Bill Henson

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Thanasis, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

    Messages:
    392
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    For those who are interested in Bill Henson, photography and censorship, David Marr (Sydney Morning Herald journalist) has just written a book on the recent events surrounding Bill Henson's photographs of children. He will be discussing this in an upcoming talk. Details here:

    http://www.gleebooks.com.au/default.asp?p=events/events4_htm#David_Marr

    Regards,
    Thanasis.
     
  2. two40

    two40 Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for posting that link. I've been following this with keen interest.
     
  3. afildes

    afildes Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Henson was going to give a talk at the Monash Gallery (Wheeler's Hill, Melbourne) but dipped out twice - I found myself staring at a 'sorry' notice at 7pm twice dammit. However and exhibition of his work is on the wall there including some good ones and Marr did talk there on his book promoting round. They also have the Marr book available. They also have a lomography sales point with lots of brand new Diana F's, kits accessories and similar on sale - forgot to check the prices tho'
     
  4. lns

    lns Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wish some of you Aussies could explain this "controversy" to me. By chance I borrowed from the library a retrospective on Henson's work called "Mnemosyne." I haven't yet had the chance to pore over the book in depth, but the work is fascinating. There is nudity and sensuality, yes, and some violence, so I could see how a few images could upset very sensitive viewers. But it is serious and beautiful work and I would say ... traditional. Pictorialist, in some ways. Harking back to dim and dark oil paintings in other ways.

    Yet to read photo forums and the stories from the Australian press that I've seen, it seems there are all these hyped up accusations that Henson exploits children and his work appeals to pedophiles. Goodness. I am a mother with three children. Believe me, I'd be against the sexual exploitation of children. I don't think that's what these pieces are. So I just wonder, what is going on? Have people who say these things seen the work? Is there just no acceptable way to portray teenagers as individuals on the cusp of sexuality and adulthood? (In works of art, by the way. That will be seen by very few people.) Or is this some fake controversy trumped up for political gain or circulation?

    -Laura
     
  5. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

    Messages:
    392
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's exactly what it is, in my opinion. Our own prime-minister has even stepped in by calling the photographs "revolting".
     
  6. Paul.A

    Paul.A Member

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The whole Henson affair is pretty well a media beat up orchestrated by a couple of people who have very big axes to grind. The work is nothing new, its been seen in quite a few exhibitions and is held by numerous collectors including Malcolm Turnbull the leader of the opposition party. The fact that after all hullabaloo no one has been prosecuted or found guilty of any improper action says it all really.
     
  7. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

    Messages:
    516
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney Austr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bingo! That has been the whole downfall of all the media hype around this case:

    no one was prosecuted!

    Because let's face it: there is NOTHING to prosecute, it's all a witch's hunt.
     
  8. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,190
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To continue on a theme I raised in another thread about the Obama win I see this as a symptomatic of the "be afraid, be very afraid" era of the last 8-10 years. Howard and his dog-whistling and fear-mongering are gone but some of the symptoms are still with us. People are still eager to find a "paedophile" or a "terrorist" or some other "evil-doer" in the most unlikely places. There are more sexualised images of children in a K-Mart kids catalogue than in a Bill Henson image. You would be hard-pressed to find an artist more honest, polite and forthright about what drives his work whether you like it or not. Some people just can't stand the objective truth. They prefer their own fictions. The boat people threw their children overboard, Iraq had WMDs and Bill Henson is a paedophile. See how easy it is!

    I agree Rudd has been a disappointment in his responses. One would have hoped he would have actually seen the work before passing judgement. I can't help speculating on how Whitlam or Keating might have responded. I suspect they might have been familiar with the artist or at least had the decency to have one of their staffers brief them first.
     
  9. nexus

    nexus Member

    Messages:
    80
    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Off the topic of the controversy surroudning his art. I met a friend of his who does his printing. He said that when Agfa was going under he bought tonnes of their paper and that controversial exhibition was his last printing on analogue. Kodak and Ilford papers won't do what he wants to do so he's had to go digital for pritning. He has 5 years worth of the film he uses and has it in professional frozen storage, after that he will really have to go digital.

    In the meantime his friend is putting a research project on their intensive intensive research on trying to get the same/as similar as they can results on digital paper and with the scanning process (they had to modify a scanner to get what he wants) as he does on his analogue.

    His negatives are very different from the final product. Alas I couldn't see an original scan because they were deleted off the laptop :-(

    Acc to his friend (who is a very well respected consultant in the biz especially in digital stuff) Bill is a genius in the darkroom, he has modified filters for what he wants and copious notes in his journals of all the dodging and burning he does. We talked abotu how sad it is that his tools are being taken away from him, that its like someone taking away Leondardo Da Vinci's brush.