(NEW YORK POST) -- Keep your shades down, New York.
A Manhattan judge ruled this week that artistic freedom trumps the rights of parents who don’t want their kids secretly photographed through the windows of their homes.
Judge Eileen Rakower tossed a lawsuit brought by two parents against a Tribeca artist who snapped pictures of their children through their apartment windows as part of a controversial exhibition this year.
“What are the implications here for parents?” said a friend of the plaintiffs yesterday. “You can just have people shooting your kids in their bedrooms, and nothing can be done about it? You can’t just hide behind the word ‘art’ to behave poorly.”
Artist Arne Svenson photographed his Greenwich Street neighbors for an exhibit titled “The Neighbors.”
Making use of their floor to ceiling windows, he captured his innocent subjects engaged in a host of mundane activities, from cleaning the floor to playing with their kids.
But controversy erupted after Svenson’s models learned that they were being photographed without their knowledge — and that the images were being exhibited and sold for up to $10,000 each.
Matthew and Martha Foster sued Svenson — who likened himself to a “bird-watcher” — after realizing that their kids’ pictures were being used to promote the exhibit in California and at the Julie Saul Gallery in Manhattan.
Arguing that his behavior “shocks the conscience and is so out of keeping with the standards of morality in the community,” the couple asked the court to bar him from showing or selling the images.
They also demanded that he turn over all of the images not being used in the exhibit.
But Rakower ruled Monday that Svenson’s artistic freedom superseded their privacy concerns, and dismissed the case outright.
“The value of artistic expression outweighs any sale that stems from the published photos,” Rakower wrote.
The judge also said the end of the exhibition and Svenson’s promise to scrub his Facebook page and Web site of the images figured into her dismissal of the suit
Sources said that photos from the exhibit have sold briskly, and that the Harvard Business School snapped up one shot of a woman in a green dress cleaning her floor.