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Thread: Photos raise privacy issues.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Although it is an invasion of privacy, the manner in which he took the photos, the residents have ways to eliminate the prying eyes such as using curtains or management could have installed tinted windows.

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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Should there be a different classification of the activity based on distance the telephoto lens allows? When you get up close you're a peeping Tom and can be arrested.

    These people are in their own home and depending on the time of day could be in varying states of undress. Taking photos of naked body parts is called criminal voyeurism and you can be arrested. Should nudity be the guiding premise to make that privacy decision?

    It doesn't matter if you live in a high-rise glass tower or a bungalow in the burbs, you are entitled to think some sleazebag with a telescope can't peer into your residence.

    Actually, I did think this was illegal until I looked. In Canada the laws against this were written as an afterthought to address the pervs specifically targeting nudity in washrooms and locker rooms. Someone wasn't thinking when they drew that one up. Perhaps this incident in New York will initiate another round of half-thought legislation.

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    May not be a legal invasion of privacy, certainly is an ethical invasion of privacy.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    And for anyone who would pay "up to $7,500" for one of those prints, I have a very nice bridge that spans the Hudson River I would be willing to sell to them.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    This is another one of those examples where someone goes and does something that pushes the bounds in a legal or ethical gray area, and the usual unintended consequence is that this drives changes in the law that have unintended consequences. Frankly, I’m sure that government agencies (law enforcement and other intelligence gathering organizations) capture this type of image (or worse) all the time as “side catch” of their mandated activities.

    I’m fairly sure that the photographer probably has taken care to ensure that he is in a defensible position (although the legal system will ultimately make that call, if things get that far). He has attempted to anonymize the people by ensuring that faces cannot be seen, but on the other hand, he has turned what he has done into a commercial product, which really adds insult to injury. This is really no different than what the paparazzi do, when they follow around celebrities and shoot images with long lenses.

    I guess, in the absence of specific legal niceties, I think a bit of common sense (yes, I know that is a bit of a misnomer), I have no issues taking pictures of people in public places or even inside buildings, where people doing things where they should not have an expectation of privacy. A shot of someone eating in a restaurant, no problem (unless I was specifically requested not to), but someone in a washroom or a store change room; no. These are places where one should expect some level of privacy. I think the same thing goes for capturing an image someone through a window of a home, apartment or hotel room.

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    While these shots are, strictly speaking, legal, I don't think many photographers agree with Svenson's ethics. There are certain cases where I think it's entirely justified to intrude on one person's privacy (by telephoto photography or other methods) when there's a threat to the greater good or truly significant historical events. But because these shots have no such purpose, I consider them shock art. Svenson deserves credit for preserving his subjects' anonymity - he's clearly thought this through, but if I had a chance to hear his reasoning, I'd be surprised if I agreed with it.

    I wonder if the whole project is designed to make us think about how often we're photographed each day by CCTV cameras and the like (about 300 times a day for Londoners). If so, using a long lens and shooting from one apartment to another seems likely to direct public uneasiness about widespread surveillance onto photographers. And that's probably not good for the profession.

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    And for anyone who would pay "up to $7,500" for one of those prints, I have a very nice bridge that spans the Hudson River I would be willing to sell to them.
    Makes me wonder if Mr. Svenson has model release forms.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Lex wrote... "This is really no different than what the paparazzi do, when they follow around celebrities and shoot images with long lenses."

    IMO, the very act of becoming a celebrity divorces a person from expectatons of privacy...
    Actually, I have nothing against paparazzi. The real culprits are the dull witted pople who have nothing better to do than to gorge themselves on the celebrity and expose magazines that are sold at virtually every supermarket check-out counter in the USA and I suspect, probably world-wide.
    No readers, no sales, no paparazzi: simple as that...
    The formula is:
    Readers + Sales = Paparazzi

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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    It does seem to be an invasion of privacy, but it's difficult to know if it is legal or not, as laws vary from country to country, province to province, state to state.

    Let me recount a situation that happened in Canada a few years ago in the province of Quebec (the article was published a few years ago in a Canadian photo mag):

    An amateur photographer captured a street image of a young lady sitting by a public fountain in a public space. This is not illegal in that jurisdiction (and is likely not illegal in most jurisdictions). So far so good.

    The photographer (an amateur) then entered the photo in a photo contest, and won first prize. There was a cash prize awarded to him.

    At some later date a friend of the young lady noticed the photo published in a magazine and mentioned it to the young lady. She was not amused, and sued the photographer.

    The lawsuit would have failed - except for the fact that the photographer gained compensation for the use of the young lady's image.

    I should add that he did not obtain a model release from her. That was where the law was broken. If he had not gained any monetary advantage, there would have been no successful lawsuit.

    Glenn

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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Well if we follow our typical legal/political bent in the US to overreact to things like this, one could foresee limits on long lenses similar to firearms. You'll be able to possess and transport them, just don't click them inside city limits. Then you're in trouble.

    In the meanwhile, we continue to kill upwards of 40,000 people per year on our public highways and consume more fuel than anyone else on earth but won't lower our speed limits for fear of voter backlash.

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Lex wrote... "This is really no different than what the paparazzi do, when they follow around celebrities and shoot images with long lenses."
    Nit-picking a bit, Manfred's the one who said that.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus
    Well if we follow our typical legal/political bent in the US to overreact to things like this, one could foresee limits on long lenses similar to firearms. You'll be able to possess and transport them, just don't click them inside city limits. Then you're in trouble.
    Photo regulations are already schizoid enough. I'd be okay with being legally required to ask someone's permission before taking their photo - I do that already out of common courtesy. But an outright ban on photography within city limits would be pretty toxic to journalism. Fortunately, I don't really see the Beyonce Dictate spreading.

    The funniest photo regulation I've come across was when I was told I couldn't enter an outdoor concert because my lens (Canon 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM) was "too big." So I swapped it for my Canon 50mm f1.4 USM right in front of the security guard, got permission to enter, and went back to the 28-135mm three meters inside the gate.

    It's a good thing photographers don't write anti-photography regulations.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    Should there be a different classification of the activity based on distance the telephoto lens allows? When you get up close you're a peeping Tom and can be arrested.

    These people are in their own home and depending on the time of day could be in varying states of undress. Taking photos of naked body parts is called criminal voyeurism and you can be arrested. Should nudity be the guiding premise to make that privacy decision?

    It doesn't matter if you live in a high-rise glass tower or a bungalow in the burbs, you are entitled to think some sleazebag with a telescope can't peer into your residence.

    Actually, I did think this was illegal until I looked. In Canada the laws against this were written as an afterthought to address the pervs specifically targeting nudity in washrooms and locker rooms. Someone wasn't thinking when they drew that one up. Perhaps this incident in New York will initiate another round of half-thought legislation.
    On the other hand, young children can look into their window also, do you hold them to the same standards as an adult. Also, I believe just like dropping food on the floor, there is a 3 second rule (length of time gawking) before you are labeled a sleazebag.

    If the tenants are nude in front of a window they are commiting a crime (indecent exposure) as well.

  14. #14

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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Not sure if cameras can see through lace curtains but that is the simple solution for people who want to live or undress by daylight
    Last edited by jcuknz; 17th May 2013 at 10:14 PM.

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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    As a debating exercise: -
    You are in your room (not on the balconey), doing whatever you like (e.g sunbathing nude in front of the sliding doors) and are clearly visible to the neighbours.
    1. You happen to be a gorgeous young lady and your neighbour happens to be an ugly old guy with a camera.
    2. You are an ugly old guy and your neighbour happens to be a gorgeous young lady.

    Typical reactions are likely to differ depending on if you are either person in 1, or either person in 2.
    In both cases, curtains drawn would easily.
    I seem to recall a comment being made in a legal class I was taking (and I may very well be wrong, but you know what the law is like, could be true) - that the GUY in 1 is in the wrong (peeping tom), and the GUY is wrong in 2 (flasher). BTW, the class was in the UK and many years ago.

    Graham

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    What if you are an ugly old guy with the camera strategically placed?

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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    As a person who enjoys photography I have many options open to me. I limit myself to try and post interesting photos and photos that may invoke an emotion. Especially a happy emotion. Saying that, I do not need to photograph any person or activity through a window. Capturing moments the participants do not want others to see. I believe that it was mentioned in the attached news article, that NO faces were shown in the photos on display. Does this make it OK. I do not think so but that is my opinion. ....Bob
    Last edited by Bob44; 18th May 2013 at 03:19 AM.

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    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    I don't know about you but I'm not good enough yet to just take one shot and get exactly what I was looking for. You think it's likely the published / on display pictures are the only pictures he took?

    Creepy...

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    Wayland's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Interesting case that could set dangerous precedents.

    What if you are photographing a building and there happens to be someone in a window that is visible when your high resolution picture is enlarged?

    What if a defendent in a trial says the police cannot use surveillance pictures because they breach his right to privacy?

    I personally feel the artist crossed a line but perhaps we need to think about where that line actually is.

    There is an old saying about people in glass houses not throwing stones but perhaps we should add that they should get net curtains as well.

  20. #20
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Photos raise privacy issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    Interesting case that could set dangerous precedents.

    What if you are photographing a building and there happens to be someone in a window that is visible when your high resolution picture is enlarged?

    What if a defendent in a trial says the police cannot use surveillance pictures because they breach his right to privacy?

    I personally feel the artist crossed a line but perhaps we need to think about where that line actually is.

    There is an old saying about people in glass houses not throwing stones but perhaps we should add that they should get net curtains as well.
    Interesting point about photographing a building and then enlarging. How can the photographer know, should they delete the images upon discovery? Has the crime or offence already been committed.

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