2013, 12:04:49 PM »
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And of course we know that "experts" are always right! Unfortunately for the experts the question doesn't revolve around what body parts are shown but whether or not those body parts had an expectation of privacy.
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AFairley
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« Reply #113 on: May 28, 2013, 12:37:12 PM »
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Legal opinion is not on your side on this, Russ. 

"According to experts contacted by the NYPost, there is likely no misdemeanor criminal case against Svenson due to the fact that faces in his photos “aren’t fully visible”."

http://petapixel.com/2013/05/16/new-yorkers-upset-over-photographers-secret-snaps-through-their-windows/

Criminal and civil cases are apples and oranges, he can still be civilly liable even if he did not violate any criminal statute.  See the OJ Simpson murder and wrongful death trials, for example.
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nemo295
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« Reply #114 on: May 28, 2013, 12:37:55 PM »
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And of course we know that "experts" are always right! Unfortunately for the experts the question doesn't revolve around what body parts are shown but whether or not those body parts had an expectation of privacy.

Nice try, Russ. Given that it was a sensationalist tabloid rag like the NY Post that broke the story and contacted the legal experts, I think it's safe to assume they bent over backwards to find someone who could throw gasoline on the fire. The Post is in the business of yellow journalism, like the UK's Star. They jump at every opportunity to foment indignation among their readers. They have a vested interest in blowing this story all out of proportion. If they couldn't find a legal angle to go after Svenson, it's likely that none exists.
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RSL
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« Reply #115 on: May 28, 2013, 12:58:53 PM »
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Well, Doug, considering some of the incredible judgments we've seen in the past few years it wouldn't really surprise me if, in spite of hundreds of years of common law, Svenson wins. But I'll hold out for a sensible ruling explaining to everybody who owns a big lens that the size of a window and your selection of body parts doesn't remove anyone's expectation of privacy in his home. We'll just have to wait and see. I really wish I could be there to hear what strained arguments the defense comes up with. It ought to be quite a show.
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Riccardo
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« Reply #116 on: May 28, 2013, 01:36:01 PM »
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"According to experts contacted by the NYPost, there is likely no misdemeanor criminal case against Svenson due to the fact that faces in his photos “aren’t fully visible”.

Because the issue is not about the images.
None of the subjects could win a case contesting one of the published image, but if one of them could prove that his image is the result of hours or days spent watching his private life through the window, surely he would win the case, but this is almost impossible.
All the issue (legal and ethic) is about spying in private life.
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nemo295
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« Reply #117 on: May 28, 2013, 03:44:47 PM »
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It ought to be quite a show.

That much we agree on. I would prefer to see this come to trial, if only to help set a legal precedent for this unusual situation.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #118 on: May 28, 2013, 05:58:20 PM »
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The NY Post may not have found that there was criminal liability - and I'd not put a lot of faith in what's in the Post.  But no 'criminal' liability does not mean no 'legal' liability.  Civil law is still law.  He may still be found liable in a civil court.  The one (so far) action that has been launched is a civil action.  The one aspect of the law that may be on Svenson's side in this; and I'd rather it not be, is that artistic use - which this is - falls under the concept of editorial use rather than commercial and a model release isn't required in such instances.
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nemo295
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« Reply #119 on: May 28, 2013, 06:21:18 PM »
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The NY Post may not have found that there was criminal liability - and I'd not put a lot of faith in what's in the Post.  But no 'criminal' liability does not mean no 'legal' liability.  Civil law is still law.  He may still be found liable in a civil court.  The one (so far) action that has been launched is a civil action.  The one aspect of the law that may be on Svenson's side in this; and I'd rather it not be, is that artistic use - which this is - falls under the concept of editorial use rather than commercial and a model release isn't required in such instances.

The plaintiffs in any civil suit would have prove injury. In the case of photographs which don't show any faces, that's going to be almost impossible.
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