Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.

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Painterly Peeks: Photos Capturing the Lives of Photographer Arne Svenson’s Unaware Neighbors

Apparently, New York photographer Arne Svenson inherited a 500 mm lens from a friend who was passionate about bird-watching. Svenson didn’t know much about birds but he put the lens to good use, taking these really beautiful pictures of his Manhattan neighbors. The neighbors weren’t as excited about the photos as I am, so guess what they did, not rocket science, they sued him. And he won. It was 2013 and a court decided that what he did – taking the photos and then exhibiting them in a nearby gallery – was something defensible under the First Amendament’s guarantee of free speech and the photos needed no consent to be made or to be sold. That’s good to know. I accidentally found this story and these amazing photos some days ago, when I started doing research for a photo project I want to pursue, a project for which I was wondering where’s the line between public and private.

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Break-up: a photo series illustrating the inner phases of letting go

I didn’t break up with Mr M. and it’s no longer November, but both have nothing to do with how personal this photo series is and feels. I saw these photos some time ago and then I forgot the name of the photographer, the name of the series, I only remembered some keywords: women, break-up, feelings and Paris. And of course, I remembered the strong images that link these keywords: images of women, and their feelings after breaking up with the one they loved. In Paris. In the end the mix of words was enough to re-find Laura Stevens‘ photo project called Another November.

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What Remains (2005, directed by Steven Cantor)

Some years ago, this photo of this young girl smoking was literally covering half of the Fotomuseum in The Hague. My specialty is photojournalism and what I thought when I saw this photo is very much proof of how focusing on something for a long time, can create certain patterns of thought and can make us see connotations. I remember looking at it and thinking – issue: child prostitution/ problem: makes it seem mysterious and Lolita-like/observation: even then, the simple beauty and the candid look in the child’s eyes is arresting, and it does make a point, through contrast, a rough one. And… I was completely wrong. Instead, this is an art photo called Cigarette Candy, and it is part of the Immediate Family series through which American photographer Sally Mann became well known in 1992. Seeing these photos made me want to know more. And this is how I ended up watching What Remains.

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