Referring to the paintings of Johannes Vermeer or Edward Hopper on one hand, and to Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ on the other, ‘Neighbours’ is a photography series with a disturbing narrative about our collective everyday activities.
In his works, a New-York based photographer Arne Svenson seeks out the inner life, the essence of his subjects, often leaving the viewer with only the subtle traces – more like a whisper or a suggestion of what he found. In ‘The Neighbours’ he does just that, capturing what usually lies hidden or obscured. The project began when Svenson inherited a long-focus lens and started photographing the occupants of the glass-walled apartment building across the street from his Manhattan studio. Intrigued with the divergent narratives revealing in front of the camera, he gave the pictures a distinctive aesthetic.
Unaware of being photographed, the people remain anonymous, while the scenes are often obstructed by the glass reflections or the dust on the windows. “I was stringent about not revealing their identities – not photographing them as specific, identifiable personages, but more as anonymous representations of human kind,” explains Svenson. “Therefore, I only reveal the turn of the head, the back against a window, the legs under a table – the quotidian activities that signify our collective human behavior,” he adds.
"I was stringent about not revealing their identities - not photographing them as specific, identifiable personages, but more as anonymous representations of human kind."
All images © Arne Svenson