One of the problems with Charles Dodgsen is that he was a very successful writer and quite famous even during his lifetime - yet he was very private and reserved. He gave few interviews, most of his letters and diaries were destroyed. Biographers and journalists have had little to go on. Consequently, they have had a pretty big vacuum to fill - and some of them seem to have had fun filling it.

Karoline Leach wrote a book about Dodgsen where she argues his life story has been misrepresented and distorted over the years and she asserts that many of the things some people believe to be true about him are without foundation. This includes the allegations of paedophilia.

As for the pictures - he apparently took over 3000 plates and about half of then survive. Out of these five of them were of nude girls (allegedly there was a sixth, which did not survive). As a percentage of his work it doesn't seem so unusual. Julia Margaret Cameron photographed a lot more children, including nudes, as did most contemporary photographers of this period. It appears to have just been an accepted style of 'art' photograph at the time.

Frank Meadow Sutcliffe not only photographed little boys naked - but he was ex-communicated for it.
Without knowing the full story the gut reaction from someone used to reading headlines in today's tabloids may be to assume he was a paedophile with a liking for little boys.

The reality is the photographs were of boys in Whitby harbour swimming (The picture is called 'The Water Rats', 1886). The kids swam naked (no swimming costumes in those days and living in families that might be well over a dozen members, in perhaps two rooms, probably had a very difference sense of modesty and privacy anyway). The local clergy objected to the photograph because they believed it was inappropriate to allow ladies to see male nudity! The images fit in with Sutcliffes body of work of documenting life around Whitby in the late 19th century and no one has ever accused him of paedophilia, to my knowledge.

Many other photographers have included child nudes in their work right up until fairly recently. Wynn Bullock took quite a few (usually his own daughters) as part of his landscapes ('Innocent child in wild landscape' type things).

I doubt whether many would want to do it now, for fear of finger pointing

I think we can make a big mistake by retrospectively applying current anti-paedophilia hysteria to the past.