Stolen Moments, a human webcam in New York

Stolen Moments

The process of getting used to being constantly watched and monitored by webcams, social networks and unscrupulous invaders of our privacy has certainly had an effect on our expressions and movements. Our everyday gestures have necessarily taken on an artificial quality due to the feeling of always being observed. In Stolen Moments, Yasmine Chatila uses the very same mechanism – a hidden camera stealing moments of private life within New York apartments – in order to subvert this process. Acting as a nocturnal human webcam, the photographer waited from strategic positions for the windows of New York City to become portrait frames, deprived of the rigid everyday burden of the “observed”. The result is a urban noir poem, made of nocturnal actions, intimate and elusive, free from “the armour we all wear outside the sanctity of home”. The beauty and rarity of natural gestures are celebrated by a careful post-production, which carries this photographic reality show to an imaginary space: the outlines of the subjects, also to protect their anonymity, are grainy and smoky; the external architecture, the windows / frames, does not match the photographed scene. A building in the City Hall has a window that belongs to Chinatown, like an expressionist set, which raises the vulnerability and simplicity of natural gestures to the rank of authentic human show.

Chiara Ciociola