Indecency & established photographers

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Ian Grant, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Here in the UK in a recent indecency case, amongst many other images were those by David Hamilton.

    His images have now been deemed indecent which seems to mean that anyone owning any of his images (they sell for around $1200) or his many publications should have a good think about what they have of his work :smile:

    According to Dectective Constable Ledger "Anyone who has David Hamilton's books can be arrested for the possesion of indecent photographs"

    He's been instantly dropped by publishers, while they await clarification.

    Just to clarify he is known for photographing young nubile girls, naked but definately not porn, and with full consent from model & parents / guardians. BUT they do range in age from 13+, even if most were over 16 at the time, he was also selling mostly to the American market.

    However laws change and here in the UK 18 is now the mininum age for nude modelling and probably that's quite sensible.

    But in the case of Hamilton's images our newer codes are being harshly imposed retrospectively, to an era that was far more innocent & no-one had heard of paedophiles

    This post is not indicative of my own personal views, I have my own criteria when working with models.

    I do think David Hamilton's work is on the borderline, and my reading of that border has changed from when I first saw his work as an 18 yr old in 72, compared to now. But that's perhaps maturity.

    Ian
     
  2. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    What will the UK do will all the statuary of young girls, water nymphs, et al? The British Museum must be full of that.
     
  3. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Often here in the U.S. a "new" law can not be made retroactive. It sounds as if this is what was done. Is there an appeals process available to clarify this point? Much older law is in the form of a "grandfather" clause and thus protected. Statutes applicable were not in effect at the time a "crime" was committed, so there can be no punishment. tim
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    It's not a new law: it is the application of the existing Indecency law. The guy in question was found guilty at Guildford Crown Court of possessing 19,000 indecent pictures of children: clearly these were not all by Hamilton.

    The Hamilton images were not singled out as indecent - only the collection as a whole. Mr Plod has taken the opportunity of "warning" people that these images are therefore "illegal" - this is not entirely true as each case is tried on it's own merits - another court (in London for example) may well reach a different conclusion should someone get charged for possession of a Hamilton nude only (no, I don't have any, and I'm not volunteering to be a martyr to Art!). Not surprisingly, the shops are not taking any chances, although I doubt if any images in books sold in the UK would feature under age children in any case.

    Bob.
     
  5. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Citation, please? Just who is this 'wit, Ledger, what exactly did he say and to whom and what power does he have? I suspect he's some kind of loose nitwit amongst the mumbling rabble of civil servants whom the unesteemd British press chose to quote; probably not worth his weight in stale bread.

    Thank you.
     
  6. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,11711,1512621,00.html (warning: pop-ups). Detective Constable is the lowest rank available amongst the non-uniformed old bill - just above canteen cleaner in the hierarchy...

    Bob.
     
  7. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Thanks for the info. Simon Ledger is food for toilet fish. Nuff said. It's all really about the particular Brit newspaper that chose to quote a dimwit whom they call out of the closet when they are desperate. Simon Ledger - sheesh, what a pervert. I'll bet he squats to pee.
     
  8. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    According to Dectective Constable Ledger "Anyone who has David Hamilton's books can be arrested for the possesion of indecent photographs"

    This is horrible!

    Up until this point I thought the owners of a David Hamilton book have been guilty of having bad taste in photo books...
     
  9. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Agreed on the bad taste issue.

    Hamilton really impressed me when I first started playing around with photography back in the early 1970's. Then I tried smudging petroleum jelly on a UV filter and taking backlit High Speed Ektachromes of some pretty young ladies I knew. I realized just how easy it was to make this type of photograph and impress a lot of people.

    But "indecent"?! C'mon now. Somebody needs to get out more often.
     
  10. garryl

    garryl Member

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    When Hamilton's books first came out, I wondered "how does he get by with this stuff". Then I found out"he's in France". My how times have changed. Never did like his fuzzy, neo-lesbian teenagers approach.

    But it has been my belief, since the 70's, that if the great artists and photographers (of the early 1800's through the 1950's)were alive today- they would all be arrested as adulterers, pornographers, and child molesters.
     
  11. Roger Krueger

    Roger Krueger Member

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    I wonder how far this intolerance and fear will spread. I have two issues of Blind Spot (out of a complete set) that have under-18 nudity (one Sally Mann, the other I forget). I've always worried that if street photography ever gets me searched they'll take a very dim view of these.

    OTOH I bet pedophiles love that there's legitimate art they can still legally buy to get off to. I doubt it's an accident that the Sally Mann Blind Spot has gone for over $100 on ebay (although all early Blind Spots are fairly valuable). David and Sally may well have stunning artistic merit (haven't seen his work; hers is certainly exceptional), but what percentage of their customers would you bet are rich pervs?

    Re: "grandfathering"--this is not always automatic. Paul Reubens (aka PeeWee Herman) got busted for stuff that was mostly 30-50 years old. He did however--after two years of fighting--go from being a "big child porn bust" to misdemeanor obscenity charges, $100 fine, 3 years probation, 170 pieces of his collection destroyed. It probably happened like that solely because he had the dough to stand up to nonsense charges. Don't count on getting that much justice with a public defender.
     
  12. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    I've mentioned before that my issue with this (photographing naked underage children) is that a child can't give informed consent, simply because they are not old enough. Laws are designed with good purpose, to protect children - even from their parents.

    My question, though, is that if you walk into a a Barnes and Noble and purchase a Hamilton book, you have a certiain presumption that the book is legal to sell, vis-a-vis pornography laws. How can an individual be held at risk of breaking the law, given the circumstances?
     
  13. haris

    haris Guest

    Leave children alone! Don't photograph them, don't talk with them, don't look at them, and especially never touch them!

    And if that means you wouldn't help injured child in fear that someone would accuse you for indecent touching of child, so be it! Just call ambulance and walk away. Better leave child to suffer than to be accused for paedophilia.

    Just, simpy, get away from chidren. Allways!

    I think that would make moralists happy.
     
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  15. garryl

    garryl Member

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    This story would tend to support your advice.:mad:
    http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-molest01.html
     
  16. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    No. If it happens that I am accused falsely, I will be accused falsely. I can't think of a better reason to go down the tubes. Hell of a small price to pay to alleviate the suffering of a child.
     
  17. haris

    haris Guest

    It is never small price to be accused falsely. Especially to be accused as sex offender. Because people have tendency to think like: "Where is smoke there must be a fire", or translated, no matter if court find you not guilty people would think there is something, and you are acquitted only for technical or formal reasons. Fear is too strong.
     
  18. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    I can see your point... The justice system in the US is flawed to say the least and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is a pipe dream.

    Children are innocent; they should be viewed as innocent. Unfortunately, certain individuals in our society are not innocent and they are not effectively restrained (jailed, executed, castrated then executed - take your pick) from preying upon children. Therefore it is the utmost parental responsibility to keep them safe. In my opinion, that means that they should not be photographed in any way, shape or form that might evoke a provocative response and parents who have allowed such are either stupid or unwilling to face the reality of the world we live in.

    It doesn't have anything to do with whether such photography is right or wrong or art or not. It has everything to do with the predators we must protect our children from. As photographers/artists, we are responsible for what we create for the world to see. To produce work that allows a pedophile to indulge in his or her sick fantasies is, in my opinion, totally without responsibility or ethics and to claim the right to do so in the name of art is, and forgive me here, bullshit.
     
  19. garryl

    garryl Member

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    Then I guess you'd disagree with all these people-- :confused:

    My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. (1900 - 1965)

    Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955),

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

    To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)

    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

    Patterning your life around other's opinions is nothing more than slavery. Lawana Blackwell,
     
  20. Roger Krueger

    Roger Krueger Member

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    Sorry Digidurst, I'm not sure I understand how some random sicko whacking off to an innocently intended picture hurts the child. I'm sure Sally Mann's daughters have a prominent place in many a pedophile's collection. That's disgusting, but I fail to see how it has actually hurt them. The few Mann's I've seen seem very much like warm family moments, not something where the child is under duress.

    I think it would be very interesting to compare child abuse stats with countries where child porn (nudity only, not sexual contact) is legal, like Japan and Denmark. Of course, the biggest determinant of child abuse statistics is how willing people are to report it, not how much is actually going on, so I suppose it wouldn't prove that much.

    If you want to toss individual rights to protect children, forbid single women with underage daughters from remarrying or cohabiting with a man until the daughter is 18. That'll prevent a thousand times as many shattered lives as anything you can do to David, Sally, Jock, etc.

    But the sad reality is that it's hard to deprive a large group of their rights; screwing a small group of photographers is trivially easy. Britain has gone exceptionally overboard, but most of the western world isn't that far behind.
     
  21. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    how about the mom in Texas that got busted for taking photos of her kids in the bathtub? a little too zealous IMHO. a lot of what cheryl does could be considered kiddy porn by these pruds.
     
  22. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    I agree, Eric, I think that is way over the top. I have pictures of my son in his birthday suit doing this that and the other thing. Am I going to publish them for the world to see? No! They are in the family album (where they belong) to be taken out when I want to show my son's future wife/partner what a cutie she's/he's married to. Do I feel like my rights are infringed upon because these pictures will never be published - even if they are examples of some of the best portraiture I've ever done? No! It's worth to protect my son and it's worth it to protect ALL children.

    It's kinda like driving a car and obeying the speed limit... Driving is something that I happen to be good at. I would be thrilled if our lawmakers, in their infinite wisdom, would pass a law stating that if you can pass a specialized driving test, you can drive as fast as you want. Are they going to do that? No! Because there are enough folks driving around with their head's shoved where the sun doesn't shine that regardless of my driving ability, my fast speed would be a danger to others. Are my rights infringed upon because I have to obey traffic laws? Heck yeah! But I get over it because it is for the greater good.

    So, call me a goody-two-shoes, right wing conservative moralist, prude... your choice. Judging by what goes on in this world on a daily basis, I think it's about darn time more people started taking the moral high ground.
     
  23. garryl

    garryl Member

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    So if they pass a law that, because any nudity is a turn on to perverts, that ALL
    art that shows a nake child has to be burned- are you going to take the "moral high ground" , walk into the museums ,and strike the first match?
     
  24. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    This is one of the few "civilized" countries where nudity is considered sexual.

    All those nutballs expelled from Europe a few hundred years ago are still haunting us.

    In repressed societies where any female public display of skin is banned there are undoubtedly people whacking off to the inadvertant display of an ankle.

    Due to this religious fetish of being afraid of our bodies perhaps that is where the fear is generated from.

    A small minority of people are wired to sexualize children. Should everyone be punished or censored because of this tiny group.


    Michael
     
  25. haris

    haris Guest

    I allways wander how companies like Pampers or Johnson Johnson don't get in trouble for theire TV commercials in which adults applying baby oil on naked babies or babies walking around naked only wearing diapers. And nobody accuse those companies for paedophilia. But i belive those companies have enough money and power(law or political) to avoid accusations, and it is easier to attack individual artist (painter or photographer) than powerfull companies...

    And what about child labour, I mean using children in movies, fashion business, political campaigns? How nobody protest against misusing children in labour. I mean, if it is forbiden working for child under let say 15 years, how you can have 10 years old child as actor(tress) in move or commercial, or when polititian kiss a child on bilboard in olitical campaign. Isn't that child labour and misusing? And if it is, are we talking about double standards...

    How 13 years old naked girl on David Hamilton's photograph is indecency or paedophilia and 1 year old naked child in arms of also naked 20 years old female actress in TV commercial for baby oil or shampoo is not?