Bill Henson Nude Teen Controversy

An exhibition by the Australian photographer Bill Henson was recently raided by police in Sydney, Australia. The Henson exhibition included images of a naked 13 year old girl. Photographs were taken and police are now investigating the matter.

australian young girl photo controversyThe announcement came as an online forensic expert said there was “no doubt” the controversial photographs had already made their way on to pedophile websites. “I’d be very surprised if the photos are not already (on pedophilia sites),” said law academic and computer forensic examiner Ajoy Ghosh, who has worked on several child pornography investigations. The Age

I have mixed feelings about the controversy. He does make beautiful photos but I don’t think artists are above the law. If it’s wrong for a kiddie porn website to have photos of underage nude girls on them, it should be wrong for an art gallery to hang them. But I don’t like rules or the law very much either, so who knows.

Update: I’m lazy and couldn’t be bothered replying to anymore emails about the Bill Henson photo so I have covered up two of the more provocative bits of the photo. I won’t be taking the photo down unless you have a badge and are kicking my door down though, so please don’t ask me to. If you have an opinion to express on the Bill Henson teen photo, share it with us all by leaving a comment on this post.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. I really, truly did not appreciate having to look at this apparently illegal photograph. Covering this story did not require reprinting Exhibit A.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s child pornography.

    Henson is being dumped by the major airlines, he is over, it is sickening that it is impossible to type his name without illegal material jumping out at you.

    Henson is a child pornography epidemic in his sown right.

    I also note the pro-paedophile web-sites are going crazy for him.

  3. it’s all in the mind, isn’t it..

    every human being on the planet goes through this age, you, me, everyone …. cannot get more natural than that

    your mind makes the meaning you see.

    if you have a pornographic mind, you see porn, if you have an illumined mind, you see the lighting, if you have a beautiful mind, you see the beauty, if you have an innocent mind, you see the innocence …

    shall i go on?

    enjoy, gregory

  4. This photo was well worth posting. Firstly, it’s beautiful. Secondly, it most certainly is NOT pornography. Thirdly, how can we have an informed debate without seeing the evidence? Fourthly, only today I saw photos of a girl of I’d guess about 10 0r 11 flashing her legs in cheerleaders routines. MacDonalds are giving them away to kids in London. Pinups for weeny boppers. How’s that for child exploitation?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Worth a thousand words…
    Link to interesting video about Bill Henson’s photographic work:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaEi9ESRB8o

  6. Yeah, I thought the post would have been useless without the picture. And as far as I could learn, it’s not an illegal image. Sorry if it offends anyone, but I would rather keep online.

    I agree Gregory. It can be a very innocent and beautiful image if it’s looked at in an innocent way.

  7. You have every right to post the photo, after all, all the major newspapers already have!

    I think it is ridiculous that there are people out there who are labeling this ‘pornography’. What kind of society are we in, that when presented with an image of a naked figure, all we can see is sex. Gregory is right, such as interpretation says more about the viewer than the image does.

    The irony is that none of the ‘pro-paedophiles’ would even have known of its existence had a child abuse advocate not brought it to the publics attention. The media furore surrounding this girl, added with the Prime Minister’s opinion that the image is ‘revolting’ is doing far worse to this girls self-esteem that it would have when viewed in a gallery, as an object of beauty.

    As to the law, according to many lawyers Bill Henson is protected because pornography and obscenity laws in Australia make allowances for art. After all, in the world of art, whether we find an image obscene or not, we have to allow artists the freedom to express it. That is what is so great about our society, and it is arts most basic social function. Either everything is ok, or nothing is.

    And may I remind people that Bill Henson (one of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists) did not have sex with a minor, he photographed one in a pose that alludes to any contraposto standing nude throughout history (ie. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus/ Van Eyck’s Eve). Should we not be taking a Kantian ‘disinterested’ approach and recognise its aesthetic beauty?

  8. just because shes naked doesnt mean you’re supposed to view it in a sexual way. thats why people think its porn, when its clearly not. its a beautiful photo and anyone that has problems with the natural human body featured in the ‘way god intended it’ in this photo probably has problems with their own natural body. enough said.

  9. Just because dirty minded pigs, and others choose to view it as porn and use the image for that does not make it PORN. Having said that, I have two minds about it also but I can’t support the vilification and harmonizations of an artist. I have had the unfortunate experience of a real pornographer (he went to jail for it with my help thank you very much) who took photos of children and they are not interested in taking photos like this. It’s a beautiful photograph and reminds me of a statue which emphasizes beauty and innocence. Sadly there are those who can only see it one way! shrug!

  10. I meant demonization.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is PORN…and why a grown man would want to take this picture indicates to me a petifile tendancies which is at the core of the decay in our society…if you support this you support pettifiles

  12. Anonymous says:

    quote: “This is PORN…and why a grown man would want to take this picture indicates to me a petifile tendancies which is at the core of the decay in our society…if you support this you support pettifiles”.

    Learn to spell, read a book, go to a gallery and view some art, then maybe you will be entitled to an opinion on a matter such as this one.

  13. its is of course a lil depraved showing underage kids nude photo, but i dont agree in saying that law is always above the art. cause laws vary from country to country, and the perceptio of art does not abey any specific law.
    maybe their parents aproved of such photos to be shown, but if they did, maybe the kids would regret later in life.

  14. the question is not, is it art, or is it porn …. it is this:

    we live in a world where there are many different values (see above thread) and how should we handle presenting things that some love, some hate?

    personally, i despise everyone here who says it is porn, and see them as the problem, and i am sure the reverse is true …

    so, how do we live in such a world??

    that is the question to answer here

  15. no that isn’t true, I don’t despise someone for having a different view. I may not totally agree with them, but I respect and understand their concern. I just personally don’t see it in the same light. What I find problematic is how some feel because they see something as bad that it warrants total censorship and criminalizing someone. Let’s go after the real criminals, the one’s that take the kind of pictures that show abuse of a child’s body parts in graphic detail.

  16. Corrine, your experience makes me feel more comfortable about liking this image. I’m not one to be influenced by peer pressure, but people do look at you funny when youre male and say that you think an image of a naked young girl is beautiful.

    I think it’s sad that people have to pretend that such a beautiful image is disgusting or repulsive just because a small percentage of people have sick minds.

    The Australian prime minister calling the image revolting mustnt have made the girl or the mother feel too confident about themselves. But imagine if he called it beautiful; Newspapers would have headlines that the prime minister is a paedophile and likes young girls.

    I’m not sure where one draws the line though, so I dont mind photographs like these being scrutinized. I just hope the prudes and uptight know it alls don’t have the final word on the matter. Im sure Bill Henson doesnt mind the scrutiny either as he just scored himself and extra 15 minutes fame.

  17. Anonymous says:

    “You have every right to post the photo, after all, all the major newspapers already have!”

    Still a violation of the UNCRC and CEDAW, advanced nations, generally decline to publish photos of children who are part of sex crime investigation, even if they have their clothes on.

    It is however an indication of why Henson was still getting away with stuff in Australia long after other jurisdictions had stamped down on him and prohibited the displays.

    I assume you noticed that newspapers in London etc. were not publishing the photos, similarly, in England by endorsing Henson, one could be excluded from working in schools, colleges and with U18, that’s the way vetting & child protection works there.

    It is a bit like saying all blacks should go back to Africa, one can get banned from certain jobs because of a view, even if not acted upon.

    So by validating Henson’s extreme material, one could get in trouble if the gallery had school parties visiting etc.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “Im sure Bill Henson doesnt mind the scrutiny either as he just scored himself and extra 15 minutes fame.”

    Is it worth anything if one loses London, Berlin and NYC? The reason he is being defended by hicks from the sticks, is because the smart money is in the know.

  19. Anonymous says:

    “Learn to spell, read a book, go to a gallery and view some art, then maybe you will be entitled to an opinion on a matter such as this one.”

    Compared to Henson’s little (girl) michief, the fella you are chiding is a mere novice.

    The spec is, it is child pornography, legally, officially, we are only waiting for Australia to fall into line, and in fifty years, maybe Japan will as well.

    Henson is banned from some countries because of his quirky fascination with naked children.

  20. nothing is pornographic, except in your mind … the image is only pixels, or only pigment , it is you who give it it’s meaning … i think from this conversation on this thread, lot of rednecks in oz … who knew?

  21. Anonymous says:

    a grown man looks at a teenage girl, and thinks “take your top off so i can take your photo, its alright, im an artist”. surely this is sick, how can this be defended by anyone not a pedophile.
    it seems henson has an obsession with naked teens, how can such an obsession not be classed as pedophilea.and dont paint me as uncivilised, uneducated or uncultured simply because i dont attempt to hide a sick obsession by calling it ‘art’.

  22. This is no more distastful than Rafeal’s naked angel children from way back when. There is nothing sexaul about the photo other than the nudity. it’s the 21 century, for goodness sake. We all know what the human body looks like at all ages. what’s the big deal?

  23. Anon states: “surely this is sick, how can this be defended by anyone not a pedophile.”

    BEcause Anon, pedophiles don’t take pictures like this, they take pictures that show a violation of a child’s genitalia from extreme angles. Their camera work is as crude and vulgar as the images, and the people taking the pictures are doing it with the the vulgar intentions of eliciting a vulgar response.
    Have you EVER seen a child porn photo? I am guessing not. It isn’t a pretty nude picture of a girl and it certainly isn’t done by people who have a passion for photography and publicly share that passion.

    I have no sympathy for Henson, he makes his own artistic choices and has to accept the consequences for his art as we all do BUT please spare me the umbrage. Where is the global anger for a justice system that continues to deal leniently with sex offenders, continues to put them back out on the street and the fact that the USA is one of the only countries that still won’t sign and Ratify CEDAW!!!!!

  24. It is a good image, but not great. Unfortunately, in this day and age when sick people will take family pictures off personal blogs and web sites to exploit…

    Sharing this image needs to be reconsidered.

    Rosh
    http://www.prosperousartists.com

  25. I use models for a lot of work, But to me anyone who needs to use a child
    to earn a living should not be in the art world. For over thirty years,I have photographed anything and
    everything,But never used a naked child(never will)and called it art.
    This dude is sick and should be in jail.

    Ps some black spots would be good on exhibit A

  26. i will keep maurwe’s comment to remind me to stay out of australia

  27. I like the photo, it’s real art.

    Please do not remove it from site.

    If someone’s offended, it’s his own problem. Only real perverts treats art like porno… Most pedophiles fights for public moral to cover their dirty thoughts.

  28. Fiona Wilson says:

    Well just an update for all who haven’t heard the news yet, for all of you who supported art and all those who vilify it; the official verdict is in:

    1. Only a few days ago the Australian Classification Board gave Bill Henson’s photographs a PG rating (parental guidance recommended) and deemed the image “mild”. They stated that “the image of breast nudity… creates a viewing impact that is mild and justified by context… and is not sexualised to any degree”.

    2.In addition Police stated that they would NOT be prosecuting Bill Henson over his photographs “We looked at the possibility of breaches to the Crimes Act. The advice given to us is that a successful prosecution was unlikely… Matters involving the law and art are notoriously difficult…”

    HA! VICTORY! Sorry, but what more do you critics with pitchforks want? Not pornography, considered PG. So please take those ridiculous stickers off that beautiful work of ART.

  29. Now that looks really rude!

  30. I’ll take the stickers off if you deal with the nutters and fanatics for me Fiona ;-)

    I havent had any personal attacks or emails about the Henson picture since I covered her up and that’s the way I would like it to remain.

    I don’t have time to save the world or change how people think. I just want to live my life and let others live theirs.

    Dion

  31. laughing at dion … “let others live theirs” … how you can tell the different levels of people, more highly developed think like you do, lesser developed want you to live like they do …

    spiral dynamics, look it up, a good metaphor

    i fell in love with the paintings of brett whiteley, now that was a tolerant guy

    enjoy. glad you got some blog action

  32. This is stupid.

    I see nothing wrong with this. It is art. Pornography is explicit…this is obviously not particularly explicit. This is the human body, which people…especially in America, seem to be deathly afraid of. As long as there was consent from the girl, I don’t see what’s so wrong.

    I am not a pedophile, I happen to be a 13 year old girl as well.

    Yes, it is against the law…and I think it should be against the law…Argh, I guess things would be different if people didn’t abuse their rights to take artful images of naked underage kids in the first place.

    So…I don’t know how I would solve this case.

  33. I’ll look into Spiral Dynamics Gregory. I have heard the term while reading about Ken Wilber.. Im not sure if he talks about spiral dynamics but I have been meaning to grab a book or two by him.

  34. I love the thoughtfulness of the comments. I read some excellent advice and some righteous philosophical insight.

    I agree with the people who describe the photograph as beautiful and innocent and those who intimate this is an Adam and Eve before-the-fall thing, in that the porn aspect is generated within the eye of the beholder.

    I wish you would remove the blue-green discs. Now they seem pornographic!

  35. I don’t like the photo being covered up either Joyce, but it’s easier for me this way. People stopped contacting me about the image after I covered it up, so I’m not about to provoke them into firing up their poison pens again.

    Naked young girls make some people crazy and I have to respect that(or at least react to it), especially if theyre sending their craziness my way.

    Life is too short to be dealing with people that have too much spare time on their hands.

  36. Anonymous says:

    “Only a few days ago the Australian Classification Board gave Bill Henson’s photographs a PG rating (parental guidance recommended) and deemed the image “mild”. They stated that “the image of breast nudity… creates a viewing impact that is mild and justified by context… and is not sexualised to any degree”.

    She’s an alleged sex abuse victim (at the time), and folks are publishing her photo. The police were in the middle of an investigation.

    (nice one Australia, that’s a first, even third world countries don’t do that)

    Not sexualized? Apart from the fact that the artist in question is has a child porn fetish going back years, other than that, I can’t imagine why it can’t be family viewing.

    It’s child pornography elsewhere though, Bill’s been banned from lots of galleries because of his kiddie art fetish. Even some of the galleries on Alison Croggon’s list are shy of continuing the relationship.

    Can you guess why, because he simply can’t stop the kiddie stuff, people have asked him, chided him, he just can’t stop, he’s addicted to his child porn freak show.

  37. Anonymous says:

    To Anonymous
    You are based in a country where your president thinks the verdict is still out on evolution? Enough said.

  38. Anon & Anon, play nice and stick to the topic or I’ll delete your comments.

  39. Anonymous says:

    HOlY Beeep!
    How could you guys not think that this is porn!
    This photo hass porn written all over for gods sake!
    I mean its alright i guess if you take a photo of a grown women nude…
    But not a thirteen year old girl!!!
    I mean actually taking the photo is bad enough and then they hang it in a gallerry!
    Whoever took this photo has a sirious problem!

  40. Only filthy minds can see filth in art, said Egon Schiele. And I think the same. Some would have imprisoned even Nabokov and burn all copies of “Lolita”. And though “Lolita” remains what has always been, one of the most accomplished piece of literature.

  41. The problem is that the photo on display here may be only the tip of the iceburg! I believe there are others with girls sitting with legs open and another posing with menstral blood on running down her leg. If this stuff is considered “ART” and gets hung in state and national galleries, I want my tax dollars withdrawn from their funding.

  42. This person was not hurt and the picture is lovely. I have seen child porn and this aint it.

  43. Anonymous says:

    She is soooooooooooooo cute

  44. how does this fare compared to the work of david hamilton (et consorts) ?

  45. I guess they would both have to deal with similar issues Julien.

  46. Anonymous says:

    The way many people say this is an artistic photo and only some people view it the wrong way, reminds me of the inventors and scientists in 1980′s cartoons like transformers and g.i. joe.
    “we invented this: machine that projects a huge beam of energy, giant robot ninja, unstoppable super tank, to help man kind, how could we know that Cobra, the Decepticons, Mummra, would steal it and use it for evil.
    USE YOUR HEAD! everything WILL BE used wrong by someone. I would Bet money that there are pedophiles watching sesame street so this is just a thirty store tall “dinner bell” for those sick freaks.

  47. That’s the point that some people are making Anon; should we ban Sesame Street just because paedophiles watch it too?

    Should we ban art that uses kids?

    Maybe we should cover them with a blanket everytime they leave the house too, because there’s plenty of sick people in public.

    Where do we draw the line?

    It is a topic that has to be talked about though as it is our job as adults to protect children.

  48. Those of you who do not make your livelihoods as artists are off of the mark with regard to this image. A nude alone does not constitute that piece being art and simply because the image evokes or emotes a response make it pornography. Not everything we view is art – in fact some of our most celebrated “artists” take for instance Damian Hurst, do not make art but rather schlock. A genuine piece of art measurably and substantially changes some or many aspects of another human beings life upon their viewing of the work. It seems as if a 13 year old girl can emote a response out of many invoking the “Its pornography!” response. In cultures other than Western there is a distinct difference between how the human body and its nakedness impact the family unit and the individuals therein. Japan for instance highly regards the human form and a very large part of but private family practice revolves around the onsen – or the bath. It is a beautiful culture which involves cleanliness, health, exercise, and even relaxation and de-stressing after and during the bath. The Japanese and their outlook on being unclothed is on the contrary, the opposite way of how many westerners respond to nakedness! Nakedness actually is everything to be respected, admired, appreciated and even a touch of thankfulness for the opportunity of being alive – all these are intrinsic values and not any of them focus on the outwared and so-called “nudity.” We westerners are plagued with viewing much nudity in our lives and confuse that with nakedness – Nudity for the most part is like another form of clothing put on or not put on to entice, to seduce to tease. Take for instance nylons, garters, high heels, and not much else – that is the uniform we know as nudity. Nakedness focuses on intrinsic elements such as: purity and as one gent already shared earlier, innocence, beauty, health, peace, safety, calm, serenity and mostly being comfortable within ones own skin. I havent seem many of this Hensen fellows photography but I have seen cultures outside of our own that view the human body in ways I have attempted to describe and even higher. It is those cultures that I try to shield from this sort of discussion until we ourselves determine whether an image of a young girl is enough to ruin your day and force one to commit crimes or determine that there is no harm done. This is our internal cultural argument and those who settled that quietly among themselves centuries ago are deserving of our respect and regard to leave them alone to practice their own values and beliefs.
    I myself do not feel that this image with or without the John Baldasari dots is pornographic at all – not even close!
    thanks

  49. First of all, there is nothing illegal about this image in Australia, UK, Europe or USA to name a few.

    The model isnt engaged in a sexual activity or being depicted in a sexual manor. It also doesnt focus on certain parts of her body either. They are what would make it illegal.

    If you find this offensive, then you are highly unintelligent. You should be looking at the composition the photographer has used, ironically he uses shadow to hide the parts which are really bad. You should also note the models body language, she is taking the role of a child who has been ‘stripped’ of her innocence.

    And just so you know, im a photography student, we did a section on critisizing photography/art. Last year i also took Psychology and Law, so i know what im talking about.

    And i agree with gregory about it being the viewers perception. Perverts will be turned on, anyone who is intellectual or artistic will definitely see this as art.

  50. After reading most of the replies here, I am left scratching my head…

    I don’t believe a 10, 11, 12, 13…year old has the life experience/maturity yet to understand the consequences that posing for one of these photos could have.

    Not one person here has talked about the real issue, and that is the children in these photos and how they will feel about them in years to come when it is floating around their classmates email in high school. What will they feel about it when they are fifteen and someone they work with at the local grocery store shows a copy to their fellow employees.

    There are reasons we have age of consent laws in most countries. If you are an mature adult, understand the consequences, and still decide to pose for a nude portrait/photo, then go right ahead. But when you take a child who doesn’t understand the consequences, and exploit them by putting them in front of the lens, it is frightening.

    Porn or not, in the society we live in, with digital media and the ease that it can be transmitted and reused/published without consent, there should be less willingness to create something like this.

  51. Anonymous says:

    This is a mute subject for those who understand very little about art. This is art.

    If we can allow grown men and women to subject Beauty Pageant Queens aged 5, 6, to their early teens to act grown up this should be brought to light in this case.

    This is art, stunning beauty of the human form.

    It is upto the psychology of the mind viewing the image.

  52. Yeah i think that the person who posted after me took this out of context.

    It is wrong to exploit not only children but anyone.

    This photographer had permission from the parents, therefore it doesnt matter what anyone says.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if someone like me, a 16 year old girl, were to take these same photographs of teens and how different the response would be…would I too be considered a sick, perverted person? Or because of my age and gender would I simply be viewed as an artist displaying the beaty of the human body in its transition between childhood and adulthood? Our society has gotten so bad that people on the street feel a sense of unease when they see a father holding their female childs hand. It is the conservative idea’s and values of society that are pumped into people’s minds that automatically make them react to these images in such a negative way…Dont believe everything you read people and THINK FOR YOURSELVES!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Nudity and Pornography are not the same thing. Child nude art is not illegal. Child pornography is. Legal there is a difference. Pornography must either include a lude or suggestive pose, or focus on the genitals or obviously involve sex. So by this definition a picture of a fully clothed person could be porn while a picture of a nude person may not be. This picture is not porn and this is just a witch hunt. They should be chasing down pedophiles not artists.

  55. Nudity and pornography are not the same thing. In fact, by the very act of censoring this photo, you have not made it more pure; it is your classification of it as sexual that has sexualized it.

  56. The photo doesn’t look like porn,especialy when you take his other work into consideration, but you can’t take pictures of naked children with the intention of selling them. And Im not agreeing with some of the other “not porn” comments above just to make it clear.

  57. I think the artist is responsible for his/her art.

    If people think this is porn, you are half right.
    I do not think this certain piece of art is porn, but can lead to pedophiliac behavior in some people… If someone views this as porn they will explore those feelings of lust for a child…. If they view this as art it’s art and nothing else…

    but I do see the points of view for both sides of this discussion

  58. Anonymous says:

    i do not think it is porn at all, rather an image which has been shown to an over-protective, highly strung society. My only concern after reading through these posts it that people who believe this is porn, only believe it because the image is of a 13 year old girl and claim that if it was of a woman, the situation would be different. i dont understand how a person can have such a huge intolerance to porn, but then think if it were a woman as the main subject it would not matter whether it was porn or not. it is fine, because its a woman?? and what does that say about societies sexual view towards women? allowed to be seen in a pornographic way with out controversy??

  59. The only thing indecent about this picture is the two spots hiding her nipples. They make it SEEM indecent, much in the way a person can be made to sound indecent by randomly beeping out words they say. I wish you would show the original version, because the human body is NOT indecent!

  60. Corax, I couldnt be bothered dealing with people that are afraid of nudes, so I think I’ll just leave the dots. I don’t have time to deal with whackos. Does it mean they win? no, it means I win because I have more time to do the things I want to do.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful Pictures of a Non-Sexual nature. When will the world realize that a naked body is beautiful under the age of 18? Only western and capitalist countries are so adept at raising age of consent laws. Anyone in said countries are branded sex offenders if they even look at photos of females under 18.

  62. It’s a non-sexual image… What happen to you people thinking about sex all the time?
    To photograph native childs naked is illegal too?
    In a few years they will arrest who shows naked babies.

  63. Anonymous says:

    I think this is beautiful. I am 14 years old any I know many people my age who pose nude. I am a boy, yes but, as I said I know many kids who have done this. I don’t think of this as porn, it is the way we were made. Just because you are a boy and look at naked girls and vice versa doesn’t make you a pedo or a pervert. My friends agree!

  64. Anonymous says:

    The model is not in any sexual position, has not been manipulated by the artist to arouse sexual feelings in the observer. The phtoto is of a young human being in their natural, unclothed state, nothing more. It is as simple in its portrayal as a naked child in medieval paintings – a cherub, baby jesus – of which there are thousands of examples.

    If you, as an observer, upon seeing this image label it ‘pornography’, it is You who are rendering it sexual, it is Your eyes that are rendering it something ‘sickening’, it is Your brain that it has turned it into ‘filth’.

    It would be wise and much more useful to all of us if You were to accept this and deal with it, rather than demonising the artist and defiling such a peaceful, beautiful image with Your perverse judgements.

  65. If you find that picture sexual then you are the one with the problem. Its just a naked young girl showing absolutely nothing sexual.

    Erik Steel, If you are getting sexual feelings from looking at that then your the one I am worried about

  66. Nudity is not wrong or shocking or immoral, regardless the age. These are not sexual pictures, and this whole line of objection is much ado about nothing. Once again it is society – a loud minority of society anyway – being upset over an unclothed body. If we were all meant to go around nude in front of each other, we’d be born that way!

  67. The last 20 years or so have seen concern about a social issue turn into a paranoid, small minded witch hunt that deletes any notion of ‘context’ for such. Those who see it as porn are no doubt the kind of parents that never let their children see them naked or can ever talk openly about such things. These are the people that create the weirdos in our society, they create the repressed, uneducated, unenlightened, dirty minded fools their children turn into, people incapable of seeing the beauty. And the whole world suffers because of such sanctimonious, narrow mindedness that has now rooted itself in politics through the vicious media paranoia that serves only to sell their newspapers, and TV stations. Western society should be ashamed of itself to stoop so low and ensure the history that those in the future will read will be that of a destructive mindless and moronic propaganda no less a cancer on humanity than that of the communist regimes. Shame on us.

  68. This is not pornography, neither is it a violation of the children involved. We don’t find nudity so ‘revolting’ in paintings, some of the greatest painters in the world have and still do use nudes. We think of the pictures of Marilyn Monroe as art and very good art at that, why are these pictures any different. They may be of young children but to be honest i dont think that many people who actually viewed them found them incriminating. It is a continuation of Henson’s theme of using light and dark subject matters and the shadow is probably more important than the actual body of these children.

    Similar pictures are shown in Newcastle by Henson and all had to go through various authorities before they were allowed to be shown. All were shown, none were complained of, noone cares, they are legitimiate works of art.

    Another point has to be the fact that these photographs are not meant to entice nor repulce but invoke an interest in the viewer.

    In the world we live in the only reason i can see why anyone reacted to this art was the fact that it was a child used, but childhood is a changing thing at the moment and it makes hardly any difference now whether someone is 14 or 40 they are now effectively the same.

    Obviously i find child pornography wrong, but pornography is meant to seduce or entice but these photographs invoke an interest but it is not an interest in the actual person, it is an interest in the nature of the picture and the thought provoking nature of the nudity or the untold narrative.

    child pornography is wrong – i agree with that

    this is not pornography
    it is i think a perfectly legitimate work of art and a very interesting one at that.

  69. Indistinguishable sex. Hmmm…

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  1. [...] So, as much as I hate censorship, I’m not really sure how I feel about cases like this. The Australian photographer Bill Henson has dealt with similar [...]

  2. [...] Bill Henson’s Nude Teen Photos – Australian photographer Bill Henson created a debate that quickly spread around the world. [...]

  3. [...] Earlier in the year he had his Roslyn Oxley9 exhibition in Sydney raided by police with several nude photos being seized (and later returned). Henson was labelled everything from a pornographer to a [...]

  4. [...] editor poking a stick at the nest of a lot of noisy hornets. After the recent uproar over the Bill Henson teen photos in Australia, there’s only one reason to be publishing a cover with a naked young girl on it, [...]

  5. […] Elizabeth Sawdon – Edward with Sleeping Sisters. In an ideal world, naked young girls should be perfectly innocent.. I wish this was an ideal world, but it’s not. See some of the discussion that Bill Henson creates. […]

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