A s Actaeon was the first to discover, snooping is a serious offence. In Ovid's version of the legend, Diana is bathing in a spring of clear water with her nymphs when Actaeon comes upon her at the end of a day's hunting. He doesn't intend to pry, but he can't help staring, and she's outraged by the intrusion on her privacy. The man who spied on Lady Godiva, and who gave the term Peeping Tom to the language, was punished by being struck blind.
Street photography or voyeurism?
Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera | Culture | The Guardian
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Tate Modern in display of voyeurism for photography curator's debut
Sexual or erotic images have been made throughout the history of photography. This section includes photographs that gaze openly at willing subjects as well as those depicting illicit and intimate acts made without the knowledge or permission of their subjects. The fine line between art and eroticism was already present in the s.
The world is full of jolly voyeurs, and they happen to be us: not just solitary types training telescopes on the neighbors but men and women of respectable mien and resume, lawyers, teachers and postal clerks, all happily, guiltily participating in the human condition. Everyone loves to look, and just about everyone thinks it a bit more delicious if it's a little bit forbidden. Voyeurism has been around from time immemorial, but after the invention of photography it expanded exponentially and embedded itself in the culture as socially acceptable behavior. When compulsive, it's perverse: a substitute for sexual contact with another. This version is almost exclusively male.