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Editorial: Recommendations
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Arne Svenson
Western Project, Culver City, California
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Arne Svenson, ''The Neighbors #14,'' 2012, photograph.


Continuing through February 9, 2013


"The Neighbors" is a photography series that Arne Svenson shot of high-rise condo units across from his New York studio. Organically composed with the assistance of right-angled steel windowpane frames, and using a telephoto lens inherited from a deceased bird watching friend, Svenson has captured private domestic moments that are classical in their grandness yet contemporary in their voyeuristic details.  


A woman wearing a towel wrap in place of a headscarf ("#14") instantly recalls Vermeer, while in other instances (such as "#13") it's a far subtler continuum — fingers just visible between a young man's legs are diffused in a soft saturation of natural light. The more formal images, though less revealing of their inadvertent protagonists (at the risk of sounding overly sentimental) possess a certain tenderness, as in the gentle emergence of the arm of a woman's striped shirt peaking through a billow of white curtains. The surveillance here is so well managed that we're given private moments without sacrificing any of the subjects' privacy.

Western Project

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