OG Voyeur… “Dirty Windows” Merry Alpern’s Sex Club Photography

Scrolling through my Instagram feed makes me feel old sometimes. Mostly because of the number of candid camera shots that people take while sitting on the bus, standing on the street, shopping in a store or whatever the fuck else they do with their phones glued to their faces. Stupid me – I thought they were just crossing the street trying to get hit by a car when they were actually taking a photo of the old man in front of them and thinking up some VICE-worthy witty caption to impress their friends with. Maybe they’ll become the next Daniel Arnold. Or most likely they’re just violating someone’s privacy. OK – Gen X rant done. Now let me talk about a photographer whose voyeuristic tendencies made for some really great photography long before parents dreamed of paying for their kids to take photos of strangers: Merry Alpern‘s Dirty Windows series. In 1993-1994, Merry Alpern camped out in her friend’s Wall Street apartment in New York and took photos through two classically dirty NYC windows in the building across from her. It was a sex club frequented by suit-clad traders who thought that lazy housekeeping would keep anyone from seeing them snorting coke and handing over bills for blowjobs. The subject matter is sordid, but the fuzzy, almost dreamlike view through the window makes these photos beautiful. The way the women and men’s bodies are segmented, body parts isolated and faceless, is profound. The Dirty Windows series was published in a gorgeous hardcover edition which you can get here if you are secretly a Peeping Tom…

 

 

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The Author

Meghan

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing alongside her husband Sean.

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