Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

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Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Geoff on Fri May 23, 2008 9:36 am

After the opening night of famous photographer Bill Henson's exhibition has been closed down as it has been deemed 'inappropriate' and 'pornographic'. This is sensorship gone completely overboard. The story can be read here.

Child exploitation? Your kidding! What about Anne Geddes shots??

This is art, nothing more, nothing less.

I'd be interested to read people's thoughts.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 9:47 am

Some people need to learn that porn is what's in their minds.

Henson's work might be confronting, but isn't that a purpose of art?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby ATJ on Fri May 23, 2008 9:49 am

Geoff,

I haven't seen the photographs in question so I can't really say if I believe it is art or pornography. However, based on the fact that it was shut down by the police on the grounds it is "child pornography" does not make this censorship, in my opinion. The police believe a crime has been committed and are investigating.

If it turns out to be deemed "child pornography", Bill Henson could be in serious trouble. However, if no charges are laid but the exhibition stays closed down, then it would be censorship.

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Geoff on Fri May 23, 2008 9:53 am

Fair enough Andrew,
Bill Henson's photographic style has often been controversial but from what I read, it's an over reaction.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

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

if i am to interpret this correctly. its 12 and 13yo boy and girl in full frontal nudity. sorry, but thats child pornography and lets face it, also against the law. art ? hmm...whats so artistic about a 12 yo boy fully nude ? the "art" of the nude could have been just as easily achieved by using an 18yo.

sorry, will have to disagree with people here...equating this to anne geddes is certianly drawing a long bow Geoff.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby ATJ on Fri May 23, 2008 9:59 am

Geoff,

It may well be an overreaction and if it is let's hope that sanity prevails. As Rooz says, if it is against the law, it is against the law no matter how arty people might think it is.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Fri May 23, 2008 10:12 am

I was wondering if this would come up here, and it no doubt will be divisive in debate, which is a good thing.

gstark wrote:Henson's work might be confronting, but isn't that a purpose of art?


I wonder if a snuff film would be considered art?

I haven't seen the images, and agree that, if it is considered art, it would be controversial and confronting. And, I know nothing of Henson's work. However, I question whether we need art which was produced solely to be confronting. I could think of a number of taboo areas which, if depicted in photography, painting, poety, film, etc could be accepted as "art" but in reality, the purpose could simply be to offend. Whilst I also have issues about censorship on the basis that something is "offensive", I do not really place in high regard things which are simply designed to "offend".

I haven't explained myself as well as I should (given I should be doing some work!).

People could say that Nick Ut's image is of a naked girl, however, I would argue that the context would be completely different.

Now, I may be considered a wowser and can say that I wouldn't let Alex, as a future teenager/minor, be photographed naked to be "confronting". So be it. :D
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 10:17 am

Rooz wrote:if i am to interpret this correctly. its 12 and 13yo boy and girl in full frontal nudity.


It is not.

Partial nudity.

But from what you're saying, you are equating full frontal nudity with pornography. Since when is that the case? There are very big differences between simple nudity, and pornography. Pornography requires what one might describe as pornographic intent. That is not evident in Henson's work.

By what you have said, Michelangelo's David is pornography. So too would you, or I, having a shower. I'm sorry, but to be classified as porn requires more than just nudity, full frontal, partial, or otherwise. Pornography requires pornographic intent. Where is that intent in David? Where is that intent in Henson's work?

I accept that the work is confronting, and controversial. That does not make it porn. I accept that the work is of young people, and unclothed. That too, of its own accord, does not make it pornographic. It requires intent, and intent is absent from this work.

Bring on Miley Cyrus, if you please. ;)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 10:25 am

Patrick,

Reschsmooth wrote:I could think of a number of taboo areas which, if depicted in photography, painting, poety, film, etc could be accepted as "art" but in reality, the purpose could simply be to offend.


Why would that be an issue? Could not a play or movie be written, primarily to offend? Is there a difference in the nature of how something something may "offend"?

And, so what if it does offend. As a musician, I find mate in public very offensive, but I don't seek its banning. :)

And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive? We are each adults, and individuals, and we should be respected as such. I find it offensive that others - such as the morals police - try to impose their values over mine, with little respect to my PoV.

Whilst I also have issues about censorship on the basis that something is "offensive", I do not really place in high regard things which are simply designed to "offend".


Yes, exactly. You give it less regard, perhaps even zero.

But do you permit me to retain my values? I suspect that you may. That is what I ask.

Now, I may be considered a wowser and can say that I wouldn't let Alex, as a future teenager/minor, be photographed naked to be "confronting". So be it. :D


And as a parent, that is your right and duty.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby PiroStitch on Fri May 23, 2008 10:28 am

By this definition, the numerous photos floating on public websites, online galleries, etc of naked or half naked children in family photos would also need to be removed as they would also be deemed as child porn. If you want to argue semantics and say that it's a family shot, therefore unposed, it could still be termed as a candid pose.

At the rate we're going, all the medical books will also have to return to graphical and hand drawn diagrams as photos can also be deemed pornographic in nature. No wait, if it's a detailed and realistic drawing, we'll also have to ban them as well...

The paranoia nowadays is sickening. Yes there's the potential for a minority to exploit the photos for their own use, however the same can be said for a nude photo of someone who is over 18. A person who looks at porn could also have the potential to be influenced to rape another person.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Geoff on Fri May 23, 2008 10:35 am

ok..there is in no way I would ever tolerate child 'pornography', and indeed if it is deemed 'pornography' than that's a compeltely different issue. Perhaps I've jumped the gun a little, but value the opinions of others here.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Fri May 23, 2008 10:47 am

gstark wrote:Why would that be an issue? Could not a play or movie be written, primarily to offend? Is there a difference in the nature of how something something may "offend"?


I tried to differentiate between finding something offensive and seeking to cause offense - a big difference.

And, so what if it does offend. As a musician, I find mate in public very offensive, but I don't seek its banning. :)


I don't know what you mean by "mate" in this context. :?

And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive? We are each adults, and individuals, and we should be respected as such.


I thought it was given that the police are investigating whether it is illegal, given the laws of the land, not immoral/amoral. If they did that, then Big Brother would not be on the air.

I find it offensive that others - such as the morals police - try to impose their values over mine, with little respect to my PoV.


I agree.
Whilst I also have issues about censorship on the basis that something is "offensive", I do not really place in high regard things which are simply designed to "offend".


Yes, exactly. You give it less regard, perhaps even zero.

But do you permit me to retain my values? I suspect that you may. That is what I ask.


Yes. :D

So, let's talk about sexual harrassment laws - I can be sued if I have a screen saver of lingerie models on my computer or plaster lingerie calendars on my wall in view of my female colleagues. Are these laws unjustly designed to oppress my values or are they just? What if I wrote a poem about what I would like to do to the body of my female colleague with all manner of implements and recited it for all to hear? Is it just that I would be have the book thrown at me or are my values and "rights" (ahem!) being oppressed.

Now, I may be considered a wowser and can say that I wouldn't let Alex, as a future teenager/minor, be photographed naked to be "confronting". So be it. :D


And as a parent, that is your right and duty.
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Duty? Interesting term, there, Gary! 8)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Raskill on Fri May 23, 2008 10:55 am

It's an interesting decision. The taking of nude images of children isn't an offence, like Gary says, you need intent. The final 'product' will determine if an offence has been committed. That being said, the images (the censored one's i've seen) in my personal opinion have lighting and poses that are suggestive, combining abandonment with sexuality. Are the sexual though? :?:

Again, in my personal opinion the images are offensive and designed to intentionally offend the average person. I also imagine the whole thing was designed to elicit a response from the Government, Police and other organisations and get publicity for the artist. Fairly poor taste on behalf of both artist and Gallery.

Slightly OT, just because it's controversial or confronting doesnt make it art. An image of someone crapping on the Koran, or pissing on a bible, or masturbating onto a statue of Buddha would hardly be art, but the average person would find it both confronting and controversial.

I also agree that comparing this to an Anne Geddes card is a very very long bow to draw.

And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive? We are each adults, and individuals, and we should be respected as such.


So, someone masturbating in front of your favourite cafe screaming "F#ck you C#nts" at any one passing by wouldn't be offensive? Who makes that detrmination? Police? Or perhaps someone would find it art?

If the Police arent able to investigate this and determine, with the asistance of the Office of Film and Literature, if the images are indeed offensive (deemed by the fact they would be refused classification) then who should? A public poll? I could assure you he would be hung out to dry in the court of public opinion.

Take this reasoning one step further, someone has a gallery full of 13 year old teens having sexual intercourse. The images show EVERYTHING. Is this offensive? Surely you cant say that we should all be respected to make our own decision. The law exists for a reason. Step over the line, or even on it, and expect to be looked at closely.

The artist and Gallery both would have known where this was leading from the get go.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Fri May 23, 2008 11:26 am

From the pics shown on the news last night, with appropriate blacking, some of these pics are full frontal nude shots of, at least, very young females. In the 1960’s David Bailey gained fame through his photography of young nubile females, but his photography was, what I call, dreamtime. He (David Bailey) managed to convey the sexuality of young girls through creative and artistic photography. Bill Henson on the other hand portrays adolescents in their states of despair, intoxication and immature ribaldry (quote from Wikipedia). In my opinion this is totally acceptable unless they are under age and nude.

And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive? We are each adults, and individuals, and we should be respected as such. I find it offensive that others - such as the morals police - try to impose their values over mine, with little respect to my PoV.


I was unaware that we had “morals police” in this country. We do not live in a police state (yet) and from your statement Gary one would have to assume that you believe that the police are the ‘tour de force’ in situations such as this!

For these children to be displayed publicly they would have had to sign model release forms, hold on they are under age, which means their parents must have signed the forms. Prosecution by the authorities, if the photos are deemed inappropriate, should start with the parents. I know that if I had a daughter (I do have a son) I would not under any circumstance allow the likes of Bill Henson et al to photograph them nude under the age of 18 - after that they are ‘adults’ and can make their own decisions.

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.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 11:33 am

this is of course open to a wide array of interpretations and views. some peopel DO in fact consider michaelangelo's art pornographic. so there cant be a short, clear answer that satisfies everyone.

the images themselves have a sensual and provocative feel to them and i personally dont believe that 12yo's should be in. and i ask again, why the need to use a 12/13yo in them ? i dont see that the inclusion of a 12 or 13yo does anything to enhance the art. why not use adult models ? sorry, doesnt make sense to me at all.

whats hard core porn ? soft core porn ? fine art ? its all relative to the individual viewing them. i certainly dont believe that these images are even remotely able to be compared to the happy snap type of images you find of toddlers or michaelangelo's David. for the exact reasons gary described...intent. where we differ is that imo there is intent for those images to be seductive. but again, thats my interpretation. hey...call me a prude. :lol:
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 12:58 pm

Reschsmooth wrote:
gstark wrote:Why would that be an issue? Could not a play or movie be written, primarily to offend? Is there a difference in the nature of how something something may "offend"?


I tried to differentiate between finding something offensive and seeking to cause offense - a big difference.


Yep.

But is there perhaps an instance of what one might feel is "seeking to cause offense" simply an interpretation of what another might describe as "seeking to stimulate discussion"?

And in the former point, we each have our own levels of where we might find things become offensive. I accept that I may have a more open PoV than others, but I also know that there are still things that I find offensive.

But is it appropriate that I deprive others of any pleasure that they may gain from their (offensive to me) activities? I prefer to think that it is, in fact, none of my damn business. Thus, I butt out. If this means that I don't attend a particular exhibit, so be it. But again, do I have a right to impose my PoV upon others who might appreciate what I find offensive? I think not.

And, so what if it does offend. As a musician, I find mate in public very offensive, but I don't seek its banning. :)


I don't know what you mean by "mate" in this context. :?


Hoisted by one's own petard. :) I've not seen the word censor feature here in use for ... well over a year. But thar she blows.

That is how offensive I find kara oke ... which is what the word censor feature has replaced with the term 'mate in public".

Oh, the joy of it all.



And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive? We are each adults, and individuals, and we should be respected as such.


I thought it was given that the police are investigating whether it is illegal, given the laws of the land, not immoral/amoral. If they did that, then Big Brother would not be on the air.


If they're merely investigating the matter, why has the exhibition been closed?

Somebody must have already made a value judgement that this is offensive.

To them.

I respect that they are entitled to make that judgment, but only with respect to their own sphere of influence. They should respect and permit me to make my own judgment.

So, let's talk about sexual harrassment laws - I can be sued if I have a screen saver of lingerie models on my computer or plaster lingerie calendars on my wall in view of my female colleagues. Are these laws unjustly designed to oppress my values or are they just?


I think that, when discussing the workplace, a different set of values may be appropriate. In a workplace I am sharing an area with people who may have different standards than mine. I respect that point, and I, generally, will respect those individuals by moderating my actions so as to perhaps conform with a broader set of standards.

That's a very different situation to a private art gallery, located on private property, and to which admission may be granted based upon one's prior knowledge of the content of that gallery.

Again, in a place of work, each person there has a right and an expectation to a certain level of decorum and safety. I don't dispute that, but it does also perhaps raise the question of the gallery being a place orf work for its staff. :)

Now, I may be considered a wowser and can say that I wouldn't let Alex, as a future teenager/minor, be photographed naked to be "confronting". So be it. :D


And as a parent, that is your right and duty.


Duty? Interesting term, there, Gary! 8)


Not at all, Patrick. It is your duty to protect your children as you (and Alicia, of course) deem fit. I might not agree with how you do this, but I do respect that this absolutely is your responsibility.

As a friend, were I in severe disagreement with your methods, I might offer you counsel in terms of my disagreement, but at the end of the day, unless I was of the belief that there was cruelty or abuse, it would remain none of my business.

Absent any case of abuse or cruelty, were you to reject my counsel, that would be fine by me, and for me, would not present, for me, an issue.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 1:47 pm

Alan,

Raskill wrote:Again, in my personal opinion the images are offensive and designed to intentionally offend the average person.


What, or who, is an "average" person? Does such a person exist?

I, honestly, have no concept or understanding of what this term might mean.

I respect and accept your personal opinion. And that, precisely, is my point.

How effectively can you separate your personal opinion from your professional duty?

Given that about four years ago a retrospective of Henson's work (which is largely similar to the work under discussion) was on display at the NSW Art Gallery, with, I believe, over 60000 people viewing the exhibition with no complaints, does that not suggest that there may be a significant proportion of the public that might not find offense at Henson's work?

I also imagine the whole thing was designed to elicit a response from the Government, Police and other organisations and get publicity for the artist. Fairly poor taste on behalf of both artist and Gallery.


Perhaps. But we have no real knowledge of their motives.

Rather, we do know that the work is exactly typical of the work that Henson has been doing for ... as long as I've known of him, which is well over 15 years ... so there's nothing new in that realm, and we also know that the whole fuss seems to have been started because one Herald columnist did take offense at the content of this exhibit.

I think I'm more concerned that this columnist seems to have exerted a great deal of power and caused such a response, and I personally find that to be somewhat more offensive than the images in question.

Slightly OT, just because it's controversial or confronting doesnt make it art. An image of someone crapping on the Koran, or pissing on a bible, or masturbating onto a statue of Buddha would hardly be art, but the average person would find it both confronting and controversial.


Correct.

But Henson's work has, for many years, been recognised as being confronting, and controversial, but always art.

And that's by people who claim to know art.


And are the police actually qualified to determine what actually is offensive? We are each adults, and individuals, and we should be respected as such.


So, someone masturbating in front of your favourite cafe screaming "F#ck you C#nts" at any one passing by wouldn't be offensive? Who makes that detrmination? Police? Or perhaps someone would find it art?


I'm certainly not qualified to make that judgment. Not on behalf of anyone but myself.

The fact that I find something offensive only makes it offensive to me.

But please see my other comments to Patrick wrt the workplace. What happens on a public street probably cannot be compared with what happens within a private home, or a private art gallery.

If the Police arent able to investigate this and determine, with the asistance of the Office of Film and Literature, if the images are indeed offensive (deemed by the fact they would be refused classification) then who should?


Investigate is one thing. But closing down the exhibition goes I think, beyond the point of investigation.

By all means investigate, and where the police are of the opinion that the law has been broken, then surely the evidence supporting their opinion is able to be presented in the proper forum, most likely the courts of law?


Take this reasoning one step further, someone has a gallery full of 13 year old teens having sexual intercourse. The images show EVERYTHING. Is this offensive? Surely you cant say that we should all be respected to make our own decision. The law exists for a reason. Step over the line, or even on it, and expect to be looked at closely.


I have no idea of whether that would be offensive or not. I do believe that it would be likely to be considered to be pornographic, and kiddie porn at that, however, and if that were the case, then it would be illegal.

And there, I believe, is my point of delineation: merely causing offense is not problematic. Displaying (and/or creating) kiddie porn is.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 1:53 pm

Chris,

sirhc55 wrote:I was unaware that we had “morals police” in this country. We do not live in a police state (yet) and from your statement Gary one would have to assume that you believe that the police are the ‘tour de force’ in situations such as this!


It was the police that had the exhibition closed down, I believe. So, absent other information, that would seem to be a reasonable assumption.

For these children to be displayed publicly they would have had to sign model release forms, hold on they are under age, which means their parents must have signed the forms. Prosecution by the authorities, if the photos are deemed inappropriate, should start with the parents.


Not an unreasonable proposition.

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.


Exactly.

Does the closing down of this exhibition not deny us this right?

For those who might find the exhibition offensive, there is always the simple fact that one's attendance at the exhibition is totally voluntary, and nobody will be dragging them, kicking and screaming, to view it. :)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby the foto fanatic on Fri May 23, 2008 2:05 pm

Well, of course there are many differing viewpoints regarding this controversy. What offends somebody else may not offend me, and vice versa.

I guess the job of the courts is to determine where things become offensive for the average person. And, as stated earlier in this thread, art (whether literature, film, painting or photography) has always pushed the envelope.

I'm generally of the "if it's going to offend you, change the channel" viewpoint. People don't have to go to the gallery if they feel the images are distasteful.

However, there is more to this particular situation than that. What incentives or coercion may have been involved in making the photographs? I'm not saying that there was any; but I do think that it is valid for the police to check to make sure no-one below legal age was harmed in the creation of the art.

And, although a liberal who deplores censorship, I am not a parent. If I were, I doubt that I would want my children to be photographed in that way at such an age. I probably wouldn't like it if they were 18 or older either, but I would be hoping that at that age they would be mature enough to make their own decision.

At least this is a situation that is deserving of debate, unlike the issues of taking photographs at train stations and swimming carnivals.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 2:08 pm

Rooz wrote:this is of course open to a wide array of interpretations and views. some peopel DO in fact consider michaelangelo's art pornographic. so there cant be a short, clear answer that satisfies everyone.


Quite.

And so, in a private gallery, on private property, do we go with the opinion of those who would constrict us, or do we, in a private gallery, on private property - somewhere that you actually have to make an effort to get to - perhaps allow those who may be willing to make that effort, make their own decisions? :)


the images themselves have a sensual and provocative feel to them and i personally dont believe that 12yo's should be in.


Are children not capable of expressing sensuality? Why should that not, at some point, be captured in an artistic, sensitive manner?

What of an image of a mother breast-feeding her baby? I think there is little that is more sensual than that.

and i ask again, why the need to use a 12/13yo in them ? i dont see that the inclusion of a 12 or 13yo does anything to enhance the art. why not use adult models ? sorry, doesnt make sense to me at all.


I think that an image of a 16 yo person is different from that of an image of a 12yo person, which n turn is different from an image of a 10yo person, which is .....

Similarly, we record images of our families, of our children, at different stages of our (their) lives. Surely art should not be different simply because it's art?

And sometimes it's not a case of the model, but who the model is: Would an image of John Lennon be the same were a stand-in model used in lieu of Lennon? Who are we to pass judgment? We can accept, or we can reject, based upon our personal values.

whats hard core porn ? soft core porn ? fine art ? its all relative to the individual viewing them.


Correct. And I prefer to leave it to you to determine, for yourself, where your values, and your limits, may lie.

I reject and find it offensive that others might not offer me a similar level respect to make my own determinations.


i certainly dont believe that these images are even remotely able to be compared to the happy snap type of images you find of toddlers or michaelangelo's David. for the exact reasons gary described...intent. where we differ is that imo there is intent for those images to be seductive. but again, thats my interpretation. hey...call me a prude. :lol:


I don't call you a prude, and I accept that you may view these images as seductive. I accept that they are sensual, but I don't see them as seductive.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 3:09 pm

And so, in a private gallery, on private property, do we go with the opinion of those who would constrict us, or do we, in a private gallery, on private property - somewhere that you actually have to make an effort to get to - perhaps allow those who may be willing to make that effort, make their own decisions?

cant the same be said of any activity ? :?: there are laws that prevent certain activities regardless of whether its in private or not. agree with them or not, they are the laws. there are lots of people that think smoking a joint is ok. whether they do it in their private property or not isnt really relevant.

Are children not capable of expressing sensuality? Why should that not, at some point, be captured in an artistic, sensitive manner?

imo, absolutely not. these are kids. call it art, call it freedom of expression, call it whatever you like. thats not a free pass to do whatever you want to do and to hell with the consequences.

What of an image of a mother breast-feeding her baby? I think there is little that is more sensual than that.

how so ? its not sensual, (ins a sexual way), for a woman to breastfeed, certainly not the intent of it. breastfeeding is a necessity to feed a child. there are those that may find it sensual, cant stop that. cant stop guys jacking off over seeing feet either. 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. those photos, by your own admission ARE generated to express a sensuality...which in our society, when it involves naked bodies, is sexual in reference.

I think that an image of a 16 yo person is different from that of an image of a 12yo person, which n turn is different from an image of a 10yo person, which is ..... Similarly, we record images of our families, of our children, at different stages of our (their) lives. Surely art should not be different simply because it's art?

this again goes back to intent. sure we record images of our families, but i doubt we are recording, or would condone others recording images of our 13yo daughters in a sensual way. sorry, just labelling it art doesnt mean squat. you could then use the term "art" to justify anything you wanted to do. art is not a license to do whatever you want. where is the line drawn ? where does this stop ? how far can it go ? when does it go from sensual to sexual ? there are otehrs that would even say theres nothing wrong with depicting children sexually either ? so...is that still art ? it can't ever stop cos one persons boundaries are much shorter than others so we have to as a society make a boundary and say...look...this is the boundary and you cant cross it and do it legally.

And sometimes it's not a case of the model, but who the model is: Would an image of John Lennon be the same were a stand-in model used in lieu of Lennon? Who are we to pass judgment? We can accept, or we can reject, based upon our personal values.

not quite sure where the relationship there is.

Correct. And I prefer to leave it to you to determine, for yourself, where your values, and your limits, may lie. I reject and find it offensive that others might not offer me a similar level respect to make my own determinations.

sure that may be the case. i've raced cars and bikes since i was 13yo so reject that i cant do 80kp/h in a 50kp/h zone where i think its safe. be that as it may, we live in a world and a society and a result we have to conform to certain standards and laws which may or may not be to our liking. what you are essentially describing in a broader context, is anarchy. not becasue you cant make your own determinations, but becasue you are saying we should be able to have the right to say and do what we want regardless of the laws if we determine its ok in our book.

I don't call you a prude, and I accept that you may view these images as seductive. I accept that they are sensual, but I don't see them as seductive.

well...i think thats just playing a bit of semantics here to be honest. call it sensual call it seductive. both have sexual connotations so we will agree to disagree. :)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Pehpsi on Fri May 23, 2008 3:10 pm

I don't blame the artist, it's the parents who are sick!
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby PiroStitch on Fri May 23, 2008 3:38 pm

Something else to consider, if you're talking about the abuse and exploitation of children to sexualisation at an early age, etc. What about the amount of material that's freely available nowadays? For example, Big Brother, Sex and the City billboards displayed around town, magazines which are on display in newsagents, etc? To what extreme would you like to take this type of control?

I'm not saying that you're wrong in thinking that this exhibition is wrong in displaying nude photos of children, however think of what else they're exposed to? Maybe we should all be Amish and isolate ourselves back to the Stone Age... No that didn't work as well as we saw a couple of years ago.

How much are we going to try and bubble wrap everybody else so that their point of view matches ours? People will always disagree, however I appreciate everyone's honesty in expressing their opinions. We don't have to agree on everything, however as long we have the respect for one another, that's all that matters :)

I can understand the intent of Bill Henson in this series, however the expression has obviously created controversy. I'm not agreeing with his methods, however his work has always been stunning. Seriously wish that this was in Melbourne instead of Sydney :) It's art! It's an expression! It expresses life!
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 3:49 pm

Rooz wrote:[those photos, by your own admission ARE generated to express a sensuality...which in our society, when it involves naked bodies, is sexual in reference.


No, not at all. There are huge gaps between sensuality and sexuality.

The smell of freshly roasted coffee is absolutely sensual.

The smell of freshly baking bread is magnificently sensual.

The feeling of the sun's warmth, beating down on your back, while you're lying on the beach, is positively sensual.

The sound of the starting grid at the F1, deafeningly sensual.

And not a hair's breath of sexuality in any of them.

I think that an image of a 16 yo person is different from that of an image of a 12yo person, which n turn is different from an image of a 10yo person, which is ..... Similarly, we record images of our families, of our children, at different stages of our (their) lives. Surely art should not be different simply because it's art?

this again goes back to intent. sure we record images of our families, but i doubt we are recording, or would condone others recording images of our 13yo daughters in a sensual way.


Why, or why not?

Where does the distinction lie, between say a family having a nude portrait of the entire family made, for their own consumption, as against a family of nudists having a tasttful portrait made of themselves, for their own consumption? And what do I mean by "for their own consumption"? Surely this is a part of documenting either of those families' histories, and as such, is suitable for historical, if not artistic, purposes?

If any of those are reasonable - and I'm not for a moment suggesting that they may, or may not be, reasonable - then surely it might also be reasonable for any of the individual components of be used in a similar, but solo, manner?

sorry, just labelling it art doesnt mean squat.


Correct. Next thing you know, we'll have wedding photographers describing their work as art.

But Henson is known as, and has for many years been known as, a world renowned artist.

So, while I accept that labeling my photographs as art doesn't mean squat, but labeling Henson's holiday snaps as art probably means a lot more than merely squat!

I may not appreciate Jackson Pollack's work, but that doesn't make it something that is not art. Without wishing to offend, surely it is reasonable to suggest that something similar may be said of your appreciation of Henson's work?

when does it go from sensual to sexual ?


I fail to see this connection.

As noted above, many things are sensual, but that does not make them sexual; might I suggest that that connection is one that is drawn by the viewer, rather than the creator?

Many people go to strip clubs and find them sexual. So I'm told. The last time I went to one - about 14 years ago - I found it boring. Not sexual. Certainly not sensual.

Merely boring.

And sometimes it's not a case of the model, but who the model is: Would an image of John Lennon be the same were a stand-in model used in lieu of Lennon? Who are we to pass judgment? We can accept, or we can reject, based upon our personal values.

not quite sure where the relationship there is.


You asked the question: "why not use adult models?". I was merely illustrating one example of why the use of different models might not work. The use of models, different from the artist's vision, might not fulfill the artist's vision.

The point is, though, what is the artist's vision?

Correct. And I prefer to leave it to you to determine, for yourself, where your values, and your limits, may lie. I reject and find it offensive that others might not offer me a similar level respect to make my own determinations.

sure that may be the case. i've raced cars and bikes since i was 13yo so reject that i cant do 80kp/h in a 50kp/h zone where i think its safe. be that as it may, we live in a world and a society and a result we have to conform to certain standards and laws which may or may not be to our liking. what you are essentially describing in a broader context, is anarchy. not becasue you cant make your own determinations, but becasue you are saying we should be able to have the right to say and do what we want regardless of the laws if we determine its ok in our book.


Within the privacy of my own home, perhaps, yes.

The basic precept of how I live my life is that I should do so with little ill effect upon others, and hopefully some good effect upon others, should that be their desire. I desire no interference from others, and will reject attempts of others to impose their will upon me.

Do I break the law? Some of them, absolutely. Do I care? Only if my failure to observe those laws has some ill-effect upon others. I too reject absolute speed limits as being totally absurd: I have seen people driving at 55mph in conditions that were unsafe at any speed. Were speeding truly dangerous, then surely the correct penalty would be license suspension?

But that is not the argument here. The real argument relates to the images in question, and to their exhibition, and to the censorship imposed upo us.

I find all forms of censorship totally abhorrent, and foolishly offensive.

I don't call you a prude, and I accept that you may view these images as seductive. I accept that they are sensual, but I don't see them as seductive.

well...i think thats just playing a bit of semantics here to be honest. call it sensual call it seductive. both have sexual connotations so we will agree to disagree. :)


Please show me the sexual connotations inherent in the smell of a loaf of fresh bread baking. I suspect I'm missing something here.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 3:54 pm

in principal i dont disagree with you Piro, although again; the examples you gave are not of children. but i do agree that it works both ways. how far to one side before we're under a censorship stanglehold and how far on the otherside before we're out of control. its about the balance. what offends some doesnt offend others, which is why we will NEVER get a 100% consensus.

i often find the hypocracy of censorship and societies tolerance standards astounding. that we can invade a country like iraq based on lies and call it a liberation and show bombs landing calling it precision and "shock and awe" without thought of the killing thousands of innocent people; but we get our knickers in a knot about the violence in a TV show like Underbelly. (Thank God i'm in Sydney instead of Melbourne. :mrgreen: )

its an interesting discussion nonetheless...much better had over a few beers if truth be told. lol
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby PiroStitch on Fri May 23, 2008 3:58 pm

gstark wrote:Please show me the sexual connotations inherent in the smell of a loaf of fresh bread baking. I suspect I'm missing something here.


Depends on the type of bread Gary. Was it a bagel, a croissant or a baguette? A baguette could be considered phallic...
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby PiroStitch on Fri May 23, 2008 3:59 pm

Rooz wrote:its an interesting discussion nonetheless...much better had over a few beers if truth be told. lol


Lol dunno, it might end up being more erm...risqué with alcohol involved :cheers:
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 4:14 pm

No, not at all. There are huge gaps between sensuality and sexuality.

The smell of freshly roasted coffee is absolutely sensual.

The smell of freshly baking bread is magnificently sensual. The feeling of the sun's warmth, beating down on your back, while you're lying on the beach, is positively sensual. The sound of the starting grid at the F1, deafeningly sensual.

And not a hair's breath of sexuality in any of them.


and as i stated in my post, not a hairs breath of naked bodies in any of those examples either when using the term.

Where does the distinction lie, between say a family having a nude portrait of the entire family made, for their own consumption, as against a family of nudists having a tasttful portrait made of themselves, for their own consumption? And what do I mean by "for their own consumption"? Surely this is a part of documenting either of those families' histories, and as such, is suitable for historical, if not artistic, purposes?

I fail to see this connection.

ie: when does it stop ? bent over ? (she was picking something up), licking lips ? (she saw a chocolate eclair) ? sucking a lollypop ? (hey, she likes the taste). where exactly is the line that seperates this from a sexual connocation to a non sexual connotation ? there is none becasue it varies from person to person.

might I suggest that that connection is one that is drawn by the viewer, rather than the creator?

agreed.

Many people go to strip clubs and find them sexual. So I'm told. The last time I went to one - about 14 years ago - I found it boring. Not sexual. Certainly not sensual. Merely boring.

not illegal, no children.

You asked the question: "why not use adult models?". I was merely illustrating one example of why the use of different models might not work. The use of models, different from the artist's vision, might not fulfill the artist's vision. The point is, though, what is the artist's vision?

ahhh...understood. very good point. what is the artists vision ? well, who knows. maybe the vision was to get on the front page.

The basic precept of how I live my life is that I should do so with little ill effect upon others, and hopefully some good effect upon others, should that be their desire. I desire no interference from others, and will reject attempts of others to impose their will upon me. Do I break the law? Some of them, absolutely. Do I care? Only if my failure to observe those laws has some ill-effect upon others. I too reject absolute speed limits as being totally absurd: I have seen people driving at 55mph in conditions that were unsafe at any speed. Were speeding truly dangerous, then surely the correct penalty would be license suspension?

and an admirable precept it is. explain that to a parking cop next time you park in a no-standing area. or perhaps not voting. "i wasnt hurting anyone" is not a legal defence. i'm sure shoplifters and insurance frauds think that stealing a few dollars from a multi billion dollar business gonna hurt anyone. or tax evaders. break the law at your own will, as we all do with selective laws based on our own perceptions of what are and what aren't important to us as laws. but we also have to face the consequences if we break the law and are caught doing so.

I find all forms of censorship totally abhorrent, and foolishly offensive.

all forms ? hmmm ok. lets look at this more broadly out of context of this thread cos you make an interesting idealistic statement. so do you believe that violent rape videos are ok and should be legal ? do you believe in that child pornography material should be legal ? do you believe that anti-jew or anti-asian or anti-black material should be legal ? now you may say that this is different becasue it hurts people. but it's still censorship. these are the fine lines and balances of a society being able to function.

Please show me the sexual connotations inherent in the smell of a loaf of fresh bread baking. I suspect I'm missing something here.

i refer you to above. sensual in the context of a naked body.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 4:17 pm

PiroStitch wrote:
Rooz wrote:its an interesting discussion nonetheless...much better had over a few beers if truth be told. lol


Lol dunno, it might end up being more erm...risqué with alcohol involved :cheers:


nah man...these discussion are healthy. robust certainly, but healthy nonetheless.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby dviv on Fri May 23, 2008 4:18 pm

Rooz wrote:ahhh...understood. very good point. what is the artists vision ? well, who knows. maybe the vision was to get on the front page.


Much like the War medal fiasco at fashion week. ("We didn't think it would offend anyone...." yeah right...)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 4:22 pm

or Janet Jacksons breast...
britney/ madonna's kiss...

etc etc etc
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby kiwi on Fri May 23, 2008 4:56 pm

Unfortunately regardless of the rights or wrongs of the artist, the parents, the gallery, the children or the police, 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.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 5:03 pm

Rooz wrote:and as i stated in my post, not a hairs breath of naked bodies in any of those examples either when using the term.


Which term? Sensual?

I do not accept that sensuality implies nudity.

Nor do I accept that nudity, in and of itself, is inherently sensual nor sexual.

It may well be.

Or not.

But the nape of one's neck may also be sensual. Intensely so, in certain circumstances. I'm wondering what clothes it needs to be wearing? Should one turn up one's collar?

How about the inside of one's wrist? About the same place where your doctor might be taking a reading of your pulse. That, too, may be an excruciatingly sensual part of one's body, under certain circumstances. Maybe I need to have my doctor arrested for taking my pulse? :)

Maybe we need to ban hand models from our tv sets? They're using those same, sensual wrists, you know. And sometimes we see kids' hands on tv. How outrageous is that?

Where does the distinction lie, between say a family having a nude portrait of the entire family made, for their own consumption, as against a family of nudists having a tasttful portrait made of themselves, for their own consumption? And what do I mean by "for their own consumption"? Surely this is a part of documenting either of those families' histories, and as such, is suitable for historical, if not artistic, purposes?

I fail to see this connection.


Where's the difference between a family's tasteful semi-clad or nude portraits, of the family, as against that same family's tasteful semi-clad or nude portraits of the family's members?

And that's not to be confused with those portraits of the family's members' members.

where exactly is the line that seperates this from a sexual connocation to a non sexual connotation ? there is none becasue it varies from person to person.


So, where is the problem in allowing each person to exercise their own judgment?

might I suggest that that connection is one that is drawn by the viewer, rather than the creator?

agreed.


So, where is the problem in allowing each viewer to draw their own connection?

Some may draw similar connections to those you are drawing. That is fine.

Others may not. That too, for me, is fine.

You asked the question: "why not use adult models?". I was merely illustrating one example of why the use of different models might not work. The use of models, different from the artist's vision, might not fulfill the artist's vision. The point is, though, what is the artist's vision?

ahhh...understood. very good point. what is the artists vision ? well, who knows. maybe the vision was to get on the front page.


Perhaps, but as has been already noted, Henson has been doing this for years. I've been aware of his work for at least 15. What he's done here is nothing new for him. So I doubt that a "front page" was his goal. Given that he's been doing this for a lot longer than just this week, and that he's a world renowned and respected artist, I'd respectfully suggest that his vision was most certainly artistic.

And as I've also noted above, the front page work was all done by a journo, seemingly to push her own barrow, and perhaps her own prejudices. Don't you find that just a little bit troublesome?



The basic precept of how I live my life is that I should do so with little ill effect upon others, and hopefully some good effect upon others, should that be their desire. I desire no interference from others, and will reject attempts of others to impose their will upon me. Do I break the law? Some of them, absolutely. Do I care? Only if my failure to observe those laws has some ill-effect upon others. I too reject absolute speed limits as being totally absurd: I have seen people driving at 55mph in conditions that were unsafe at any speed. Were speeding truly dangerous, then surely the correct penalty would be license suspension?

and an admirable precept it is. explain that to a parking cop next time you park in a no-standing area.


Please pay attention to the details. Parking in a no-standing area may have an ill effect upon others, and thus doesn't fall within the boundaries of my precept. Likewise, shoplifting and insurance fraud also does have an ill effect upon others.

Voting: I have a problem with the concept of compulsory voting in an alleged democracy; surely we should be free to withhold our vote where we consider that nobody is deserving of the privilege of my vote. But again, that is irrelevant within this context.

But within the context of what I have stated, when and if I break the law, if I'm caught, then I will be prepared to accept the consequences of those breaches of the law. I have no issues with that at all.


I find all forms of censorship totally abhorrent, and foolishly offensive.

all forms ?


Yep.

All forms. Censorship is abhorrent. It is offensive. It is evil. It is infantile. It is stupid. And it never works.

But I do feel for those poor individuals who are so incorrigible, so totally impervious to lust, sin, vice, violence, pornography, etc, that they do their jobs, protecting poor sweet innocent me, without fear or favour of regard to their own personal dignity, sensibilities, intellect, lives ...

How bloody stupid is it to believe that we need to have a bureaucracy to view and decide that something is suitable for ... viewing? Surely, if the viewing of something, by me, might be harmful to me, then the viewing of that same matter, by those wise protectors of the public morality, must also be harmful to them?

And if it is not harmful to them, why must it therefore be harmful to me?

It makes no sense.

hmmm ok. lets look at this more broadly out of context of this thread cos you make an interesting idealistic statement. so do you believe that violent rape videos are ok and should be legal ? do you believe in that child pornography material should be legal ? do you believe that anti-jew or anti-asian or anti-black material should be legal ?


Where did I say that they should be legal?

I said that censorship is bad. Very bad.

I'm an adult, and I'm capable of making up my own mind about a great many things. I suspect that most people in this forum have similar capabilities. I like to be able to choose to exercise my discretion; and I like to be able to afford others similar respect. It's that simple.

Please show me the sexual connotations inherent in the smell of a loaf of fresh bread baking. I suspect I'm missing something here.

i refer you to above. sensual in the context of a naked body.


But there is no inherent connection between a loaf of bread being baked, which can be very sensual, and a naked body, which may, or may not, be sensual.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 5:06 pm

kiwifamily wrote: those sickos


Who might they be?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Fri May 23, 2008 5:21 pm

What a wonderful debate, and yet no-one is wrong (nor do they need to be)!

One view is that, if something is done and is called "art" and produced by a person who is called an "artist", it is ok and should not be censored. In this case, we are referring to images of legal miners and, it could be argued, "innocent children" for a vision that said artist had and we may not know or understand.

Nudity is often correlated with sexuality which, it is argued, is an adult concept, although one seeming to be pushed to younger and younger people. The curves of the human body (excluding my own) are sensual and beautiful. One question that has been raised is: does this make it or link it to sexuality?

A nude, in my view, is not, by default, sexual and arousing (I see myself in the mirror each morning!). However, I believe that the link is close enough to sexuality that there is commonality between a sensual nude and a sexual nude.

Gary, you refer to nude family photos - I can only presume that you are referring to newborns with their parents as opposed to, say, nude adolescent children with their nude parents - I personally I could think of 1,000,000,000 things I would rather do, as a 15 year old than be naked with my family! But, my point is, an adolescent is a developed and developing person, with sexual hormones and all that. A newborn, however, has none of this.

I know how we interpret something is based on our own POV, experiences, value systems, culture, etc, and we should respect each other's rights to their interpretation. But, where is the line? Should there be a line? Should I be able to root goats in my backyard for neighbours to see? SHould I be able to play racial hatred tunes from my house for all to hear (as long as it is played at 105dB or less or whatever the limit is)?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby kiwi on Fri May 23, 2008 5:25 pm

gstark wrote:
kiwifamily wrote: those sickos


Who might they be?


? whoever may go the the exhibition just to get a cheap thrill - there are plenty out there I am afraid.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 5:56 pm

Patrick,

Reschsmooth wrote:What a wonderful debate, and yet no-one is wrong (nor do they need to be)!


:)

One view is that, if something is done and is called "art" and produced by a person who is called an "artist", it is ok and should not be censored.


I would take that further, though. Why need it be produced by a person who is called an "artist"? Who actually decides that somebody is such a person?

In this instance, Henson is clearly recognised as such; there is no such question. But for others, who is qualified to make that distinction?

Several here have qualified from art schools; are they qualified to ...

... make that call?

... avoid such censorship?

Again, I prefer to permit all to have that freedom, so that they may make their own choices, their own decisions.

Have we become a society that is incapable of looking after ourselves? I sincerely hope not.

In this case, we are referring to images of legal miners and, it could be argued, "innocent children" for a vision that said artist had and we may not know or understand.


Agreed. And thus, if we neither know nor understand the artist's vision, how can we be critical of it?

Nudity is often correlated with sexuality which, it is argued, is an adult concept, although one seeming to be pushed to younger and younger people.


Adult concepts are pushed to the younger generations, in many instances, by ...adults. :)

But equally, many kids aspire to be "grown up".

And this is nothing new: two score and ten years hence I was playing with my parents' clothes, pretending to be a grown-up. Today, the only thing that has changed is that the clothes are my own. :)


A nude, in my view, is not, by default, sexual and arousing (I see myself in the mirror each morning!).


And you think that you've got problems in that regard? :)

Yes, I agree completely.

However, I believe that the link is close enough to sexuality that there is commonality between a sensual nude and a sexual nude.


Often, yes.

Always, no.

Gary, you refer to nude family photos - I can only presume that you are referring to newborns with their parents as opposed to, say, nude adolescent children with their nude parents


Both. I have seen examples of, with varying ages of children.

This comes back to many factors, and while many families do have problems with family members' nudity, many do not.

- I personally I could think of 1,000,000,000 things I would rather do, as a 15 year old than be naked with my family! But, my point is, an adolescent is a developed and developing person, with sexual hormones and all that. A newborn, however, has none of this.


Correct. I accept and understand all of what you're saying, but I can assure you that it does not apply globally to all. Also, not all adolescents develop at the same ages, at the same speed ....

I know how we interpret something is based on our own POV, experiences, value systems, culture, etc, and we should respect each other's rights to their interpretation. But, where is the line? Should there be a line?


If there should be a line, the question then must be asked who is qualified to draw that line. My contention is that, for you, there is but one person so qualified, and that person would be your good self. I would certainly not be comfortable drawing it for you.

And for me, that sole qualified person would be my good self. There might be others whose suggestions I might take heed of, but none of them seem to be those who formally and officially hold those positions.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby chrisk on Fri May 23, 2008 6:32 pm

Which term? Sensual? I do not accept that sensuality implies nudity. Nor do I accept that nudity, in and of itself, is inherently sensual nor sexual.


yes, sensual when used in the context of nudity does have a sexual connotation. why else would we say it ? if you meet a lady at a bar sitting with her husband and said she's looking "sensual" tonight it may earn you a smack in the mouth. tell her she looks beautiful and he'll give you a big grin. again, context. we have a complex language where words used by their very defintion may imply various meanings depending on the context of their use.

"the sun is hot"
"the pan is hot"
"that chick is hot.

in itself the term "hot" can be argued has no sexual connotation. but this is purely based on context. i'm assuming you wouldnt want to route the sun or the pan but the girl is a different matter based on the context of the use of the term. this is also based on the culture you are living in...different cultures, different contexts again.

But the nape of one's neck may also be sensual. Intensely so, in certain circumstances. I'm wondering what clothes it needs to be wearing? Should one turn up one's collar?


precisely, the nape of a persons neck CAN indeed be sensual arousing a physical response. so by saying that the photos are sensual you are indeed quite clearly saying that they invoke a physical arousal. this is completely different in context from saying the smell of a loaf of bread is sensual. that is the nature of the term itself when used in varying contexts. i dont have anything against sensual...you seem to think i want to ban the term or the felling. nothing of the sort. i just dont think it should be used or evoked by using underage kids.

How about the inside of one's wrist? About the same place where your doctor might be taking a reading of your pulse. That, too, may be an excruciatingly sensual part of one's body, under certain circumstances. Maybe I need to have my doctor arrested for taking my pulse? :) Maybe we need to ban hand models from our tv sets? They're using those same, sensual wrists, you know. And sometimes we see kids' hands on tv. How outrageous is that?


light hearted and funny but not relly relevant to the context of the shots or the discussion. if you need me to i'm happy to address all of those examples, (if you made them seriously), in the context of this discussion. but i dont think thats really necessary. :lol:

Where's the difference between a family's tasteful semi-clad or nude portraits, of the family, as against that same family's tasteful semi-clad or nude portraits of the family's members?


well, thats like saying that having sex with your wife in your private bedroom is pornography. it is not. it is sex. pornography is the display thereof of that sexual act to a wider audience for the purpose of sexual arousal. and once again, we refer to context. in this case we refer to the context of our western society in australia. would a nude photo of a family on the wall be "accepted" in this society ? i doubt it. i think we'd ALL think it a little bizzare. but put that in nigeria and the family portrait of nigerians like that is probably ok.

So, where is the problem in allowing each person to exercise their own judgment?


this is not a question for me. this is a question for you. you are the one that said it wasnt sexual, it was sensual. so i'm asking you, where is that line between sensual and sexual ? why is it not ok for everyone to make their own judgement ? well, thats just not the way our society works. love it or not. we live in a democracy with laws and acceptable standards in society based on that particualr society's culture. laws are not based on the judgement of individuals, they are based on what society, the state and the legal process deem as standards by which we are goverened. some countries/ societis have greater control than others and the discussion of that balance is a neverending tug-of-war.

So, where is the problem in allowing each viewer to draw their own connection?


i believe this has been done to death.

Perhaps, but as has been already noted, Henson has been doing this for years. I've been aware of his work for at least 15. What he's done here is nothing new for him.


if he has done these kinds of images which depict 12yo's nude in this way then it may not be new but imo its still wrong. i dont know his work so cant comment.

And as I've also noted above, the front page work was all done by a journo, seemingly to push her own barrow, and perhaps her own prejudices. Don't you find that just a little bit troublesome?


not particulalry.

Please pay attention to the details. Parking in a no-standing area may have an ill effect upon others, and thus doesn't fall within the boundaries of my precept. Likewise, shoplifting and insurance fraud also does have an ill effect upon others.


thats irrelevant to the argument. as i said, "i'm not hurting anyone" is not a defence or breaking a law however stupid that law may be and however justified you may feel in breaking it.

Voting: I have a problem with the concept of compulsory voting in an alleged democracy; surely we should be free to withhold our vote where we consider that nobody is deserving of the privilege of my vote. But again, that is irrelevant within this context.


actually, no its not irrelevant at all. its actually completely relevant to your premace of the way in which you live you life. we all like to be ideological like that and maybe a tad rebellious. but at the end of the day, you comply with that law despite the fact it bears no ill to others. why do you do that ? cos you accept that it is a law of the land and you comply with that law. so why is this any differnt ? shoule everyone be able to pick and choose what laws they can or cannot be held accountable for based on THEIR premise of how they live their lives and what THEY deem to be not harmful to others ?

But within the context of what I have stated, when and if I break the law, if I'm caught, then I will be prepared to accept the consequences of those breaches of the law. I have no issues with that at all.


so why is this an issue here ? he broke the law. are we arguing about whether he broke the law ? evidently he has been accused of such and i suppose a court will decide whether in fact he has or has not based on a judges perception of this which again comes down to the context the judge takes on this.

Where did I say that they should be legal? I said that censorship is bad. Very bad.


making something illegal is actually the most powerful form of censorship the government has Gary. censorship is not only relevant to visual or sensory concepts but also to behavious and actions...and in extreme cases, even to a belief. So i ask again, should videos or photos depicting the above be "censored" or made illegal ?

But there is no inherent connection between a loaf of bread being baked, which can be very sensual, and a naked body, which may, or may not, be sensual.


going round in circles again. descibing a naked body as sensual is a very differnt context to saying a loaf of bread is sensual. the sescription of a naked body as sensual does have sexual or arousing connotations. perhaps not in the Gary Stark world but certianly in Australia as a whole.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby RichardW on Fri May 23, 2008 6:54 pm

I'll throw in my 2c on this one.

Don't believe in photographing naked children for their own sake and particularly putting them up on the web for pedo's to feed their fetish. As an amateur I'm wary of pointing the camera anywhere near children.

As alluded the publicity has probably done it's job.

I do recall the 1972 Vietnam War image of Kim Phúc running down a road near Trang Bang after a napalm attack. This image I believe was appropriate in the circumstances.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Raskill on Fri May 23, 2008 7:05 pm

Adult concepts are pushed to the younger generations, in many instances, by ...adults. :)

But equally, many kids aspire to be "grown up".

And this is nothing new: two score and ten years hence I was playing with my parents' clothes, pretending to be a grown-up. Today, the only thing that has changed is that the clothes are my own. :)


I dont understand what your trying to say here :?

Playing dress ups in your parents clothes is quite different from being used as a nude model and having your prepubescent breasts shown on a gallery wall for all and sundry to come look at. Is a 12 year old child able to make (and fully comprehend the possible long term implications) such a decision. I seriously doubt it.

And this is where the issue lies. These childrens parents have shown little or no thought in this process. Mr Henson as the photographer has put himself in harms way legally. An artist doesnt get about with his head in the sand. For better (or worse, depending on your point of view) there is more protection of children these days. He must have had some reservations about this event, and the possible consequences.

I also fail to understand the problem you have with censorship? Surely you understand the need for it at the extreme ends of the spectrum? Who makes the decision what you get to legally do and see? The people who you vote for, the NSW Parliament, you might not like voting, but you probably still do it. If not, you pay the fine, but the people who make the decisions could have been effected by YOUR vote.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby sirhc55 on Fri May 23, 2008 7:10 pm

i just dont think it should be used or evoked by using underage kids.


You are spot on Rooz. The ‘child’ in these nude depictions is the root cause of the impounding of the pics and possible prosecution. Never will I condone the displaying of nude photographs of underage children and Henson may or may not be a ‘artist’ but if he has broken the law then he should be hung drawn and quartered.

I’m sick to death of so called artists being able to portray any form of pornography and labeling it as art.

Just as a parting shot, the word sensual is 99% applied to a sexual situation and the word sensuous is applied to non sexual situations but in this hedonistic age the two very much overlap.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby phillipb on Fri May 23, 2008 7:17 pm

As much as I am enjoying reading all the to's and fro's in this thread, I think that we are over analyzing this all thing.
It's probably my simple mind but to me it just comes down to one thing.
If it's illegal, close it down an charge them (whoever is responsible) and let them fight it in court.
If it's legal but immoral, let the public make up it's own mind.

Like I said, I've only got a simple mind.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 7:44 pm

Rooz wrote:
Which term? Sensual? I do not accept that sensuality implies nudity. Nor do I accept that nudity, in and of itself, is inherently sensual nor sexual.


yes, sensual when used in the context of nudity does have a sexual connotation.


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.

why else would we say it ?


Why indeed? I don't see, nor automatically make, any such connection. Thusly, that's not something I might say.

if you meet a lady at a bar sitting with her husband and said she's looking "sensual" tonight it may earn you a smack in the mouth.


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.


tell her she looks beautiful and he'll give you a big grin. again, context. we have a complex language where words used by their very defintion may imply various meanings depending on the context of their use.


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.

"the sun is hot"
"the pan is hot"
"that chick is hot.

in itself the term "hot" can be argued has no sexual connotation. but this is purely based on context. i'm assuming you wouldnt want to route the sun or the pan but the girl is a different matter based on the context of the use of the term. this is also based on the culture you are living in...different cultures, different contexts again.


I would happily offer the chick some shade, or perhaps a refreshing drink.

I recently had an interesting encounter with a rather attractive person. It seemed that we had much in common - similar musical tastes, played the same musical instrument, birthdates were very close, similar EU parentage with post-WWII Australian upbringings ...

Now, you need to understand that, something like 30 years' photographic background, I know that the E6 photographic process produces slides.

Or transparencies.

So, to me, the term "tranny" had a very different initial connotation to his, despite perhaps some mutual and common initial intent. :)

There endeth that relationship.

My point there is very similar culture, backgrounds, almost everything.

Too much, perhaps. :)



But the nape of one's neck may also be sensual. Intensely so, in certain circumstances. I'm wondering what clothes it needs to be wearing? Should one turn up one's collar?


precisely, the nape of a persons neck CAN indeed be sensual arousing a physical response. so by saying that the photos are sensual you are indeed quite clearly saying that they invoke a physical arousal.


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

Your reaction is different from mine. That is neither good, nor bad. It is merely different. That is all.

this is completely different in context from saying the smell of a loaf of bread is sensual. that is the nature of the term itself when used in varying contexts. i dont have anything against sensual...you seem to think i want to ban the term or the felling. nothing of the sort. i just dont think it should be used or evoked by using underage kids.


What is "underage" ?

Again, it is you that is doing the interpretation here. You seem to be defining a problem where I fail to see one. And that gets a whole lot worse ...



Where's the difference between a family's tasteful semi-clad or nude portraits, of the family, as against that same family's tasteful semi-clad or nude portraits of the family's members?


well, thats like saying that having sex with your wife in your private bedroom is pornography. it is not. it is sex. pornography is the display thereof of that sexual act to a wider audience for the purpose of sexual arousal. and once again, we refer to context. in this case we refer to the context of our western society in australia. would a nude photo of a family on the wall be "accepted" in this society ? i doubt it.


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

I would contend that some people in Australia would be horrified at this concept. I would also contend that there are many who might embrace it. I certainly have encountered it, and it has not bothered me at all.

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?



i think we'd ALL think it a little bizzare.


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

but put that in nigeria and the family portrait of nigerians like that is probably ok.


Why Nigeria? Why not South Africa?

What about Sweden?


So, where is the problem in allowing each person to exercise their own judgment?


this is not a question for me. this is a question for you. you are the one that said it wasnt sexual, it was sensual.


Actually, no; it is a question for you.

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 ?

so i'm asking you, where is that line between sensual and sexual ? why is it not ok for everyone to make their own judgement ? well, thats just not the way our society works. love it or not.


But in fact, it is. Who knows what you do, within the confines of your home?

With respect, who even cares ? :)


we live in a democracy with laws and acceptable standards in society based on that particualr society's culture. laws are not based on the judgement of individuals, they are based on what society, the state and the legal process deem as standards by which we are goverened.


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


So, where is the problem in allowing each viewer to draw their own connection?


i believe this has been done to death.


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


Perhaps, but as has been already noted, Henson has been doing this for years. I've been aware of his work for at least 15. What he's done here is nothing new for him.


if he has done these kinds of images which depict 12yo's nude in this way then it may not be new but imo its still wrong. i dont know his work so cant comment.


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 ...



And as I've also noted above, the front page work was all done by a journo, seemingly to push her own barrow, and perhaps her own prejudices. Don't you find that just a little bit troublesome?


not particulalry.


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.


Please pay attention to the details. Parking in a no-standing area may have an ill effect upon others, and thus doesn't fall within the boundaries of my precept. Likewise, shoplifting and insurance fraud also does have an ill effect upon others.


thats irrelevant to the argument. as i said, "i'm not hurting anyone" is not a defence or breaking a law however stupid that law may be and however justified you may feel in breaking it.


As I said, pay attention to the details: I never claimed any such defence, I merely stated my precept.

Voting: I have a problem with the concept of compulsory voting in an alleged democracy; surely we should be free to withhold our vote where we consider that nobody is deserving of the privilege of my vote. But again, that is irrelevant within this context.


actually, no its not irrelevant at all. its actually completely relevant to your premace of the way in which you live you life. we all like to be ideological like that and maybe a tad rebellious. but at the end of the day, you comply with that law despite the fact it bears no ill to others.


Where did I state which laws I comply with? I don't believe that I have. Your statements are seriously flawed, because you're working under potentially false assumptions.

Kind of like commenting on the work of an artist when you've not been exposed to that work. ;)

But within the context of what I have stated, when and if I break the law, if I'm caught, then I will be prepared to accept the consequences of those breaches of the law. I have no issues with that at all.


so why is this an issue here ? he broke the law.


Who said that?

The police haven't yet decided whom to charge, let alone what charges to lay.

And it is surely the courts' job to determine if the laws have been broken, and by whom.


But there is no inherent connection between a loaf of bread being baked, which can be very sensual, and a naked body, which may, or may not, be sensual.


going round in circles again. descibing a naked body as sensual is a very differnt context to saying a loaf of bread is sensual. the sescription of a naked body as sensual does have sexual or arousing connotations. perhaps not in the Gary Stark world but certianly in Australia as a whole.


But again, how is it that you are able to make such a call, on behalf of "Australia as a whole"?

I would respectfully suggest that your realm of expertise might be restricted to just yourself and your family, just as mine is restricted to myself and my family. Any suggestion by you to extend your opions beyond that realm is at best optimistic on your part, and perhaps verging upon offensive to some who might not agree with your PoV.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 8:01 pm

Alan,

Raskill wrote:
Adult concepts are pushed to the younger generations, in many instances, by ...adults. :)

But equally, many kids aspire to be "grown up".

And this is nothing new: two score and ten years hence I was playing with my parents' clothes, pretending to be a grown-up. Today, the only thing that has changed is that the clothes are my own. :)


I dont understand what your trying to say here :?


The point here is that kids, from a very young age, want to be grown up.


Playing dress ups in your parents clothes is quite different from being used as a nude model and having your prepubescent breasts shown on a gallery wall for all and sundry to come look at. Is a 12 year old child able to make (and fully comprehend the possible long term implications) such a decision. I seriously doubt it.


Some might be, many might not. Many 12yos would be capable though of informed and reasoned discussion about such matters with their parents. I would like to think that in this case, this process has been undertaken.

But what about 6 or 8 year olds who are encouraged by their parents to perform or appear in ads and the like? Is that better? Worse? Different?

Why?

And this is where the issue lies. These childrens parents have shown little or no thought in this process.


Do you know this as a fact? They may have given this great thought, and may think it's a great idea to have their child photographed by one of the world's foremost photographers.

That is not to say it's a good decision, but that is a different question from that which you've raised. :)

I also fail to understand the problem you have with censorship? Surely you understand the need for it at the extreme ends of the spectrum?


Which extreme ends of the spectrum?

Seriously, I see no need for censorship.

I don't do drugs, but I think a focus on prohibition is wrong: it's never worked, and it never will. I don't profess to have the answer, but the current attempts to address the drug problems clearly do not work.

Likewise, what purpose does censorship achieve?


Who makes the decision what you get to legally do and see?


Who has a right to?

I do not accept the parliament does. Hell, just look at them. We'll start with Orkopolous, and work our way up to the gutter from there, shall we?
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 8:05 pm

phillipb wrote:If it's illegal, close it down an charge them (whoever is responsible) and let them fight it in court.
If it's legal but immoral, let the public make up it's own mind.


The problem is that, if it's illegal, that won't be known until after the court case is completed.

But there are legal processes available, and the police, closing the exhibition down, is not the legal process.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby phillipb on Fri May 23, 2008 8:08 pm

gstark wrote:
phillipb wrote:If it's illegal, close it down an charge them (whoever is responsible) and let them fight it in court.
If it's legal but immoral, let the public make up it's own mind.


The problem is that, if it's illegal, that won't be known until after the court case is completed.

But there are legal processes available, and the police, closing the exhibition down, is not the legal process.


That's ok, they get a nice fat compensation and then they re open the exhibition. Where's the problem. :)
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Mrs Reschsmooth on Fri May 23, 2008 8:22 pm

Hi

I have to say I haven't read this whole thread yet, but Pat metnioned a bit of it.

Geoff, you asked what others thought - I was horrified by a couple of the partial images I did see. They are kids and all kids should be protected as well as their innocence.
I think it's the Mum coming out in me. There was another artist on the news saying something about this photographer being a really well known artist.....I don't care if Ansell Adams or Van Gogh took them, I don't think they are appropriate.

Anyway, there are my thoughts.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Reschsmooth on Fri May 23, 2008 8:46 pm

Gary, a couple of points:

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. 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.
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.
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.
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?

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.
Regards, Patrick

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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby gstark on Fri May 23, 2008 9:18 pm

Patrick,


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.

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?

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?

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!

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.

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.
g.
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Re: Bill Henson's Exhibition Closed Down

Postby Bugeyes on Fri May 23, 2008 9:26 pm

As for the images being art, well that’s for the individual to decide, personally I think the photographer chose to go down this road purely in a commercial sense to raise his profile. Something I can't fathom though, is how a young girl supposed to make an adult decision on whether it's appropriate to shed her clothes for arts sake? Will she have the same opinion when she's 25, 45? I think not.

For those who need a definition of child pornography they should read this: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/ ... /s91h.html
Last edited by Bugeyes on Fri May 23, 2008 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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