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<p>This is nothing more than an attempt to raise paparazzi photography to a fine art level. It will be interesting to see how the legal aspects get resolved, maybe in terms of failure to obtain model and property releases. Svenson's argument that ".. they are performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised high," is like arguing that a rape is excusable because the victim was dressed seductively. That, plus the $7500 price tag show that Mr. Svenson does not lack for ego.</p>

<p>In short, it stinks.</p>

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<p>Most states have peeping tom statutes that would protect people from such invasions of privacy--criminal activity not just civil. <br /> That doesn't mitigate the value of the work as art, which is largely based on one's own determination, but preference is not a criteria for what is art more globally.<br /> <br />Price? We can ask whatever we want for our work. In today's market, $7500 is not all that much but regardless, more power to him as he may need it for lawyers, not only privacy issues but criminal prosecution.</p>
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<p>It's always hard to know how the law will sort itself out. A lot depends on the quality of his lawyers. But the art itself, independent of that, is rather good. The photographs are certainly discreet in tone and there's nothing lurid or prurient in them. Looks like a rather good show to me.</p>
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<p>Perhaps he is an arrogant little fellow who is trying to be "edgy". He is one of those dweebs who does not have the courage to go against real convention and not write his bio in the third person. His website says:</p>

 

<blockquote>

<p>Arne Svenson is self taught as a photographer, but his sensibility was largely formed by his early work as a therapist/educator working with severely disabled children.</p>

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<p>Why is none of this a surprise?</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>That explanation has done little to satisfy some residents of the Zinc Building, where a penthouse was once listed at nearly $6 million.</p>

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<p>It appears our author feels that people with a lot of money should have higher expectations of privacy. Or just is not a very good journalist. </p>

<p>Well. I hope they arrest his behind and let him get some quality time with people at Ryker's Island from whom he can draw inspiration. </p>

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<p>Rykers Island for taking photographs? I think that is part of the new sensibility of maximizing punishments for the most trivial of crimes. Why not torture him too? Perhaps a Supermax isolation cell for 30 years? Of course I jest here. But really, <em>prison?</em> </p>
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<p>I guess I just don't really get all the animosity that comes up in these threads either towards people expressing themselves. As, for instance, m stephens said, the law will sort it out. I liked the images I saw and I think they are in line with one of the more popular movements in photography these days, elevating the common place. Once it was glorifying nature, but that has lost a great deal of favor these days, things change and move on.</p>

<p>The issue here I think is just that art isn't a good excuse for breaking the law. It is just a reminder that, as photographers, we have to be cognizant of what is or isn't legal activities. Just looking into someone's window is generally an illegal act, recording that, well, that is evidence.</p>

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<p>Just because he did not display people naked in their own homes does not mean he did not see them or photograph them. My opinion is that this guy went too far. There are places we have a reasonable expectation of privacy and in our own homes is one of them. We should not be relegated to sitting behind shutters for fear some "artist" puts us online or in a gallery. I wonder how this would have shaken out if the subjects had been young girls? </p>

<p>Let me just change a bit what the artist himself said:</p>

<p>"For my (subjects like little Debbie) there is no question of privacy; (she is) performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of (her) own creation with the curtain raised high," Svenson says in the gallery notes. ( 11 year old Debbie nor her parents didn't) know (she was) being photographed; (as she tried on her new swimsuit) I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs."</p>

<p> </p>

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I don't care for what the 'artist's has

done but what did these residents

expect? Floor to ceiling windows

without curtains or blinds and

neighbors right across the street? Of

course someone will be looking and

sooner or later making photographs. It

doesn't make it right but anyone acting

shocked or surprised is kidding

themselves.

 

Rick H.

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<p>How is there any expectation of privacy when people can see through your windows from off your property? When my curtains are open I assume people can see in, and if they take a picture, then they do.<br>

If they are peering in with a strong telephoto or binoculars, I think that's different. </p>

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<p>@gardiner<br>

Society is being trained to despise artists as suspected disruptors, atheists, and people of poisonous values. The vanguard in this war against art is government at all levels in their attempted defunding of anything with the word art in it. </p>

<p>One of the reasons rich people are throwing money like water at art, is to prove they aren't a part of this declasse movement of vilifying art. </p>

<p>Take note of the person declaring that the artist here should be slammed in the worst prison in NY and so on. That's not an uncommon sentiment. </p>

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<blockquote>

<p>Take note of the person declaring that the artist here should be slammed in the worst prison in NY and so on. That's not an uncommon sentiment.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>Insert another eye-roll here. I was not trained to despise art or artists I was trained to be one. I don't despise atheists (though I wonder what that has to do with anything). Disruptors may or not be condemned depending on what they do to disrupt. <br>

This is not an attack on an artist. This is an attack on an unwarranted invasion of privacy masquerading as art. Why do you not address my post about the 11 year old girl changing clothes? If I sit a hundred yards away and shoot through her bedroom window are you going to say that is OK just because I put a $17,000.00 price tag on it?</p>

<p>Go peddle your paranoia someplace else. All that is shocking is not art. Art is not an excuse for bad behavior. All photographers are somewhat voyeuristic. That does not mean that because we <em>can</em> shoot through other peoples windows that we ought to. Forcing people to keep their windows closed lest some pervert under the guise of art catch them in a bad situation is holding people hostage in their own homes. This "artist" is a creep. Sometimes creeps serve a purpose. They show is the need for legal protection. If his actions are not illegal in New York, they ought to be.</p>

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<p>Rick M.,<br>

This was your original comment: <strong>"Well. I hope they arrest his behind and let him get some quality time with people at Ryker's Island from whom he can draw inspiration."</strong><br>

<strong> </strong><br>

As I said earlier, I don't think he's been arrested for a crime, I don't think he is even being investigated for criminal activity. I think that adequately addresses your original post. </p>

<p>Later, I commented on the societal attack on art and artists. It appears you and I have different opinions about that. So what? How does that amount to "peddling paranoia?" </p>

<p>I think your original position of imprisoning the fellow for his photographs represents the most absurd level of extreme authoritarianism I've seen expressed here in quite some time. In spite of your denial, it actually is an attack on the artist. We have the highest rate of imprisonment in the world already. Now we want to add photographers who may have bad taste? I think that perfectly supports my assertion about the attack on the arts. </p>

<p>Lots of people are creeps. There are creep photographers, creep cops, creep doctors, creep ditch diggers. We don't put them in Rykers Island though. </p>

 

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<blockquote>

<p>I think your original position of imprisoning the fellow for his photographs represents the most absurd level of extreme authoritarianism I've seen expressed here in quite some time.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>. So you think arresting peeping-toms is "extreme authoritarianism" LOL.</p>

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<p>In spite of your denial, it actually is an attack on the artist.</p>

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<p>What denial? Let me say it again. Clearly so you have no trouble understanding me. If New York has no law to prosecute someone who uses a telephoto lens to photograph people inside their homes (and they may have) they need such a law. That is a pretty clear position. I AM definitely attacking this guy for what I consider his unwarranted invasion of his subjects' privacy and what in most states and localities across the country is at the minimum a misdemeanor. I see not a soul has had the courage to answer my hypothetical about the little girl. We don't know what hit the cutting room floor. This guy is a creep. And in many locations quite possibly a felon. </p>

<p> </p>

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<p>We have the highest rate of imprisonment in the world already.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>Irrelevant to this discussion. I agree we should not put some people in jail. Peeping toms need the slammer IMO.</p>

 

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<p>Now we want to add photographers who may have bad taste? I think that perfectly supports my assertion about the attack on the arts.</p>

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<p>Spying on naked children and other people in the privacy of their own homes is for you just "bad taste"? And perhaps photographing them? Good God man.</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>Lots of people are creeps. There are creep photographers, creep cops, creep doctors, creep ditch diggers. We don't put them in Rykers Island though</p>

</blockquote>

<p>Actually we do. If not in New York in other jails throughout the country. <br>

I am not attacking artists. I am attacking this guy. You may want to make it a general attack but it is not. There is no chilling effect here. If you fear that I wish to deter other photographers from setting up powerful telephoto lenses and looking through other windows in private homes you are right. We are not talking about someone shooting a house from the street. We are talking about someone essentially attempting to go inside of that house. Maybe you think we should be allowed to hack web cams too? What is the difference? We are just outside looking in.</p>

<p>My guess is that the New York legislature or city governance is about to fix this guys problem and I will applaud when they do. I am a photojournalist. I abhor limits on freedom of speech. This is not protected speech. This is clearly invasion of privacy or ought to be.</p>

<p>There is a greater concern however. That is that this guy got a show at a gallery. No doubt the gallery owners knew that the controversy would be a money maker. Sadly we have become a nation of laws and not ethics. We have come to believe that just because something is not technically illegal it is just fine to do. And of course to profit from. The fact that this guy thinks his actions are OK is disturbing. The fact that a significant number of people think this is a question of free artistic expression is more disturbing. This is not an artistic expression. It is the equivalent of a photographic drone strike. </p>

 

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<p>Rick M.,<br>

I just checked the latest news to see if he has been arrested. Not that I can detect. Given the coverage, and given that the subjects know they have been photographed and are hanging in a gallery, I'd say it seems now that he hasn't broken any laws. Maybe they can sue in civil court, of course.<br>

<br />Your hypothetical questions have no point for me. I only commented on what was done for the exhibit, not what might possibly have been done in some other set of circumstances. Likewise your strawman arguments are meaningless:<em>"Spying on naked children and other people in the privacy of their own homes is for you just "bad taste"?</em> My comments were about the photographs in the exhibit, and none of them were photographs of nude children. Neither did I say it was "bad taste" to spy on naked children in their homes.</p>

<p>My interest in your comments wasn't about your approval of the artistic expression. Everyone has their own taste. My challenge was just your notion that this photographer belonged in prison. I don't think this last post of yours supported or provided a rationale for that position.</p>

<p> </p>

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<blockquote>

<p>My challenge was just your notion that this photographer belonged in prison. I don't think this last post of yours supported or provided a rationale for that position.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>And again you dodge the question. I don't expect you to answer it. It is far from a strawman. It is at the essence of the argument. We know that this man saw things that even you would have a hard time justifying. He is a peeping tom. He meets every definition of the offense. I utterly reject the notion that just because he did not put something on the wall that he did not see or photograph it.</p>

<p>Here is the deal. There are victims here. The victims are the people in that building and indeed all over NYC who now feel hostage in their own homes. They feel uncomfortable enjoying the daylight or the beautiful NY skyline at night because they have proof that some voyeur hiding behind the dubious claim of art is spying on their most personal moments. Where there is one there will soon be more. </p>

<p>Will photonet call this "street" photography and let us post it here? I sincerely hope not. Indeed if they did I expect that there would be any number of members leave to never return. And, of course, they don't collect enough in memberships and advertising to pay the attorneys when their argument is, "gee judge, how did we know she was 17?" </p>

<p>But you seem to have ceded the rest of it and are keying to the question, "why jail"? Easy answer. Because that is must be the ultimate sanction for this behavior. Might a judge give him probation in my world?" Sure. There are a range of sanctions; fines to prison. What I know for certain is that this should be stopped right now. Tell us M Stephens. Do you believe what he did should be allowed? Should it be legal to hide in the bushes and shoot through peoples windows on the outside chance that we might discover "art" in their bedroom window? Or do you agree with me that this is perverted behavior and should face legal sanction?</p>

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<p>Well, there's nearly 2,000 comments on this over at Yahoo already, so the old saying that "there's no such thing as bad publicity" comes to mind. I think it stinks, even though it may be legal. The first comment over there says it all. Who would want to buy or see such a piece? I see no legal issues, but would never do it myself.</p>
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