Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 9:27 pm

Does it? I don't accept that. I accept that, to you, that connection probably exists. But take an image of a newborn infant. Nude. Exquisitely and discreetly illuminated. Sensual? Quite likely. Sexual? Probably not.


lol not accepting it is not important really. its just quite simply the definition in this context. you can accept it or not. thats up to you. in the context of describing a naked female form in particular, the english language uses the term "sensual" as a description of sesory arousal...normally sexual.

the naked baby example again is just not applicable. who describes a naked newborn as sensual ? never heard that term used to describe a naked child. not ever. not in any circles, not on the net, not in ral life, not in any media. not anywhere. sorry mate, i know you've harped on about me making generalistaions in my post but i cant interview every person in australia and ask for their views on this but i think i could safely say that describing a newborn naked in a photo as "sensual" is very, very, very rare indeed.

That would probably say more about the absence of emotional maturity on the part of the husband (or wife) than anything else. I know lots of ladies to whom I would happily make such a comment. In the presence of their partner, and also in the presence of mine. Hell, I even know a couple of guys to whom I might even make such a comment.


operating words being you "know" them. ie: there is a clear understanding between the individuals in the scenario and everyone understand the context its being used in. this is no different to the argument against using the term "wog". and you saying...hey i know some guys who have no problem with me calling them a "wog" so that makes it ok to use the term to any wog i come across. sorry mate, doesnt work that way.

I think much of this also derives from the levels of emotional maturity we may have attained. How defensive are we about certain things? One thing that I've observed is that many males are very insecure, and very defensive, when there is absolutely no need to be so. This is very true for males from their mid to late teens through to the late forties, and frequently well beyond. Females are are far less insecure in that regard. It is those insecurities in the male that lead to the sort of reactions that you describe; those are reactions that are absent from my repertoire.


i've read this a couple of times and wondered what your getting at. to me it reads..."chris you are an emotinally immature, insecure man, while i am a mature, wise man." ...i'll just leave that alone for the moment.

You're saying that they do; I have never said any such thing. I am highlighting that they might, nothing more.


lol no, i'm just addressing your point that the fact a neck can be arousing or sensual or whatever is not a bad thing neither is it important to the discussion. you raised it cos i assume its a defense that some people might find necks arousing...everyone's different, everyone has different interpretations. well yeah...so ? it gets back gain to the age of the individuals.

What is "underage" ?


clearly, underage is under 18.

Again, it is you that is doing the interpretation here.


that is not an interpretation.

Are you qualified to talk on behalf of the whole of Australia's population? If not ...


yes. lol :mrgreen:

And let's take, for a moment, your comment comparing sex and pornography: what about a couple - married or not - who might videotape themselves engaging in sex. They may then later view that recording for ... who knows what for? Who cares? Is that pornography? What if they use that for their own arousal; is that pornography? What if they share that with some friends, as some may do? Is that porn? Who am I to pass judgment on that? I'm certainly not qualified to do so; are you?


yes, by definition it is pornography. i'm not judging it AT ALL. as long as its between consenting adults, knock yourself out. i could care less. neither would i have cared less if these were photos of adults.

Well, no. Not all, and not at all.


lol well, no, you;re right there are no absolutes in this world. no need to be pedantic. but seriously. if walking into someones home we saw a photo of mom and dad with their 12yo son and 15 yo daughter stark naked, i would imagine that the VAST majority of people living in this country would be thinking WTF ??? come on mate. you;re being argumentative here, i think YOU know that aswell.

Why Nigeria? Why not South Africa? What about Sweden?


being a little pedantic again. the country itself i included isnt really important. what is relevant is the point that different countries have differnet cultures, differnt customs and differnt interpretations of what is and is not socially acceptable. so yes, it could be sth africa or sweden...again...who cares what country you use as an example ? lets say uzbekehstan.

Yes I see sensuality, but not sexuality. That is my assessment. That is me, exercising my judgment. I have no issues with that, and I have no issues with you exercising your judgment. And if that means that you come to a different end point, I have no issues with that. But it seems that if I come to a different endpoint, you might have issues with that. Is that problematic for you? If so, why? If not, then what, exactly, is the issue that you have ?


while the live and let live concept is admirable, it is unfortunately not applicable in any society. what is acceptable to gary stark is irrelvant at this point. what's relevant is what is the law ? the law for the most part, being based on what society's viewpoints and expected standards are. what i';m asking you is when would this have been considered sexual instead of sensual ? what would the photograph have had to portray to change it from sensual to sexual ?

All of which are set by, to use your own words, "the judgment of individuals". Or is parliament no longer comprised of indiviuduals?


yes, they are individuals...and.... ???

But it is precisely the point. Avoiding it doesn't make it go away. :)


i'm not avoiding it at all. (like you have avoided the censorship discussion ;)) i've answered it several times and you just skirt around the issue. you either dont understand it, dont accept it or dont agree with it. i dont see we're gonna get much result out of that...we just agree to disagree.

And therein lies a very serious problem: how in the world do you feel you are able to even offer a comment on a subject, the content of which you now admit you have zero experience of? Zero experience of Henson's work - which is the subject of this thread - surely brings your credibility in this topic to ... zero.

Sorry, I'm not trying to flame you here, but really ...


flaming me ? no. i dont think so becasue my knowledege of hensons work is completely irrelevent. i wasnt commenting on his body of work as a whole nor on him as a person. i;m commenting on THIS work that i have seen. why do i need to know about his last 15 years ? how will that better able me to assess what my values are and whether or not i think children depicted naked in this way is unacceptable ? it doesnt make one iota of difference if i've known his work for 5 minutes or 5 decades. please advise how knowledge of his work for the last 15 years is important in this discussion.

Serious problem #2: journalists are there to report the stories, not to be the story. Self interest needs to be declared, regardless of the realm. Journalistic integrity needs to be maintained, and in this instance, I don't see that this has occurred.


i dont know the reporter. never heard of him/ her. never seen him/ her. i dont see the connection. i saw the pictures, i got the facts about the ages. i made my assessement and that assessment had nothing to do with the reporter.

sorry...didnt answer the rest cos it wsa just argumentative and didnt really lend itself to exploring this debate.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 9:44 pm

Just two points

Rooz wrote:
And therein lies a very serious problem: how in the world do you feel you are able to even offer a comment on a subject, the content of which you now admit you have zero experience of? Zero experience of Henson's work - which is the subject of this thread - surely brings your credibility in this topic to ... zero.

Sorry, I'm not trying to flame you here, but really ...


flaming me ? no. i dont think so becasue my knowledege of hensons work is completely irrelevent.


Let's see ... the thread's subject is "Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down" and you claim that your (lack of) knowledge of Henson's work is irrelevant?

That is the funniest thing I've seen all day.


Serious problem #2: journalists are there to report the stories, not to be the story. Self interest needs to be declared, regardless of the realm. Journalistic integrity needs to be maintained, and in this instance, I don't see that this has occurred.


i dont know the reporter. never heard of him/ her. never seen him/ her. i dont see the connection. i saw the pictures, i got the facts about the ages. i made my assessement and that assessment had nothing to do with the reporter.


The whole fuss was started because of a column in yesterday's SMH by Miranda Devine. It is likely that none of this would have occurred had she not written of her concerns. That is the connection.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 9:56 pm

Let's see ... the thread's subject is "Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down" and you claim that your (lack of) knowledge of Henson's work is irrelevant? That is the funniest thing I've seen all day.


why is it relevant ? how would it help me making a judgement photos of naked children ? the artist is not important in the slightest. they could have said Mr X and i would have the same reaction. if anything, those who know his last 15years are less iekly to be able to make a judgement becasue they have formed opinions over a long period of time that could sway their better judgment. anyway...has nothing to do with the other.

The whole fuss was started because of a column in yesterday's SMH by Miranda Devine. It is likely that none of this would have occurred had she not written of her concerns. That is the connection.


so what ? are you saying if it wasnt "exposed" it wouldnt be an issue ? if i speed down the freeway and i dont get caught...was i not speeding ? lol i got news for ya mate, if a bear shits in the woods and no-one sees it...the bear still shat in the woods. lol
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Fri May 23, 2008 10:21 pm

Gary, why don’t you go into politics as you seem to have an answer for everything without actually defining anything. 8)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Mitchell on Fri May 23, 2008 11:21 pm

I saw the photos before they took down the site and I don't think they were sexual at all.

It is a shame that our society is at the situation where such beautiful photos are immediately viewed through a prism of child pornography.

Having said that, I think the biggest issue is that there is no way a 12 year old can give properly informed consent for photos like these to be publicly displayed.

The only option for Henson should have been to take the photos with the consent of the girl and her parents, and then not display them until the model is of an age where she can make the decision of whether she wants them to be exhibited to the general public.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Geoff on Fri May 23, 2008 11:22 pm

Hahahaha.....I have indeed opened a can of worms :)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Pehpsi on Fri May 23, 2008 11:39 pm

Kids that young shouldn't be getting their kit off..
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Sat May 24, 2008 12:03 am

gstark wrote:
Reschsmooth wrote:1. (I meant to comment on this before) As far as I am aware, the exhibition HAD to be closed down if it is under police investigation for the potential commission of a crime.


Wouldn't that be the purpose of an injunction?

Certainly, I have no issues with the closing down of the exhibition if a crime has been proven to have been committed.

As you can see, that's a very big if, :) and with all due respect to Alan, we have more than enough examples of the constabulary getting things wrong that gives me little confidence in their ability to get this one right.

IIRC, way back in 1969, they tried to close down the musical HAIR. Very similar arguments were proferred, with full frontal nudity, alleged under age participants ...

And perhaps in a similar confidence-inspiring vein, we have the farcical efforts of security at APEC last year. The legality of The Chaser's efforts there have yet to be tested, but there still doesnlt seem to be a very strong case against the boys.


Sorry Gary, but I have to disagree with these points.

Firstly, and I say this with no knowledge of criminal law or police protocol, but I would have thought that this may constitute a potential crime scene. As such, removing it from public access would be required. I could be wrong on this.

Secondly, with respect to citing the APEC situation, it is your opinion (probably shared by many, including myself) that it was farcical. That doesn't mean that it was unlawful by the police.

If it is deemed to be child porn, then anyone who subsequently viewed it could be deemed to have committed a crime of viewing kiddy porn.


That, too, is a big if.

And why is it porn today, when he's been doing this for so long? Nothing has changed within his work, so why is yesterday's work art, but today's porn?


I am not in a position to answer this as I have not seen his previous work. Does inaction in the past indemnify it from being unlawful? Or, perhaps there are different community standards today (which we may choose to disagree with)?

2. I think we can all agree that "underage" means under the age of consent. I can not imagine someone would consider a different interpretation.


If we are to apply the under age standards, consider that the model for David was 15, and Juliet (as in Romeo and) was about 12. Surely then, both of those works of art must be considered in a similar light?


I have not condoned nor condemned either work. One might say, again, that different community standards applied at the origination of this work. Who knows, in 100 years time, Henson's work today might be regarded in a completely different light.

3. I have no understanding to what extent the children had any say in being photographed. If it was solely the parents' direction and consent, that would disturb me enormously.


I would like to think that the model was articulate and pretentious enough to speak openly with her family about this, and that the family was able to discuss this fully and frankly, including the future implications that might ensue.

We have no knowledge of this, and ultimately, that is as it should be: it's none of our damn business!


With all due respect, you are quick to condemn police actions based on assumption, and defend Henson's actions based on assumption. What if we assume the police based their actions on clear guidelines and Henson had no such consent from the model(s), only their parents. To say "model (who is/are apparently 12 & 13)...articulate...with her family" may be a stretch? :D :D

3. At the end of the day, we are talking about one's values and the ability for someone else or another entity to control expressing that value. Art should be no different to any other activity. Let us say that it is within my value system to detain my daughter for 24 years, impregnate her 7 times and then detain 3 of her children. It is within my value system that this is permissable. Obviously, it is not the lawmakers' opinion. Should I be allowed to do this even if the community considers it immoral?


While I see what you're saying, I don't see the connection. What your describing has, IMHO, much more serious overtones, and could not be described in any way as being artistic.

In the realm of the legality, which is the point you're making, there is a huge gap between what might be acceptable as art, as distinct from what might be acceptable as actions.


So there should be a distinct statute of limitations applied to art? What if the hypothetical person (and it is obvious to whom I was referring) was conducting an "artful experiment on the effects of detainment on an individual over a protracted period"?

So an artful snuff movie is ok, if with the victim's voluntary consent? So we are saying, without doubt, that pornography is not art? If I take a photo of a woman masturbating with the intent of expressing the "sensuality" :twisted: involved, that this is art, but if I take the same picture to post on a porn site, it is not and therefore different values should be applied? If the answer is yes, then I will shut up. :D

At the end of the day, I believe we live in a community, and part of being a community is sharing values. Some of us may consider these values weird, wrong, too rigid, too loose, etc.

We are entitled to our opinion on our own value system. Sometimes what the community's boundarys needs to be pushed, defined, restricted and completely dissolved.


And often, that is the purpose of art.
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And only art? I wonder if the creators of rotten.com are artists or something else.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Sat May 24, 2008 12:05 am

Geoff wrote:Hahahaha.....I have indeed opened a can of worms :)


You did, Geoff, but debate like this is needed. And as per many others conducted on this forum, there has been no flaming or trolling, it has all been done civilly, which is testament to the members (and, yes, even the admin!).
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Sat May 24, 2008 12:27 am

For God’s sake everyone, they are kid(s) and should not be shown in public in this state of undress :evil: I’m reminded of that great 10CC song ‘Art for Art’s Sake’ - in this case the art is just bollocks (no pun intended)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby whitey on Sat May 24, 2008 2:31 am

Jeez guys, one of the shots of a young girl that I saw was pretty ordinary. As a father I wonder wtf her parents were thinking letting her do that.

Its fine to have some artistic freedom - but that doesnt mean its open season.

And Geoff, I am not sure you can justify some of Hensons photos by comparing them to Anne Geddes :shock:
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Murray Foote on Sat May 24, 2008 3:12 am

This is the sort of issue that invites clear-cut opinions that find it difficult to allow for an alternative. Nonetheless, I think that one of the most significant factors here is the point of societal reference. The context would be quite different in a rigid theocracy on the one hand, or say certain sectors of French society of the early eighteenth century on the other. This can vary not merely between societies and time periods but within societies and the debate itself even has the potential to change the social context. I also think that societal opinions are often not as well defined or as immutable as is often assumed.

I remember in I think 1968 seeing a film of James Joyce's Ulysses, in black and white. It was shown to separate showings of segregated audiences, segregated by gender. There were two reasons for this. One was a scene where Leopold Bloom rolls around in the tussocks with a young woman, the other was another scene that showed him in bed with his wife. I don't remember it very clearly; there was probably some nudity involved but not much, nothing that would raise an eyebrow today and I don't recall there being anything particuarly lascivious about the bedroom scene. What was so sensitive at that time was the very prospect of depicting sexual relations in any way on the screen. Moreover, this was in New Zealand, much more liberal at that time than Australia it seems. In Australia they just banned the film outright.

Morality itself can change and quite quickly at times. Individual freedom of choice is not an absolute and only exists within the social context of the times. Seeing something as potentially outside the bounds of a perceived moral context of society is one thing; another possibility is that some things may appear as normal but the society itself might arguably be lacking in morality; and both dualities can exist in the same place at the same time.

As to whether the images were inappropriate or the actions of the Police were appropriate, I feel I lack the information to form an opinion and even if I had that information I don't know whether my reaction would be clear-cut or ambivalent. Certainly though, I don't subscribe to the view that the actions of the Police were appropriate (or for that matter inappropriate) simply because they were the actions of the Police.

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sat May 24, 2008 4:19 am

Should I be drawn into this thread? Of course not! So here it goes...

I feel quite offended by some of what I read, mostly by the righteousness exhibited and the moral high ground taken by some. I'd just like to reply to a few snippets if I may...

And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive?

No, thankfully the final arbitrator in matters of artistic merit is the Prime Minister:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told Channel Nine the photos are revolting. "Whatever the artistic merits of that sort of stuff, frankly I don't think there are any."

God bless Australia!

We must all remember that art is subjective and as such we each have to make our own decisions on what we classify as inappropriate.

Precisely! The folks who seized the photographs obviously disagree, though. They reckon they can make that call on behalf of everybody else.

The latest news on the matter show police officers giving interviews, and mentioning that charges may be laid relating to indecency of some kind. They did not mention child pornography at all which, as they must have realised during the hours passed, is way too far a stretch.

breastfeeding is a necessity to feed a child. [...]but the point is that the intent of a photo of a mother breastfeeding in 99.99% of situations is not done to create any arousal other than maternal instinct.

There we have it, the core of the controversy. Some natural things are deemed natural, whereas others are not. So let's say the intent of a pornographic photo is not to create any arousal other than sexual. Is that a good defense of pornography? You've got to admit that our sexual instincts are as vital to the survival of the species as the maternal ones.

Somewhere along the way from humans to modern humans we've managed to entrap ourselves in a moral cage that serves no purpose and has no basis. Don't get me wrong, other moral cages we've erected do serve useful purposes, the rejection of harming or killing other people for example. But our own sexuality, the very cradle of our lives?

I don't blame the artist, it's the parents who are sick!

You are implying that the parents were complicit in exploiting their children. Like, the artist offered a tidy sum of money and they agreed to let their children be photographed. Is that the only way it could have happened? Maybe parents and models were involved in the creative process, maybe the photographer explained his vision and goals and got parents and models to participate in his project? We have no idea. So lets jump on the bandwagon, give it a twist and call the parents, not the artist, sick.

the publicity would surely drive those sickos to the gallery and then that would surely be exploitative and wrong to carry on the display imho.

I disagree. The harm of child pornography (which I suppose is what you mean when you say exploitative) does not lie in the drooling of the pervs but in the making of the material. This is where children get hurt and harmed and this is why child porn should be illegal. This unfortunately is also where our own law gets it utterly wrong when it's pushing some agenda of "offensiveness to reasonable persons". Who cares whether they'd be offended, it's not meant for them and they don't need to look at it. What the law fails to spell out is the protection of the children themselves. That's where the focus should be. Every time a piece of child porn is produced a kid is most likely harmed, physically or psychologically. Playing the offensiveness card puts you right in the same ballpark as the people who find female faces in public offensive. I don't know under what circumstances the text of the law was passed, but images of parliamentarians half asleep in the house at 1am or still dizzy from sniffing their female colleagues' seats come to mind. But, they're our moral standard-bearers and we have to respect the laws they lay upon us...

Kids that young shouldn't be getting their kit off..

Kids that young? Kids are born with their kit off. At what age does a child's body become offensively unsightly? When I grew up kids were always naked at the beach. Clothes were for adults.

What I find vastly more disturbing is the indoctrination my kids suffer at school, when they come home and refer to their own genitalia as "rude bits". This is some serious damage being done there that will take time and effort to undo.

For God’s sake everyone, they are kid(s) and should not be shown in public in this state of undress

Sorry I can't see any basis for that, or any logic in it. I would agree though that some people's bodies (mine included) are better kept under wraps... ;) Anyone who feels discomforted about the kind of gallery pictures shown in the news yesterday should seriously consider their own humanity and moral corset. The few snippets I have seen were definitely not repulsive. And those worried about certain individuals "getting off" on pictures of naked kids should be reminded that even though this predisposition is met with the full force of the criminal law it is still a mental disorder and should receive treatment and counselling not punishment.

To paraphrase a famous TV show, "pedophiles and terrorists attacked our imagination - now our imagination runs wild".

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby NewbieD70 on Sat May 24, 2008 8:44 am

From the censored images I saw on the news, they certainly did not look as if they had any sexual theme to them. But I`m guessing that the bloke that took them, and the gallery, must have realised they were going to get a reaction, probably just not quite as severe as whats happened. You only have to look now at being a parent and trying to take some photos at a sports carnival, there has been such a overkill in what society will put up with, you cant even take shots of your own kids fully clothed.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Sat May 24, 2008 10:10 am

Steffen wrote:
We must all remember that art is subjective and as such we each have to make our own decisions on what we classify as inappropriate.

Precisely! The folks who seized the photographs obviously disagree, though. They reckon they can make that call on behalf of everybody else.


No,the laws have made that call on behalf of everyone, it is the police officers' role to determine whether the images are in breach of that law.

But, I think I understand now. The words "obsene" & "indecent" should be abolished from the dictionary as it relates to the art world. So, the idea that I can have a willing victim for a snuff movie is ok, as long as it is art. The concept of "murder" should not apply as this is art.

Somewhere along the way from humans to modern humans we've managed to entrap ourselves in a moral cage that serves no purpose and has no basis. Don't get me wrong, other moral cages we've erected do serve useful purposes, the rejection of harming or killing other people for example. But our own sexuality, the very cradle of our lives?


So, there it is, it has been definitively decreed that the children models have not nor will they be harmed. 12 & 13 year olds, it appears, know exactly the community and personal impact of depicting nudity and exposure of "rude bits" for those under the prescribed age.

Or, does harming and killing only relate to the physical, thus differentiating a physically abusive husband from a verbally and phsychologically abusive husband. So, that adult woman in the US who, it is alleged, denigrated a 13 or 14 year old girl via an online "community" to the point where the girl committed suicide, did no harm?

I don't blame the artist, it's the parents who are sick!

You are implying that the parents were complicit in exploiting their children. Like, the artist offered a tidy sum of money and they agreed to let their children be photographed. Is that the only way it could have happened? Maybe parents and models were involved in the creative process, maybe the photographer explained his vision and goals and got parents and models to participate in his project? We have no idea. So lets jump on the bandwagon, give it a twist and call the parents, not the artist, sick.


Some, on here, will make assumptions against the parents, and others will make defensive assumptions - it is human nature, I believe, to make assumptions for the purpose of forming judgements.

This unfortunately is also where our own law gets it utterly wrong when it's pushing some agenda of "offensiveness to reasonable persons". Who cares whether they'd be offended, it's not meant for them and they don't need to look at it. What the law fails to spell out is the protection of the children themselves. That's where the focus should be. Every time a piece of child porn is produced a kid is most likely harmed, physically or psychologically. Playing the offensiveness card puts you right in the same ballpark as the people who find female faces in public offensive. I don't know under what circumstances the text of the law was passed, but images of parliamentarians half asleep in the house at 1am or still dizzy from sniffing their female colleagues' seats come to mind. But, they're our moral standard-bearers and we have to respect the laws they lay upon us...


Alrighty then, we should abolish any concepts of indecency and obsenity if no-one is being harmed. If my child is made fully aware of the concepts of sexuality, etc (based on who's judgement of this awareness), then what goes on in my home is no-one's business as the child is not being harmed. As long as I call it "art".

Kids that young shouldn't be getting their kit off..

Kids that young? Kids are born with their kit off. At what age does a child's body become offensively unsightly? When I grew up kids were always naked at the beach. Clothes were for adults.


I think the comparison is disingenuous as we are talking about children who are adolescents or approaching adolescence (and therefore beginning to or fully understanding the concept of sexuality) compared to toddlers, etc, at the beach who would have no concept of "rude bits". Perhaps I am being to presumptuous about your experiences.

What I find vastly more disturbing is the indoctrination my kids suffer at school, when they come home and refer to their own genitalia as "rude bits". This is some serious damage being done there that will take time and effort to undo.


Why is that wrong? Unless what you are saying is that genitalia is no more special than a hand, etc.

For God’s sake everyone, they are kid(s) and should not be shown in public in this state of undress

Sorry I can't see any basis for that, or any logic in it. I would agree though that some people's bodies (mine included) are better kept under wraps... ;) Anyone who feels discomforted about the kind of gallery pictures shown in the news yesterday should seriously consider their own humanity and moral corset. The few snippets I have seen were definitely not repulsive. And those worried about certain individuals "getting off" on pictures of naked kids should be reminded that even though this predisposition is met with the full force of the criminal law it is still a mental disorder and should receive treatment and counselling not punishment.


So, again, perhaps we should repeal any laws relating to offences for public nudity? Should we not have the right to disrobe in public. Take it one step further, should we not have the right to have sex in public? Why do these laws exist? Are they a product of some arbitrary community moral standard which should be abolished?

To paraphrase a famous TV show, "pedophiles and terrorists attacked our imagination - now our imagination runs wild".
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But, I think I understand it now:

1. No-one should be able to oppress my values if it is in the context of "art" (however that is defined) and it is in private.
2. The idea of values and moral standards is wrong as long as no-one is being harmed (however that is defined).

I am now enlightened.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Sat May 24, 2008 10:12 am

I feel quite offended by some of what I read, mostly by the righteousness exhibited and the moral high ground taken by some...


so to clarify...pictures of naked children in these sorts of poses is INoffensive "art" yet someone that disagrees with your point of view is offensive ? let me ask you now what is more self righteous ?

There we have it, the core of the controversy. Some natural things are deemed natural, whereas others are not.


THAT's the controversy ? lol. how so ? you are correct that some things are deemed natural and others are not. again, thats the society we live in. if you dont like the values of that society then that is your right but its no good closing your eyes to the fact that they exist. urinating is also natural but we dont see people pee-ing in the local park. why ?cos our society, of which you are a part, find that behaviour offensive.

So let's say the intent of a pornographic photo is not to create any arousal other than sexual. Is that a good defense of pornography? You've got to admit that our sexual instincts are as vital to the survival of the species as the maternal ones


you and gary are both trying to squirm your way out of the debate and sidetrack the issues by using these types of references to try and portray the opposing argument as against sex, or porn etc. this is NOT about sex. this is NOT about porn. this is about the ages of the models. nothing more. so please, this arguement needs to be put to bed. (no pun intended. :lol: )

Somewhere along the way from humans to modern humans we've managed to entrap ourselves in a moral cage that serves no purpose and has no basis. Don't get me wrong, other moral cages we've erected do serve useful purposes, the rejection of harming or killing other people for example.


oh my...the hyporcacy of this...so who decides what moral cages entrap us and what moral cages serve a useful purpose ? does that get to be you ? good idea, then you can say the moral cages that entrap us are erected by the self righteous and the moral cages that are useful are erected by the real smart guys like you. lol

But our own sexuality, the very cradle of our lives?


Again, please dont confuse the issue by being disengenuous. if you are going to debate the issue then debate the issue at hand without the melodrama. the issue at hand is not sexuality in itself. the issue at hand is the use of underage models for that particualr purpose.

Kids that young? Kids are born with their kit off. At what age does a child's body become offensively unsightly? When I grew up kids were always naked at the beach. Clothes were for adults.


Yoi are again being disengenuous to the debate. kids born with their gear off first of all is hardly a choice. women have enough to do in labour without having to give birth to an Osh Kosh wardrobe at the same time. secondly, a newborn can hardly be declared sexual, sensual or any other such reference. it is quite simply a baby. you example of the beach argues the point AGAINST this quite well actually. yes kids are naked at the beach, many still are. but i doubt that they would still be naked when the girl has formed beasts and starts to enter an age of puberty. sorry, but that didnt happen in any age. there does come a time when kids are clothed. thats our societies standards.

What I find vastly more disturbing is the indoctrination my kids suffer at school, when they come home and refer to their own genitalia as "rude bits". This is some serious damage being done there that will take time and effort to undo.


serious damage ? come on.

To paraphrase a famous TV show, "pedophiles and terrorists attacked our imagination - now our imagination runs wild".


correct. no arguement. again, thats the society in which we live. unfortunate in some cases sure, but a reality nonetheless.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby whitey on Sat May 24, 2008 11:42 am

So can we justify anything by saying "its art"? Seems like someone could crap on a plate - call it a deconstructive vision of post modernist radicalist society and people will line up and clap? At the end of the day its still a crap on a plate though. Just like at the end of the day these are just photos of underage kids.

Well thats my opinion anyway and thats what Geoff asked for :cheers:

Disclaimer: There was only one photo I really didnt like, its now not available to link to. The rest seemed fine and I am sure they are "art"
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Raskill on Sat May 24, 2008 12:23 pm

2. I think we can all agree that "underage" means under the age of consent. I can not imagine someone would consider a different interpretation.


'Underage', as far as producing child pornography, means under the age of 18. Age of consent for heterosexual relationships is 16.

I'm getting dizzy running in circles with this discussion. Some of use believe that children of any age should be photographed in the nude, sensually, sexually, or in any other way, and we should all be able to make the decision to view them ourselves, rightly or wrongly, without State intervention.

Others believe that the State has the responsibility to protect children from such use matters, and sets moral standard at a level they see as necessary, rightly or wrongly believing that in order to protect children, criminal laws and censorship needs to be applied.

I guess I can't get past the point that children need protecting, and I'm sure everyone agrees. So, an arbitary age (based on what our law makers determined in their 'wisdom') of 18 is applied to a person being able to make the decision to appear nude. In leiu of their ability to make that decision, a parent may also act on their behalf, and sign a contract stating they give permssion for their child to appear naked.

But where does that responsibility end? Without appropriate laws, including censorship, some parents would allow their children to appear in decidely untasteful pornography (in the sense we all would understand and agree on). Unfortunately not all parents care for their children. By allowing those images to be produced and distributed without any form of censorship creates a market, and like a fire, that market needs to be fed more and more images. So for every child pornography' image we can easily find on the net exists an abused child, that at 12 years of age was unable to have any say, or understand, the consequences of what they are being put through.

That is why these laws exist, that is why we have censorship and that is why the Police are looking at these images with a view to prosecuting. And why did the Police shut the exhibition down? Because based on the laws of THIS State, they had reasonable cause to believe an offence had been committed. How did they come to that conclusion? Based on their interpretation of existing legislation, quite likely after seeking legal advice from the prosecutions unit. Not by judging the images using their own moral compass and deciding to 'wing it'.

Comparing their decision to close this exhibition, and possibly err on the side of caution, is hardly the same as the 'Chasers' stunt at APEC. They were arrested at the scene after breaching a security cordon. It is not proceeding to court based on legal argument. Police on the scene had just minutes to make a decision, it has taken months of legal argument to decide their decision was flawed. Try it, make a decision you think is right with seconds to act, then have a group of 20+ people pour over it and see if it was 100% right.

Perhaps Police should NEVER prosecute anyone found in possesion of even the most horrendous child pornography as it might be considered 'art'. That is the logical conclusion to the argument that Police should do nothing in this case. Someone raping a 2 year old girl might be considered 'fine art' by someone out there, as long as the image is moodily lit and b&w. No need to prosecute or censor such images, the public can be trusted to 'look away' if it offends them.

If Henson is found to have NOT committed an offence, then the exhibition will reopen and will have many many more people through the door, and he will not have any criminal conviction.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sat May 24, 2008 12:42 pm

Reschsmooth wrote:But, I think I understand now. The words "obsene" & "indecent" should be abolished from the dictionary as it relates to the art world. So, the idea that I can have a willing victim for a snuff movie is ok, as long as it is art. The concept of "murder" should not apply as this is art.

My goodness, what is it with you and snuff movies? We are talking about the display of naked human bodies in an art gallery, not about killing people.

So, there it is, it has been definitively decreed that the children models have not nor will they be harmed.

No, this has not been determined. But is there even a reason to make such an assumption?

Or, does harming and killing only relate to the physical, thus differentiating a physically abusive husband from a verbally and phsychologically abusive husband.

No. As I wrote at another spot, harm can be of physical and psychological nature.

So, that adult woman in the US who, it is alleged, denigrated a 13 or 14 year old girl via an online "community" to the point where the girl committed suicide, did no harm?

Are you saying the models in these photographs are prone to suicide now, or will take away psychological scars?

Alrighty then, we should abolish any concepts of indecency and obsenity if no-one is being harmed. If my child is made fully aware of the concepts of sexuality, etc (based on who's judgement of this awareness), then what goes on in my home is no-one's business as the child is not being harmed. As long as I call it "art".

I'm not sure what you're getting at there. The concepts of (in)decency and obscenity do play a meaningful role and should not be abolished. They just don't spring to mind for me at the sight of naked human bodies (or images thereof).

I think the comparison is disingenuous as we are talking about children who are adolescents or approaching adolescence (and therefore beginning to or fully understanding the concept of sexuality) compared to toddlers

How are adolescents going to fully understand the concept of sexuality if they're told that their bodies are taboo and that there's something wrong with them?

What I find vastly more disturbing is the indoctrination my kids suffer at school, when they come home and refer to their own genitalia as "rude bits". This is some serious damage being done there that will take time and effort to undo.

Why is that wrong? Unless what you are saying is that genitalia is no more special than a hand, etc.

It wrong because it harms the sexual and psychological development of the child. Puberty is confusing enough as it is and kids often find it hard to come to grips with the changes happening to their bodies. Why would you burden the child with a notion that their genitalia are something to be ashamed of?

So, again, perhaps we should repeal any laws relating to offences for public nudity? Should we not have the right to disrobe in public. Take it one step further, should we not have the right to have sex in public?

Sure, kid, bath water...

Why do these laws exist? Are they a product of some arbitrary community moral standard which should be abolished?

That is a very good question, this is what we should be discussing. In examining and understanding what we really need laws and moral standards for and what they are supposed to achieve we may be able to apply them in a sensible, not hysterical way.

But, I think I understand it now:
1. No-one should be able to oppress my values if it is in the context of "art" (however that is defined) and it is in private.
2. The idea of values and moral standards is wrong as long as no-one is being harmed (however that is defined).

I'm afraid you didn't understand at all.

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sat May 24, 2008 1:17 pm

Rooz wrote:so to clarify...pictures of naked children in these sorts of poses is INoffensive "art" yet someone that disagrees with your point of view is offensive ? let me ask you now what is more self righteous ?

No, I didn't call the pictures art, or defended their artistic merit. I haven't seen them for goodness' sake. I'm also not offended by people disagreeing with me. I'm offended by people pouring their outdated moral convictions like a thick goop over everything they don't understand or are afraid of. And claiming the higher moral ground while doing it.

THAT's the controversy ? lol. how so ? you are correct that some things are deemed natural and others are not. again, thats the society we live in. if you dont like the values of that society then that is your right but its no good closing your eyes to the fact that they exist.

Values is probably the wrong word here. Is disliking images of naked teenagers a value? How about respect for others and appreciation of the human body? These sound more like values to me.

urinating is also natural but we dont see people pee-ing in the local park. why ?cos our society, of which you are a part, find that behaviour offensive.

Urinating just about anywhere is frowned upon, morally. However, in contrast to the frowning about naked bodies, this moral standard actually has a practical basis and is therefore defendable: it's unhygienic and potentially harmful to others to spread urine (or excrement) out amongst where people live.

you and gary are both trying to squirm your way out of the debate

Why would I do that? I just squirmed into it.

and sidetrack the issues by using these types of references to try and portray the opposing argument as against sex, or porn etc. this is NOT about sex. this is NOT about porn. this is about the ages of the models. nothing more. so please, this arguement needs to be put to bed. (no pun intended. :lol: )

I understand that it is about age. But I reject the notion that the human body is repulsive or obscene at any age (usual disclaimers about some individuals, e.g. me, apply).

oh my...the hyporcacy of this...so who decides what moral cages entrap us and what moral cages serve a useful purpose ? does that get to be you?

No, we can only do that together as a society. In order to do this we need to understand why we have those standards, where they came from and what we need them for, i.e. what we expect them to do for us. This is in fact happening all the time. Just look at the morals of say 100 years ago. We've come a long way, and have a long way to go.

good idea, then you can say the moral cages that entrap us are erected by the self righteous and the moral cages that are useful are erected by the real smart guys like you. lol

You don't make my argument go away by attacking me. Moral standards are not erected by individuals, however they are defended or questioned by individuals.

Again, please dont confuse the issue by being disengenuous. if you are going to debate the issue then debate the issue at hand without the melodrama. the issue at hand is not sexuality in itself. the issue at hand is the use of underage models for that particualr purpose.

What exactly is that particular purpose? Have you discovered one yet? The exhibition hasn't even been shown.

Yoi are again being disengenuous to the debate. kids born with their gear off first of all is hardly a choice. women have enough to do in labour without having to give birth to an Osh Kosh wardrobe at the same time. secondly, a newborn can hardly be declared sexual, sensual or any other such reference. it is quite simply a baby. you example of the beach argues the point AGAINST this quite well actually. yes kids are naked at the beach, many still are. but i doubt that they would still be naked when the girl has formed beasts and starts to enter an age of puberty.

So, in your opinion, is that the point where the human body starts becoming obscene? And when teenagers stop being under-age, their bodies are suddenly beautiful again?

As we grow up we develop a sense of shame or shyness and actually prefer to cover up our bodies. This is especially true during puberty. Now, teenagers like expressing themselves by doing things that are "out there". But for those models to drop their robes in front of a camera is very bold and courageous, and quite a statement. Come to think of it, those images are probably meant for other kids at a similar age more than anyone else. They might actually help other kids coming to terms with their own budding sexuality. By telling them that there is *nothing* wrong with their bodies, despite what the moralist preachers are telling them!

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Sat May 24, 2008 1:45 pm

Raskill wrote:
2. I think we can all agree that "underage" means under the age of consent. I can not imagine someone would consider a different interpretation.


'Underage', as far as producing child pornography, means under the age of 18. Age of consent for heterosexual relationships is 16.

I'm getting dizzy running in circles with this discussion. Some of use believe that children of any age should be photographed in the nude, sensually, sexually, or in any other way, and we should all be able to make the decision to view them ourselves, rightly or wrongly, without State intervention.

Others believe that the State has the responsibility to protect children from such use matters, and sets moral standard at a level they see as necessary, rightly or wrongly believing that in order to protect children, criminal laws and censorship needs to be applied.

I guess I can't get past the point that children need protecting, and I'm sure everyone agrees. So, an arbitary age (based on what our law makers determined in their 'wisdom') of 18 is applied to a person being able to make the decision to appear nude. In leiu of their ability to make that decision, a parent may also act on their behalf, and sign a contract stating they give permssion for their child to appear naked.

But where does that responsibility end? Without appropriate laws, including censorship, some parents would allow their children to appear in decidely untasteful pornography (in the sense we all would understand and agree on). Unfortunately not all parents care for their children. By allowing those images to be produced and distributed without any form of censorship creates a market, and like a fire, that market needs to be fed more and more images. So for every child pornography' image we can easily find on the net exists an abused child, that at 12 years of age was unable to have any say, or understand, the consequences of what they are being put through.

That is why these laws exist, that is why we have censorship and that is why the Police are looking at these images with a view to prosecuting. And why did the Police shut the exhibition down? Because based on the laws of THIS State, they had reasonable cause to believe an offence had been committed. How did they come to that conclusion? Based on their interpretation of existing legislation, quite likely after seeking legal advice from the prosecutions unit. Not by judging the images using their own moral compass and deciding to 'wing it'.

Comparing their decision to close this exhibition, and possibly err on the side of caution, is hardly the same as the 'Chasers' stunt at APEC. They were arrested at the scene after breaching a security cordon. It is not proceeding to court based on legal argument. Police on the scene had just minutes to make a decision, it has taken months of legal argument to decide their decision was flawed. Try it, make a decision you think is right with seconds to act, then have a group of 20+ people pour over it and see if it was 100% right.

Perhaps Police should NEVER prosecute anyone found in possesion of even the most horrendous child pornography as it might be considered 'art'. That is the logical conclusion to the argument that Police should do nothing in this case. Someone raping a 2 year old girl might be considered 'fine art' by someone out there, as long as the image is moodily lit and b&w. No need to prosecute or censor such images, the public can be trusted to 'look away' if it offends them.

If Henson is found to have NOT committed an offence, then the exhibition will reopen and will have many many more people through the door, and he will not have any criminal conviction.


A lucid and IMO accurate interpretation of how we should all view this affair.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Nnnnsic on Sat May 24, 2008 2:53 pm

Wow... I'd love to get into this topic but the only free time I have is on the weekends when I'm usually doing other stuff so I'll make my comments and then ignore everyone else like I normally do.

This is one of the most ridiculous things I've heard in the news all year. This isn't coming close to the "let's repeat that Heath Ledger is indeed dead and we will be mourning him so" stories but might be passing the "Corey is a dingbat" story quite soon.

As a photographer who used to work at the gallery in question as the web manager, I can tell you that the images aren't anything new for Henson. This sort of work has been a part of his repertoire for a long while now.

For those who didn't have the foresight to look at a concept of art, allow me to be an ass an explain it to you: it's called naturist photography. This isn't exactly new, and for a lesson in history, please research the following (if you're going to get your backs up about this): David Hamilton, Sally Mann, and Jock Sturges to name but a few.

Now I happen to like a lot of their photography. I don't look at the nudity and go "oh, well that's a child there" but instead look at the photography as a whole... as that's what photography is. An image, not an element. Sure, you can break up a photo over analysis by looking at individual elements, but a photo is not about singular elements. It is a collection bringing to the point an understanding about something - anything - and if you're hung up on Bill Henson's nudity you're not looking at the images or getting the point.

Which in turn brings me to this point:
If I like the work of Sally Mann or Jock Sturges and I own a book, am I able to be convicted of a crime?

The works are art. They're not porn. Which leads me to my next point because what I love about this entire pointless thing is that people are calling Henson's work pornography. As a connoisseur of porn, let me just fill those of you in who don't know what porn is. Porn is not "nudity" unless you're talking specifically about "softcore porn" which no porn lover would ever consider porn.

Porn is about sex. Occasionally control but by and large sex as a whole.

If I am naked, I am not pornographic. I am merely naked.

Nudity is nudity. It is a naked form and unless you're going to start drawing parallels between heading to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and seeing painted pornography, you're looking at the wrong idea.

I won't deny that there are photographers who indulge in pornographic photography, but just because you take a picture of a person in their naked flesh does not mean that you're taking a picture of something pornographic. And age is irrelevant in that.

If I am 24 and I am naked and only naked in the act than I am just as un-pornographic as a 12 year old accomplishing the same act of standing in the nude.

Now, let's take a look at that Crimes Act someone posted earlier in the thread.

"child pornography" means material that depicts or describes, in a manner that would in all the circumstances cause offence to reasonable persons, a person under (or apparently under) the age of 16 years:

(a) engaged in sexual activity, or
(b) in a sexual context, or
(c) as the victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse (whether or not in a sexual context).


A child naked not engaged in sexual activity is not porn. The models in the Henson imagery are not engaged in sexual activity. That's point A. They're not point C as that doesn't really match Henson's subjects.

Point B is the one that people are stuck on and it's this whole "sexual context" some of you seem to have issues with. And that's fine, you're welcome to your opinion.

I personally like Henson's imagery for the whimsy of innocence, but I'd hardly call that a "sexual context". But that's just me. You're welcome to interpret it how you want.

However I hardly see it as a means to say "arrest that man, fine him, pull down his work" or anything that removes an artistic perception from my eyes without giving me the choice.

This is censorship in a pure and simple form. A lot of us get our backs up when we hear that the OFLC have banned games or movies or even books... and here's a question... are those of you who got pissed about the banning of Ken Park or Baise Moi or maybe an unedited copy of Grand Theft Auto IV among the people complaining against Bill Henson now? Because shit... that might be seen as a level of hypocrisy.

For what it's worth, I have had a good laugh at some of the things people in the media have been saying about the Henson issue over the past couple of days.

This one is particularly funny. Ms Hetty Johnston from Bravehearts said that "even art should be classified."

You've got to love the image that that presents: a whole bunch of artists lining up at the OFLC offices with their money in hand and someone looking over their abstract sculptures, their phallic representations, their photos of anything and everything, painting of love and torture... while three individuals stand there debating over the entire thing and handing out G, PG, M, MA15+, R18+ and X ratings to artists.

This just in! Every digital camera will be forced to include a ratings monitor that will automatically scan over every image you take and look for a naked breast. If one is found, you will be issued with a rating then and there on the spot so you can actually show it to friends or stick it on your site. "The follow image of my hot girlfriend is rated MA15+; we'll try harder next time for an R rating as the OFLC doesn't like us much today." That sort of thing.

And this gets better as why only classify art when we can classify literature to the point of understanding the relationships between characters! Hey, wasn't Juliet underage in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet? Surely that should be classed as illegal as a romantically linked character was under age.

This comment from the art life on the issue was amusing too (used below, so you don't have to click):
Code: Select all
It is a good idea for the show to be re-hung. With all my due respect for Bill Henson, this show might attract pedophiles "in disguise", or more so some wannabe "photographer/pedophiles" might do the same later, defending themselves by saying "Henson has done it, why can't I?"


Sod it. Let's ban the beaches while we're at it. We let our kids swim or stand around naked and there might be a paedophile there!

Seriously... someone can't tell me that this whole thing is just a tad too Orwellian for belief?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Sat May 24, 2008 3:15 pm

And this gets better as why only classify art when we can classify literature to the point of understanding the relationships between characters! Hey, wasn't Juliet underage in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet? Surely that should be classed as illegal as a romantically linked character was under age.


In the original play Juliet was played by a man :wink:
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Nnnnsic on Sat May 24, 2008 3:33 pm

But was written for a girl, and that was for a completely different reason to my point still stands. :P
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Sat May 24, 2008 3:49 pm

I can tell you that the images aren't anything new for Henson. This sort of work has been a part of his repertoire for a long while now.


that doesnt make it any better or worse. it doesnt effect the outcome at all. if are speedign and get caught. you cant very well say "this has been a part of my repertoire for a long time now so its ok" sorry that argument doesnt hold water.

For those who didn't have the foresight to look at a concept of art, allow me to be an ass an explain it to you: it's called naturist photography. This isn't exactly new, and for a lesson in history, please research the following (if you're going to get your backs up about this): David Hamilton, Sally Mann, and Jock Sturges to name but a few.


i looked at those links and when there are underage children photographed there were also the same allegations of child pornography. so this shouldnt be a surprise then. just becasue it has a name and a reference, doesnt make it right either. i'm sure there are plenty of things you could link to saying that its nothing new...so what ?

if you're hung up on Bill Henson's nudity you're not looking at the images or getting the point.


well that kind of flies in the face of the argument that art is in the eye of the beholder doesnt it ?

The works are art.


again, this goes back to the concept of "art" what is art to some is not to others. just labelling something as "art" is not free licence to do whatever the hell you want.

They're not porn. Which leads me to my next point because what I love about this entire pointless thing is that people are calling Henson's work pornography. As a connoisseur of porn, let me just fill those of you in who don't know what porn is. Porn is not "nudity" unless you're talking specifically about "softcore porn" which no porn lover would ever consider porn.


lol i too sir am a connoisseuer. :lol: the issue of naked children cannot be pigeonholed into pornography as depicted by Jenna et al. it is more complex than that i'm afraid.

Porn is about sex. Occasionally control but by and large sex as a whole.


yes, it is. does a 12 or 13yo have control over this ? are they mature enough to be making those decisions ? according to our laws...no, they are not. and who's to say that the images arent about sex ? personally i think they are at worst sexualising a child and at best for hanson, provocative in a sexual way.

If I am naked, I am not pornographic. I am merely naked. Nudity is nudity. It is a naked form and unless you're going to start drawing parallels between heading to the Art Gallery of New South Wales and seeing painted pornography, you're looking at the wrong idea.


not exactly. a penthouse centrefold is porn is it not ? and this again brings us to the redundant argument many seem to be using that this is somehow an attack on nudity or pornography. it is not. it is an attack on children being depicted in what many seem to view as a sexually charged images.

I won't deny that there are photographers who indulge in pornographic photography, but just because you take a picture of a person in their naked flesh does not mean that you're taking a picture of something pornographic. And age is irrelevant in that.


it is absolutely relevant given the context of the photo.

Now, let's take a look at that Crimes Act someone posted earlier in the thread. Point B is the one that people are stuck on and it's this whole "sexual context" some of you seem to have issues with. And that's fine, you're welcome to your opinion.


thank you.

I personally like Henson's imagery for the whimsy of innocence, but I'd hardly call that a "sexual context". But that's just me. You're welcome to interpret it how you want. However I hardly see it as a means to say "arrest that man, fine him, pull down his work" or anything that removes an artistic perception from my eyes without giving me the choice.


cant have your cake and eat it mate. sorry. if you acknowledge that people can view it as "B" and those who make that interpretation happen to be the police and the courts, (aswell as what seems to be overwhelming public opinion), then it breaks the law in which case, you wont have a choice. if they are guilt of B then they must be removed and you will not be able to make your opinions by viewing them. thats the way the law works.

This is censorship in a pure and simple form. A lot of us get our backs up when we hear that the OFLC have banned games or movies or even books... and here's a question... are those of you who got pissed about the banning of Ken Park or Baise Moi or maybe an unedited copy of Grand Theft Auto IV among the people complaining against Bill Henson now? Because shit... that might be seen as a level of hypocrisy.


yes, it is. censorship happens all the time in every society. thats life. thats the world we live in.

Sod it. Let's ban the beaches while we're at it.


yes, this type of exaggeeration and alarmism can work the other way aswell. sod it, lets allow photos of 9yo's having sex with old men. if we make it B&W and use some fancy filters...we can call it art and say we have a right to free speech.

We let our kids swim or stand around naked and there might be a paedophile there!


dunno about you, but over my way, we dont see 13yo girls swimming naked. they tend to get put in clothes well before that age. so again, another alarmist irrelevant example shot down. :up:

this has been an interesting debate. i have the greatest amount of respect for people that can hotly debate topics as controversial as this without too much drama. thanks to all who participated. even though y'all are WRONG. :twisted: :cheers: :lol:
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Sat May 24, 2008 4:07 pm

I haven't seen them for goodness' sake. I'm also not offended by people disagreeing with me. I'm offended by people pouring their outdated moral convictions like a thick goop over everything they don't understand or are afraid of. And claiming the higher moral ground while doing it.


:roll:

Values is probably the wrong word here. Is disliking images of naked teenagers a value? How about respect for others and appreciation of the human body? These sound more like values to me.


sorry whats the point ?

Urinating just about anywhere is frowned upon, morally. However, in contrast to the frowning about naked bodies, this moral standard actually has a practical basis and is therefore defendable: it's unhygienic and potentially harmful to others to spread urine (or excrement) out amongst where people live.


and the argument here is that these tyoes of images of underage kids are potentially harmful to the kids. not just THESE kids but kids as a whole.

Why would I do that? I just squirmed into it.


ys but your skirting around it. you are arguing about nudity and sex and porn amongst adults. no one here takes issue with that. so stick to the point. the point is, they are underage.

I understand that it is about age. But I reject the notion that the human body is repulsive or obscene at any age (usual disclaimers about some individuals, e.g. me, apply).


i didnt say the body was repulsive. but i find the idea that a child can be depicted in a sexual way replusive and obscene.

No, we can only do that together as a society. In order to do this we need to understand why we have those standards, where they came from and what we need them for, i.e. what we expect them to do for us. This is in fact happening all the time. Just look at the morals of say 100 years ago. We've come a long way, and have a long way to go.


agreed, so you must then accept, (while may not agree with), the fact that RIGHT NOW in THIS time in THIS community these sort of images are deemed unacceptable.

You don't make my argument go away by attacking me. Moral standards are not erected by individuals, however they are defended or questioned by individuals.


you dont have an argument so there was nothing to go away in the first place. :lol: moral standards and community behaviours are determined by the wider community. so refer above. right now the community is saying "we dont accept this". you have the right to say you dont agree with that positon.

What exactly is that particular purpose? Have you discovered one yet? The exhibition hasn't even been shown.


i have seen the images. they wernt pulled off the website immediately. what i saw showed underage kids depicted in a sexual manner. thats just my opinion. that was the context i saw them in.

So, in your opinion, is that the point where the human body starts becoming obscene? And when teenagers stop being under-age, their bodies are suddenly beautiful again?


i never said the body was obscene. what does that have to do with it anyway ? i dont think sex is obscene either, nor do i think going to the pub having a beer is obscene. that doesnt mean i dont mind a 13yo indulging in those activities.

As we grow up we develop a sense of shame or shyness and actually prefer to cover up our bodies. This is especially true during puberty. Now, teenagers like expressing themselves by doing things that are "out there". But for those models to drop their robes in front of a camera is very bold and courageous, and quite a statement.


shame...modesty...call it what you will. thats our society. thats in fact pretty much most wetern societies. bold and courageous ? why so ? i dont think they have the capacity to understand what it all means right now or what it will mean when they are much older.

Come to think of it, those images are probably meant for other kids at a similar age more than anyone else.


what utter rot. sorry to be so direct but thats just rubbish.

They might actually help other kids coming to terms with their own budding sexuality.


whoa there big fella...i thought these had nothing to do with sexuality ?? the only argument FOR these images going ahead is the fact that some believe they are NOT linked to sexuality. gary and Nnsic for example are saying, "look these dont have a sexual connotation at all." thats an argument i can respect if not agree with. you on the other hand are actually linking it to sexuality and saying thats ok for a 13yo. sorry mate, but youve just sunk your debate and if you were a defence lawyer Mr Hanson would now be enjoying Long Bay where perhaps the inmates may treat him to "art" as they see it.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Sat May 24, 2008 4:11 pm

Nnnnsic wrote:But was written for a girl, and that was for a completely different reason to my point still stands. :P



Sorry Leigh, I do find your point irrelevant as it does not pertain to this discussion.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Sat May 24, 2008 5:11 pm

My goodness, what is it with you and snuff movies? We are talking about the display of naked human bodies in an art gallery, not about killing people.


There is nothing with me and snuff movies – never seen one, never hope to. My point was that, by looking at extreme forms of “art”, if it so be called, we may find a limit where everyone’s values are "attacked" (sorry, couldn't think of a better word, but the context is apparent) by that form of “art”. There is a point where the person at the end of the “values” spectrum will find something of artistic value but everyone else will find it indecent. Should we not have any boundaries or do we leave it to that last person in the line?

So, there it is, it has been definitively decreed that the children models have not nor will they be harmed.

No, this has not been determined. But is there even a reason to make such an assumption?


Wow, attack any assumption I may make, but feel free to make your own? As in…

Come to think of it, those images are probably meant for other kids at a similar age more than anyone else.


I do not participate in asymmetric debates such as this!

So, that adult woman in the US who, it is alleged, denigrated a 13 or 14 year old girl via an online "community" to the point where the girl committed suicide, did no harm?

Are you saying the models in these photographs are prone to suicide now…


Oh, come on. I expect logic to be applied here.

Alrighty then, we should abolish any concepts of indecency and obsenity if no-one is being harmed. If my child is made fully aware of the concepts of sexuality, etc (based on who's judgement of this awareness), then what goes on in my home is no-one's business as the child is not being harmed. As long as I call it "art".

I'm not sure what you're getting at there. The concepts of (in)decency and obscenity do play a meaningful role and should not be abolished. They just don't spring to mind for me at the sight of naked human bodies (or images thereof).


And you are entitled to that opinion and I may not agree with it, but that is hardly the point here. No-one on this thread has tried to quash someone-else’s right to their opinion.

I think the comparison is disingenuous as we are talking about children who are adolescents or approaching adolescence (and therefore beginning to or fully understanding the concept of sexuality) compared to toddlers

How are adolescents going to fully understand the concept of sexuality if they're told that their bodies are taboo and that there's something wrong with them?


I don’t see your point and I never said that a child has something wrong with them. I request you don’t put words in my mouth.

It wrong because it harms the sexual and psychological development of the child. Puberty is confusing enough as it is and kids often find it hard to come to grips with the changes happening to their bodies. Why would you burden the child with a notion that their genitalia are something to be ashamed of?


Ok, I may have misunderstood the ages to which you suggested kids where referring to their “rude bits”. I assumed (wrong on my part) that you were referring to kids of, say 5-10.

So, again, perhaps we should repeal any laws relating to offences for public nudity? Should we not have the right to disrobe in public. Take it one step further, should we not have the right to have sex in public?

Sure, kid, bath water...


Well, can’t defend myself against that one, can I? :)

Why do these laws exist? Are they a product of some arbitrary community moral standard which should be abolished?

That is a very good question, this is what we should be discussing. In examining and understanding what we really need laws and moral standards for and what they are supposed to achieve we may be able to apply them in a sensible, not hysterical way.


I agree, Steffen

But, I think I understand it now:
1. No-one should be able to oppress my values if it is in the context of "art" (however that is defined) and it is in private.
2. The idea of values and moral standards is wrong as long as no-one is being harmed (however that is defined).

I'm afraid you didn't understand at all.


Wow – I am wrong cause you said so. Where’s the naughty chair?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Nigell on Sat May 24, 2008 9:28 pm

Well as someone who teaches Media at uni of which one of the topics covered it Pornography. I guess I can comment on this one.


People have divided porn vs art in two ways. Porn is base and is use primarily to all allow the viewer to "get off", while art allows for the viewer to see beyond just the image. Now the problem with that is that porn can be art and art can be porn depending on how you choose to view the image. When something is labeled "porn" by "the establishment" is primary reason for doing so is to deny the larger audience an avenue for viewing pleasure. It becomes a high (knowing and understanding) culture Vs a low (kept in the dark and on a lead) culture. Henson as a photographer (and lets not forget that photography itself is often seen as a mass audiences mode of expression, and therefor a danger to the larger low culture audience) has managed to bridge a gap between the cultural elite and the mass audience. As such, his work comes under more scrutiny; he becomes a danger to the cultural elite by allowing the masses an avenue for seeing and understanding high cultural art and as such it challenges high cultures power over the cultural masses.

Henson is concerned with light and darkness. The subject becomes away of expressing that, its designed to provoke a response, to challenge the viewer on what they are seeing. His images art not "child porn" at all, they are images which ask us, sometimes what we fear and other times how we see the role of children within society (as opposed to the reality of what children do), in other words his images provoke and emotional response. He offers us a window and sometimes what we see we don't like. He does not always shoot children, indeed some of his shot challenge the very nature of what we see as photographic art. When first seeing a Henson most people are struck but the ordinaryness of it. That "snapshot blurry image" we throw away. And yet the longer you look the more it seems to make sense. Henson's art is something which challenges both the cultural elite and the cultural masses by redefining what art might be and by allowing a larger audience to understand what art is. That is always going to be something which ends up being controversial.

Re: censorship. It is only illegal if there is no artistic merit to the image or film. If there is artistic merit, then it can be seen shown. This was what happened to "Baise Moi" which, despite having real sex and simulated violence (which is illegal) was granted a R classification because it was deemed to have artistic merit. This was overturned later by 3 (yep 3) wowsers who challenged the ruling (which anyone can do) and since they held sway with the government at the time Families First, the government changed the censorship board panel to include those more "in line" with government thought. Thus the film was banned. Sad but true. Again it becomes a High Vs Low culture thing.

Hopefully that wasn't too academic.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby blacknstormy on Sat May 24, 2008 10:30 pm

mmm..... 'artist' .....
just because someone is a 'well known artist' doesn't mean that what they do is moral, or legal, or 'right', or as far as I'm concerned even 'art'.
Guillermo Vargas is an 'artist' who tied a dog up in an art gallery and let it starve to death - no water, no food, no bedding - but it was 'art'.
I'm sorry, but I think I have little time for some 'artists' - and in this case, little time for Bill Henson, even if he is an 'artist' - to me exploitation is not art :(
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sun May 25, 2008 12:49 am

Alright, by now we'd all have realised that a tit-for-tat isn't leading us anywhere. Can I just ask a decisive question then?

Assumption: The models in the Bill Henson exhibition were not coerced, or sold out by their parents, to pose for the shots in question.
(if this assumption doesn't hold then obviously an offence has been committed)

Question: If displaying images of naked babies and naked adults is acceptable, why is displaying images of naked adolescents to be condemned?
(please no answers along the lines of "because it is against the law')

And for bonus points, what is the merit in staunchly upholding the law, given that the law is always a carry-over from past generations and is always lagging behind developments in science, society and technology?

Cheers
Steffen. PS I just remembered to add that besides my own argument I also support the anti-censorship argument. I have no problem with people living out their bigotry on their own time as long as they don't impinge on my right to keep my eyes peeled.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Sun May 25, 2008 1:05 am

Steffen wrote:Alright, by now we'd all have realised that a tit-for-tat isn't leading us anywhere. Can I just ask a decisive question then?

Assumption: The models in the Bill Henson exhibition were not coerced, or sold out by their parents, to pose for the shots in question.
(if this assumption doesn't hold then obviously an offence has been committed)

Question: If displaying images of naked babies and naked adults is acceptable, why is displaying images of naked adolescents to be condemned?
(please no answers along the lines of "because it is against the law')

And for bonus points, what is the merit in staunchly upholding the law, given that the law is always a carry-over from past generations and is always lagging behind developments in science, society and technology?

Cheers
Steffen.


Point 1: If they (the models) were NOT coerced (by Henson) or sold out (by the parents) then Henson is still morally wrong for exhibiting photos of under age children

Point 2: Naked adults have reached the age of consent. I have not seen a naked baby exhibited in years

Point 3: Although the law can be an ass it is something that we have to follow to keep society on an even keel. We do not have to agree with every law but to say that laws lag behind science, technology and society is only a personal viewpoint of yourself. The funny thing is that I remember from my days as a scientist those little things like, Boyles Law, Ohms Law, et al - strange how they are all appended with the word ‘Law’ 8)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sun May 25, 2008 1:18 am

sirhc55 wrote:Henson is still morally wrong for exhibiting photos of under age children

How do you figure that? This is the point people keep making with no explanation.

Point 2: Naked adults have reached the age of consent. I have not seen a naked baby exhibited in years

I have, on this very forum even.

Point 3: Although the law can be an ass it is something that we have to follow to keep society on an even keel. We do not have to agree with every law but to say that laws lag behind science, technology and society is only a personal viewpoint of yourself. The funny thing is that I remember from my days as a scientist those little things like, Boyles Law, Ohms Law, et al - strange how they are all appended with the word ‘Law’ 8)


I was referring to legal laws, not laws of science (for which I have a lot more reverence, incidentally)

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Mitchell on Sun May 25, 2008 1:49 am

Steffen wrote:
sirhc55 wrote:Henson is still morally wrong for exhibiting photos of under age children

How do you figure that? This is the point people keep making with no explanation.


The explanation is that this is a 12 year old girl who has nude photos exhibited of her without her consent. It is morally wrong to do this without her consent. I don't think she is capable of consenting at the age of 12. Age 16 perhaps (although the actually age is debatable).

As I said before: if the photos were taken at age 12 and she was now 18 and consented to exhibiting the photos, I could see no problem.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sun May 25, 2008 2:09 am

Mitchell wrote:
Steffen wrote:
sirhc55 wrote:Henson is still morally wrong for exhibiting photos of under age children

How do you figure that? This is the point people keep making with no explanation.


The explanation is that this is a 12 year old girl who has nude photos exhibited of her without her consent. It is morally wrong to do this without her consent. I don't think she is capable of consenting at the age of 12. Age 16 perhaps (although the actually age is debatable).

Thank you Mitchell for adding substance to the debate. This is indeed a valid point to consider. The models' parents' consent doesn't really count because it's not about them anyway.

What is the capacity of a 12yo to judge the ups and downs of having their nude photo exhibited?

First, we'd have to establish what the ups and downs (from a mature informed person's point of view) would be. Then, we'd have to assess the teen's capability of making their own judgement in those terms.

Two worthwhile questions to ponder.

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Sun May 25, 2008 2:44 am

Thank you Mitchell for adding substance to the debate. This is indeed a valid point to consider. The models' parents' consent doesn't really count because it's not about them anyway.

What is the capacity of a 12yo to judge the ups and downs of having their nude photo exhibited?

First, we'd have to establish what the ups and downs (from a mature informed person's point of view) would be. Then, we'd have to assess the teen's capability of making their own judgement in those terms.

Two worthwhile questions to ponder.


Mitchel does indeed have a very valid point but then you go on to say that the parents consent doesn’t really count etc. OK, if the model is indeed aged 18 at the present time I agree but up to that age the consent of the parents’ is indeed valid. For example, you have a child and their school offers a trip to Bali, from what you have stated the child can just go because it is not about the parents - that’s absolute rubbish. The school asks the parents for their consent. Personally I do not believe that a 12 year old has the maturity to determine the positives and negatives of exposing their bodies to public view and I’m pretty sure that many 40 year olds have the same problem 8)

The last point you make is impossible to determine. I’m 63 years old and I have made as many mistakes in my life as I have made the right decisions. Mature, yes by age, informed, daily and still learning but there is only one thing I really know for sure - one day I will be dead.

2nd sentence 3rd para is a contradiction in terms of your statement in 1st para 3rd sentence 8)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Sun May 25, 2008 3:08 am

sirhc55 wrote:but then you go on to say that the parents consent doesn’t really count etc. OK, if the model is indeed aged 18 at the present time I agree but up to that age the consent of the parents’ is indeed valid. For example, you have a child and their school offers a trip to Bali, from what you have stated the child can just go because it is not about the parents - that’s absolute rubbish.

Read carefully (and I probably wasn't making myself clear enough). I didn't imply parents shouldn't be required to consent to their kids actions, just that their consent (as in: approval) doesn't mean much because it could have been bought for money. By that I was playing to the opposing argument's position that the parents probably have been "sick" to give consent. I did not mean to imply that parent consent was irrelevant, but rather that it was, once given, not sufficient. Parents' veto would have obviously stopped the exhibition in its tracks.

The last point you make is impossible to determine. I’m 63 years old and I have made as many mistakes in my life as I have made the right decisions. Mature, yes by age, informed, daily and still learning but there is only one thing I really know for sure - one day I will be dead.

Again, I should have tried to be more clear. I wasn't questioning anybodies maturity or age. I was just trying to get agreement - from a mature and informed point of view - what the ups and downs of exhibiting a 12yo's nude images would be. From there we could have debated in how far the child would have been able to assess those ups and downs.

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Sun May 25, 2008 9:59 am

Steffen wrote:Alright, by now we'd all have realised that a tit-for-tat isn't leading us anywhere. Can I just ask a decisive question then?

Assumption: The models in the Bill Henson exhibition were not coerced, or sold out by their parents, to pose for the shots in question.
(if this assumption doesn't hold then obviously an offence has been committed)

Question: If displaying images of naked babies and naked adults is acceptable, why is displaying images of naked adolescents to be condemned?
(please no answers along the lines of "because it is against the law')

And for bonus points, what is the merit in staunchly upholding the law, given that the law is always a carry-over from past generations and is always lagging behind developments in science, society and technology?

Cheers
Steffen.


1. It is hardly decisive. It is a question based on one set of many, many possible assumptions. Why don't we assume investors are rational? :D We are not in high school (on this forum, anyway).
2. For an attempt at the bonus point - a law exists in a different realm to opinion, etc (albeit the interpretation of law is subject to opinions, but that is different). THe progress you refer to forms part of the basis for changing that law. Don't forget, some laws, I am sure, are instituted or amended on the basis of scientific development which I expect many of us would agree are regressive (the laws, that is). An example would be specific laws governing the use of advanced surveillence technology and laws governing the use of information gained from that technology. Development does not equal progress. Discuss.
3. If I was to answer based on your assumptions, do we assume that the children, whilst consenting to having their photos taken whilst naked, completely understood: the relevance of why laws exist for miners as different to adults; why the concept of nudity (in public*) is both subject to laws and debate; why it is generally considered necessary to at least cover parts of our body whilst in public, particularly for children; more. Do we assume that the children fully understood these issues before they gave their consent? Do we think they needed to? In my mind, this is an important issue to this debate. Others may not agree, and that is fine.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Spooky on Mon May 26, 2008 7:17 am

Whether it is art or not is subjective but here this issue is irrelevant anyway. If the police believe the law has been broken they investigate, seize evidence and lay charges, it's up to the courts to decide if the guy is guilty or not. Whether he is an artist or plumber does not matter.

I will not give a personal opinion on the actual images as I have not seen them all.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Raskill on Mon May 26, 2008 12:12 pm

I'm surprised that this debate has failed to raise this issue:

The girl is 12.

Lets put it in context, most of the time her naked body is covered by her PRIMARY SCHOOL uniform.

So, if you think it's appropriate, stand in front of a primary school and look at 12 year old girls coming out and imagine them naked. Does it still feel like art?

Now, imagine your 12 year old daughter/neice/grand daughter having someone looking at them wondering what they look like nude. Does it still feel like art?

Stand in front of the school and look at these children long enough, until someone asks what your doing. Tell them, your just wondering what the children look like naked. When you regain consciousness, does it still feel like art?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby norbs on Mon May 26, 2008 1:03 pm

Mitchell wrote:I saw the photos before they took down the site and I don't think they were sexual at all.

It is a shame that our society is at the situation where such beautiful photos are immediately viewed through a prism of child pornography.

Having said that, I think the biggest issue is that there is no way a 12 year old can give properly informed consent for photos like these to be publicly displayed.

The only option for Henson should have been to take the photos with the consent of the girl and her parents, and then not display them until the model is of an age where she can make the decision of whether she wants them to be exhibited to the general public.


Perfectly summed up imho.

I think it is funny how the art elite talk of the marketing people as the spawn of Satan, yet back Henson to the hilt!
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Nigell on Mon May 26, 2008 1:30 pm

Mitchell's point is a good one. Its also quite fair.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Steffen on Mon May 26, 2008 1:31 pm

Raskill wrote:I'm surprised that this debate has failed to raise this issue:

The girl is 12.

I believe this fact has had plenty of mentioning.

Lets put it in context, most of the time her naked body is covered by her PRIMARY SCHOOL uniform.

I think you'll find that most 12yo's are in high school. My son is in year 6 of primary school and he's 11. When he starts high school next year he'll still be 11.

I believe that the kind of school the children are attending is completely irrelevant to the debate, just like this entire point you're trying to make.

I also believe I have said everything I wanted to say. I'll withdraw from this thread now and give it back to the prudes, philistines and morally supreme.

Cheers
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Viz on Mon May 26, 2008 2:07 pm

Sorry for the late entry - but I wish to join the fray!

I was prepared to attend the opening that night, and knew for some time from an insider that there was serious heat building regarding the exhibition.

I was personally surprised by the restraint shown in the images, when I saw them, after all of the hype. Henson has shocked me far more in the past. I think that these images are (ironically, I know) clearly about ambiguity and places the onus on the viewer to form a decision as to their value as art.

As for marketing etc... I chilled regularly by children's fashion labels producing billboards with children in pouty 'sexual' poses that mimic hypersexual film clips etc. but all with plausible deniability because it is 'implied sexuality'. I find that far more disturbing than these particular images.

That said, I would never in my right mind take images of a 12 or 13 year old girl naked, however innocent the premise... it is just too much for our current threshold of societal taboos.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby bwhinnen on Mon May 26, 2008 2:16 pm

All I can say is wow! What a long thread this has become.

I can't really comment as I've not seen any of the work in question, and to be quite honest the works described here in are not what I'd call my cup of tea, but that is purely my opinion and I will not deny others their own.

What amuses me is that the Police have started an investigation, elements of the Government and public are up in arms, and yet the Newspaper will still print a photo of Bill Henson standing in front of one of his works of what looks to be a young topless person of the female persuasion! I don't hear people up in arms at the media outlet for showing such an image...

Whilst I understand the art, this specific subject matter is not one I find interest or respect in, so I suppose my opinion in this matter is I don't like the exhibition, but had it not been raised here I would never have known about it nor cared about it taking place. There are a great deal of comments that can be made from that last statement as well.

As a parent, would I let my 12 year old son or daughter pose for this sort of work, No, but if I was found this sort of art appealing I dare say I might say yes. In this case I don't, and my son will stayed clothed unless he is being a total prat and one of his mates gets him until he is an adult :) In fact I am very careful about what sort of photos get taken of him (such as him running around naked, except for his sneakers he has decided he must wear, or early bath photos of him, or the first time he made a soap bubble beard in the bath etc)... Not because I think them sexual or pornographic in nature, but because of what others may thing the intentions are, some more material for you about public acceptance if you want...

Some interesting responses here and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the debate thus far.

Brett (not a prude by the way)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Greg B on Mon May 26, 2008 3:22 pm

Great to see Photography getting some serious discussion in the media, albeit somewhat immoderate.

The talk back radio people would be positively frothing at the mouth over this one!! And Andrew Bolt in
the Herald Sun (filthy rag) will be having kittens :D

I would just like to make two quick points.

Depictions of naked children have adorned art for ever (cherubs anyone?)

And I don't think it is a simple matter of porn or art. There is a world of space in between for reasonable
consideration.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby PiroStitch on Mon May 26, 2008 3:28 pm

Just look up flickr or your other web sharing photosites for examples. IMHO and AFAIK (there's a good one), paedophilia doesn't discriminate against a victim's age or does it? I'm not one and I've never spoken to one before, so if you can enlighten me on this, it would be good. Criminals don't discriminate against the age of their victims, so I'm guessing the same applies.

Quick flick on Flickr - Example 1

Example 2

Should they put a ban on these photos as well? Or is it out of our jurisdiction?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby dawesy on Mon May 26, 2008 3:31 pm

Fire, meet Fuel:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/arts/model-doesnt-regret-posing-for-picture/2008/05/25/1211653846181.html

I am not expressing any opinions either way as I don't see how I can form any without going and viewing the work, but there has been much discussion about the subjects of the images so it only seems appropriate to hear from one.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Viz on Mon May 26, 2008 3:49 pm

Greg B wrote:Great to see Photography getting some serious discussion in the media

It is a healthy shake-up and upheaval and reappraisal, but the conservatism coming from the top is a little unsettling if you extrapolate possible implications for Australian artists.

It is probably just my desire to be paranoid, but these events have worried me on a purely symbolic level... something about 'Un-Australian Art'...
I will now go back to my alfoil hat and CB radio, searching for links between fluorine in the water and brain control.

And I don't think it is a simple matter of porn or art. There is a world of space in between for reasonable consideration.[/quote]
Well put.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Mon May 26, 2008 4:09 pm

Steffen wrote:I also believe I have said everything I wanted to say. I'll withdraw from this thread now and give it back to the prudes, philistines and morally supreme.


How wonderfully elitist and hypocritical. Does this come from a line of thought that says "if you don't agree with me you must be stupid?". Very bloody pathetic indeed. Your arguments have now lost a lot of credibility with me, but that wouldn't matter seeing as how I am a philistine. Anyway, moving on...

Wayne, with all due respect, I think it has been well discussed and agreed that there is a significant difference between a baby's/toddler's body and that of an adolescent. I could be wrong. :D
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