It may be fair to say there’s a desire in most of us to see into the lives of others, whether for pure anthropological understanding or voyeuristic pleasure. Fine-art photographer Arne Svenson decided to act upon this urge, by using a telephoto lens he inherited from a birdwatcher friend to see into the everyday activities of the Tribeca neighbors visible from his studio window. But the images have an innocence in their soft painterly beauty that is anything but invasive to the privacy of his subjects—for what we see in the photographs framed by the windows are the simple enduring human intimacies and shapes that people take in their everyday environs. The resulting series, presented in an exhibition titled, “The Neighbors,” opens May 9 at Julie Saul Gallery in New York City.
There’s something to be said about capturing human intimacy that can be used to inform your own portrait work. Take a cue from Svenson and try to identify something previously hidden in your next portrait subject.