Photographer Peeping at Neighbors Found Not Guilty

A New York State appeals court confirmed that the photographer of the project “Neighbors,” Arne Svenson, did not violate the law.

On April 9th, the New York State appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that cleared photographer Arne Svenson of any wrongdoing. In 2013 Svenson was sued by two neighbors, Martha and Matthew Foster, for invading their privacy. The couple saw photos of their children taken through their apartment windows using a telephoto lens at the exhibition Neighbors.

A judge from the New York State appeals court, Dianne T. Renwick, decided that Svenson’s photos are artwork and did not violate New York’s right-of-privacy law that, among other things, prohibits using a person’s likeness for commercial purposes without permission.

“[M]any people would be rightfully offended by the intrusive manner in which the photographs were taken in this case. However, such complaints are best addressed to the legislature. Needless to say, as illustrated by the troubling facts here, in these times of heightened threats to privacy posed by new and ever more invasive technologies, we call upon the legislature to revisit this important issue,” said the judge.


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