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How to Anger Neighbors and Alienate People

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George | 1 Comment

Photo Issue

You know what they say about people in glass houses right? They live brightly and carry a big stick. Wait…that’s not right. Or is it?

There’s a brouhaha in full boil in Manhattan over a certain photographer who used a telephoto lens to take pictures from his apartment of his neighbors up the street in their apartments. The neighbors had no idea they were being photographed until local media chatter started about an exhibit called (appropriately) “The Neighbors.” (There was also an article about it in the New Yorker magazine.)

One family is taking photographer Arne Svenson to court. The family, which includes minor children, raised privacy concerns and is seeking an injunction against releasing the photographs (a few photos of the family were not included in the show, but are intended for sale with five-figure price tags) as well for intentional infliction of emotional distress.  It looks like this will be a instance of artistic expression and privacy facing off.

According to the complaint, when promoting the exhibit Svenson said,  “For my subjects there is no question of privacy. . . . 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.” Definitely makes me think that the neighbor had it right in “Mending Wall,” except maybe he should have broadened the statement to say that good curtains make good neighbors.

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One Response

  1. Minneapolis DWI lawyer says:

    Rear Window, anyone? How funny! Or not so funny if you’re the woman he captured at just the wrong moment…