Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Thoughts? Art show consists of photographs taken of the residents of a building through the windows of their apartments.

Posted by on May. 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM
  • 82 Replies

 

Poll

Question: Take a look at these pictures, then share your thoughts about them.... In your opinion, Is it art?

Options:

Yes

No


Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 29

View Results

'Neighbors': Anonymous and intimate

By Arne Svenson, Special to CNN
updated 7:25 PM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
"The Neighbors #9," 2012.
HIDE CAPTION
Photographer Arne Svenson's neighbors
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fine art photographer Arne Svenson's artworks encompass many subjects
  • Svenson photographed occupants of nearby building through the windows
  • Their faces were hidden, but some objected because they were unaware of camera
  • Svenson says portraits are powerful because we recognize ourselves in them

Editor's note: Arne Svenson is a fine art photographer and a former therapist/educator working with severely disabled children.

(CNN) -- Photographer Arne Svenson's show, "Neighbors," consists of photographs taken of the residents of a building near his studio in New York through the windows of their apartments. A few residents, unaware they were being photographed, have raised objections. In this column, Svenson explains his process and his work.

My art practice has led me down many and varied paths of visual exploration -- from landscape photographs of Las Vegas to portraits of sock monkeys, chewed dog toys and medical museum specimens.

Currently, in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Museum, I am working on a long-term portrait project with a group of autistic teenagers. Given my background as a special education teacher, I find this a particularly rewarding homecoming.

First and foremost, my practice seeks out the inner life -- the essence -- of my subjects, whether they be human or inanimate. I use my camera as a writer uses text, to create a narrative that helps the viewer understand what might lie hidden or obscured. This narrative, at times only a whisper or suggestion, weaves throughout my bodies of work.

Some time ago, I began photographing the occupants of a neighboring building through the windows. I've lived in Tribeca, in Lower Manhattan, for 30 years, and have built my life and studio here. The area has gone through many changes, and I watched the building across the way built from the ground up. Made entirely of glass and steel, it offers residents views of the neighborhood -- and neighbors and passersby views into the apartments.

As people filled the empty units, I was intrigued not only by the implied stories within the frame of the glass but also by the play of light upon the subjects, the shadows, the framing of the structure. I don't photograph anything salacious or demeaning -- instead I record the turn of the head, the graceful arc of a hand, the human form obscured by drapery.

The photographs make up a show called "Neighbors," which opened a week ago at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York, and some people have raised concerns.

I am not photographing the residents as specific, identifiable individuals, but as representations of humankind. In fact, I take great care in not revealing their identity; the strength of the imagery comes from us seeing ourselves in the anonymous figures of "The Neighbors."

In New York, people are masters of being both the observer and the observed. We live so densely packed that contact is inevitable -- even our homes are stacked facing each other. It is no wonder that street photography was born in this city, and some of the best subjects and most famous works are the results of those who didn't know they were being photographed or painted.

"Neighbors" has sparked a good bit of conversation. While people differ in their opinions -- as most do when it comes to art -- I believe the images speak for themselves. I encourage everyone to draw their own conclusions after seeing the work.

Neon Washable Paint

by on May. 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
AlekD
by Gold Member on May. 17, 2013 at 11:37 PM
3 moms liked this
Calling your creeper pics "art" doesnt make it okay. :/ If someone took pictures of my son or his bedroom through the window i would be pressing charges.
lga1965
by Ruby Member on May. 17, 2013 at 11:44 PM

 That doesn't sound right. I would be really angry if someone photographed me without my permission.

DSamuels
by Gold Member on May. 17, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Invasion of privacy comes to mind.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on May. 17, 2013 at 11:54 PM

 I call it vouyerism and invasion of privacy, not art.

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on May. 17, 2013 at 11:55 PM
3 moms liked this

I like these, actually.  Since the people are not identifiable I don't think it's invasive.  The photos are very evocative.  I am not usually a fan of photography but these I find really intimate.  

Maybe if it was me I would feel differently, I don't know.  I just really like these, either way.  

quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on May. 17, 2013 at 11:57 PM
1 mom liked this
As an art student, I can see why it is considered art. But I wouldn't really appreciate someone photographing me through my windows then putting the photos on display. I'd probably sue if any photos of me were sold as I never signed a release. The subjects probably have a good legal case there.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on May. 18, 2013 at 12:02 AM

 I would be Very bothered that some man used a telegraphic lens to peer into my child's bedroom and take pics. Who knows how many pics he has of children. That is creepy and vouryeristic.

kailu1835
by Ruby Member on May. 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM
1 mom liked this
I voted yes because art is subjective. It elicits emotion on any level. So in that sense, this is art.

That being said, he could be classified as a voyeur, and taking pictures of people without their permission, whether they are identifiable or not, and distributing them is strictly illegal
thatgirl70
by Bronze Member on May. 18, 2013 at 1:07 AM

Not art. Peeping Tom behavior, invasion of privacy, voyeurism, maybe even stalking. If he had asked permission, I could understand. He should be charged.

NWP
by guerrilla girl on May. 18, 2013 at 8:07 AM
I don't think anyone is not saying this is invasive or strange. I am curious if you looked through the images though as while the behavior is questionable, the aesthetic of the images don't strike me as creepy. What about the pictures themselves? If you didn't know they were anonymously shot, what would you think of them?

Quoting AlekD:

Calling your creeper pics "art" doesnt make it okay. :/ If someone took pictures of my son or his bedroom through the window i would be pressing charges.
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)



Featured