Judge Dismisses Privacy Lawsuit Against “Voyeur” Artist Arne Svenson
AUGUST 06, 2013
by David Walker
The New York photographer who provoked controversy by photographing his neighbors through their apartment windows and exhibiting the images in a show has fended off lawsuit for invasion of privacy.
New York State court judge Judge Eileen A. Rakower dismissed the claim against photographer Arne Svenson, ruling that the photos in question were protected by the First Amendment. She also ruled that the images did not violate New York State civil rights laws, as the plaintiffs had claimed.
“An artist may create and sell a work of art that resembles an individual without his or her written consent,” Judge Rakower wrote in her decision, underscoring a central principle of the case.
Marc Davis is a fine art photographer specializing in landscapes of California and the Southwest. You might find his photography on exhibition at some of the following places: Firehouse Arts Center / Harrington Gallery, California State Fair, New Britain Museum of American Art, Alameda County Fair, Livermore Public Library, local wineries, the Bankhead Theater / Bothwell Arts Center, Bagel Street Cafe in Blackhawk, First Street Ale House, Dougherty Station Art Gallery, as well as various other businesses and publications throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
In December 2011, after winning the California Shines Contest, “Granite Ablaze” went on permanent display in a gallery at the U.S. Forest Service Building in Washington, DC.
RUS ANSON studied advertising and graphic design as an undergrad in Barcelona. She got a job in town after graduation at McCann Erickson, but quickly found herself at odds with “the stressful rhythm of the ad agencies.” So she borrowed a camera, entered and won a photo contest run by El Pais. The prize was her first camera, and the validation gave her the confidence to apply for (and win) a scholarship to study in San Francisco.
This all started in maybe 1980 when the Seneca Point cottage was built. It is a beautiful place and lake called Kanadarqua by the Senecas meaning “The Chosen Place.” Over the years I have stood on the deck looking out on Bare Hill and Vine Valley made lots of pictures from maybe five (slightly different places) on the deck. I photographed the sky, the water, the light and the feeling of the place. Storms, fireworks on July 4, flares on Labor Day, a bit of Spring or Fall, clouds and all. I never intended to do anything with these pictures. They were made because the place sort of compelled me to. I was (and remain) captured by the spirit of the place.
So, I collected pictures. Then digital photography came along. Lightroom from Adobe allowed me to see my pictures in vast contact sheets. Instead of 12 pictures per page, defined by half a 220 roll, I could now group pictures as a folder or group defined by mood, or subject or color. As a result of grouping pictures in a folder called Sky/Water I got to see a whole bunch of relationships and juxtapositions that previously I might/would not have. These pictures are the result.
Uta Barth. … and to draw a bright white line with light (Untitled 11.3), 2011. Courtesy of the Artist; 1301 PE, Los Angeles; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York © Uta Barth, Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and 1301PE, LA, CA
Since the early 1990s, Los Angeles–based artist Uta Barth has examined photographic and visual perception—how the human eye sees differently from the camera lens and how the incidental and atmospheric can become subject matter in and of themselves. That is to say, she is perhaps less interested in where the camera is pointing than the act of looking through the lens in the first place.
The works that brought her to international attention, the series Ground and Field, presented photographic blurs caused by focusing the camera on an unoccupied foreground; these lushly colored images tested connections between the descriptive clarity of photography and the haze of memory. The 2002 series, white blind (bright red), which was rooted in the process of staring at a tree outside her window, explored optical after-images as literal and metaphorical modes of perception. And in 2007, Barth produced Sundial, a series of photographs in her home at dusk. Made at the moment when light begins to transition and fade, these images operate between positive and negative, visibility and invisibility, and shadow and light.
Barth’s latest series, … and to draw a bright white line with light, debuts with this Art Institute exhibition. As with much of her earlier work, the domestic setting continues to be fertile ground for nuanced explorations of changes in atmosphere, although for the first time the artist has intervened in the scene she previously had only observed. In this new series, Barth transforms a simple observation—the dance of a ribbon of light across curtains—into a complex photographic experience describing perception and the passage of time. The word “photograph” translates as drawing or writing with light; Barth’s new images, then, are quite literally photographs. This newest work is contextualized in the exhibition with select examples from white blind (bright red) and Sundial that have furthered her investigations into perception and light.