NYC artist’s secret photos of neighbors raise privacy issues; for some, ‘a line crossed’

by Associated Press,  |  published on May 17, 2013

Privacy Art
NEW YORK – In one photo, a woman is on all fours, presumably picking something up, her posterior pressed against a glass window. Another photo shows a couple in bathrobes, their feet touching beneath a table. And there is one of a man, in jeans and a T-shirt, lying on his side as he takes a nap.

In all the photos, taken by New York City artist Arne Svenson from his second-floor apartment, the faces are obscured or not shown. The people are unidentifiable.

But the residents of a glass-walled luxury residential building across the street had no idea they were being photographed and they never consented to being subjects for the works of art that are now on display — and for sale — in a Manhattan gallery.

“I don’t feel it’s a violation in a legal sense but in a New York, personal sense there was a line crossed,” said Michelle Sylvester, who lives in the residential building called the Zinc Building, which stands out with its floor-to-ceiling windows in a neighborhood of cobblestone streets and old, brick warehouse buildings.

Svenson’s apartment is directly across the street, just to the south, giving him a clear view of his neighbors by simply looking out his window.

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