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Artists can snoop on their neighbours, court rules

An appeal court in New York has reluctantly upheld the rights of the photographer Arne Svenson to exhibit, sell and advertise photographs of his neighbours that he took without their permission. The seven-judge panel unanimously ruled that Svenson’s First Amendment rights as an artist outweighed his subjects’ right to privacy. But the judges also called his series of photographs “disturbing” and encouraged local officials to extend privacy laws. The works were shown at New York’s Julie Saul Gallery in 2013; one was acquired by Harvard Business School. Another exhibition of Svenson’s work is currently on view at the gallery: The Workers (until 30 May), a sequel to The Neighbors, presents close-up images of men engaged in manual labour.