"How one exhibit is rethinking Privacy in a world that's always watching" PBS NewsHour 8/15/2016
"The changing role of privacy in a world inundated with Surveillance and oversharing."
SUMMARY: At lower Manhattan's International Center for Photography, the new exhibit “Public, Private, Secret” examines the changing role of privacy in light of contemporary surveillance and oversharing. The exhibition offers a historical perspective on voyeurism and surveillance and considers the definition of photography in the digital age, when camera access is nearly universal. Jeffrey Brown reports.
JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour): A stark message stops visitors in their tracks at the threshold of the International Center of Photography's new home: “By entering this area, you consent to being photographed, filmed and/or otherwise recorded, and surrender the right to the use of such material throughout the universe in perpetuity.”
And that's what the museum's first exhibition in its brand-new space in Lower Manhattan explores, the changing role of privacy in a world inundated with surveillance and oversharing.
PAULINE VERMARE, Associate Curator, “Public, Private, Secret”: What is your secret life? How can you keep it secret? I think that's one of the keys of this exhibition is really that, keeping your privacy, but also making sure that your secret life remains your secret life.
JEFFREY BROWN: Pauline Vermare is the associate curator of Public, Private, Secret, a mix of visual media, modern and historical.
There's this 1946 Yale Joel photograph of a couple through a two-way mirror for a series in “LIFE” magazine, and more contemporary surveillance art by Jill Magid, who captured herself on surveillance cameras, and Merry Alpern, who secretly shot through the bathroom window of a seedy sex club for her “Dirty Windows” series.
The museum itself has come a long way from its 1974 beginnings in a Manhattan mansion under the direction of famed Hungarian photographer Cornell Capa.
Since then, the world of photography has changed.
MARK LUBELL, Executive Director, International Center of Photography: It is the most Democratic format. It is in the hands of all of us. We all are now visually communicating.
JEFFREY BROWN: Mark Lubell is the current director of the museum, known as the ICP. He's overseen an institutional shift, from photojournalism and art photography to an embrace of today's digital media landscape, where cell phone cameras are ubiquitous.
MARK LUBELL: The big difference is, it used to be a few people taking images that went out to millions. And now it's millions and millions of people going out to millions and millions of people. I think that's a seismic shift in the medium, and it's something that we should be looking at and exploring.