Residents in a multimillion-dollar Tribeca building are upset after learning a photographer who lives across the street has secretly been snapping pictures of them through their windows for a Chelsea art exhibit.
Photographer Arne Svenson, who lives in a second-floor apartment on Watt Street, told The New York Post his behavior does not violate his neighbors' privacy. He compared himself to a birdwatcher.
“They are performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised high," Svenson, 60, told the Post. "The neighbors don’t know they are being photographed; I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs."
Svenson's photos, which do not show his subjects' faces, are being sold for thousands of dollars each at a new exhibition called "The Neighbors" at Julie Saul Gallery.
But Svenson's Greenwich Street neighbors, especially those who have children, were furious to learn about the photographs taken without their consent. Some of the photos feature them sleeping, cleaning, taking their kids to bed or engaging in other personal activities, and they don't want that on display.
"I'm upset because a lot of children live in this building, I have young children," said Clifford Finn, who was photographed by Svenson. "I'm sure there's a lot we haven't seen and I don't know what he has on film, and I think that's everybody's big concern."
Another parent said no adult should be able to photograph children in their homes with a telephoto lens, even if the photos were taken from the photographer's own home.
"The idea of someone pointing a telephoto lens at our building is unnerving," said Andrea Taetle, a mother of three.