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Art vs. Porn—the debate continues!
So some photographer, Wyatt Neumann, took his two-year-old daughter on a cross-country trip, took some photos of her in her birthday suit. And we might have never known about these photos except that he came under some fire. People thought he was a pervert and a child molester. An article in The Huffington Post claims just the opposite: He is an artist and purveyor of beautiful and chivalrous things other than pornography, if that's even possible.
So what did the photographer father do about the controversy? If you guessed open up a gallery show of his photographs and share the story with several media outlets, then you are correct! Many of Wyatt Neumann's defenders would like to turn the accusations on his critics, suggesting that they themselves are the ones validating the images as pornography. Some people have pulled the "whoever smelt it, dealt it" card on this debate, as if that carries some relevance in the adult world.
In my opinion, this is a typical clash of the "Of course! But maybe…" scenarios worth dissecting. As in: "Of course his critics are themselves child perverts! Why else would they find these images of a two-year-old girl pornographic? But maybe…they are more interested in keeping the child safe from actual perverts." Conversely, there is also: "Of course the father is just interested in preserving memories of his daughter's youthful innocence, and he just so happened to be a professional photographer! But maybe…he could have kept these photos private and never posted them online…"
Chances are that many of his critics are not child pornography enthusiasts themselves, and they may not even be concerned parents. Some may just believe that any nude image of a child is a good nude image for an adult who likes child pornography. So, even if the photos are not risque, and I certainly don't think they are, they're still accessible to those who would see them like that.
The aforementioned Huffington Post article contains the following statement:
"Neumann was determined, somehow, to turn all the hate directed his way into something beautiful. Rather than ignoring the criticism lodged against him, he created a new series in which he juxtaposed the hateful comments with the corresponding images he maintained were innocent. What he created was a photography show that presents both sides of the moral debate, allowing each visitor to interpret the images individually."
Something beautiful, you say? That sounds pretty nice. Presenting both sides of the moral debate? I don't know about that. Seems to me like he is making money from a gallery show where the centerpiece is naked photos of his daughter, and the most aggressive and negative Internet comments are there to show that anyone who disagrees with him is either a censorship nutcase, a brainwashed Christian sensitive, or a child pornographer. His gallery isn't presenting 'two fair sides to the moral debate.' It's presenting a venue for people who agree with him to find his work beautiful and a place to laugh at his most aggressive and negative critics. There's nothing fair about that.
This particular comment stood out to me: "Every good thing you are and every good thing you do is cancelled out by the fact that you exploit your children. You truly have no right to do this to them." —skeptical girl is skeptical, April 26, 2014, 1:55pm
This commenter didn't even mention the nudity. The offense Neumann had committed, in her opinion, was using photos of his nude two-year-old daughter to advance his career and to make a moral statement with his art.
There's a thin line between what counts as exploitation and what doesn't, but usually using someone else's nudity to advance your career qualifies. So beyond the fact that the images are of his nude daughter, isn't it unfair that he is compromising his daughter's privacy at such a young age?
Being a photographer and artist myself, and having no interest in taking photos of nude little girls, I see the photos as another product. And, as we all know, not every product is made for everyone. Every product is made with a specific buyer in mind. I see the photos as having the potential to be pornographic as interpreted by the viewer. So what exactly is pornographic? Say you ask a clothed 22-year-old woman to sit down in front of the camera and pretend she is playing bongo drums. Nothing strange there. Okay, now you ask her to do the same position, but completely naked. Now you have NSFW! If any of us were looking at that sort of picture at work, we could be fired.
So I did some—ahem [intense cough]—research into the matter to compare the two-year-old girl's posing to the posing of the average [looks over shoulder inside this crowded Starbucks] nude model:
What reason would a woman have to crouch down naked on a road but to be sexy? Everyone knows that men drive on roads, and therefore it is the logical conclusion that their driving experience can only be enhanced by rampant nude women lining the streets!
I believe that Neumann fully anticipated the publicity and reactions the photographs of his daughter would bring. (After all, the guy works in advertising.) He also probably hates child pornography. As for preserving his daughter's innocence? In his own definition, his daughter's innocence is the ability to be naked and pee on the side of a road. By my definition, his daughter's innocence is having the privacy to do these things without the eyes of the world watching. If I released photos of myself naked and peeing on the side of the road, I might go to jail for that, as that is illegal in many counties. BUT THEY'LL NEVER HAVE PROOF IT WAS ME! Where the Hell is the photo gallery calling for the preservation of MY innocence???
America has plenty of double standards when it comes to nudity and censorship. In light of the recent leaks of nude photos of high profile celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, it's a sad state of the U.S. collective when we view any aspect of the nude female body as perverse. Fortunately for this baby girl, her nude leaks have already been taken care of.
#Real #Photography #Pornography #WyattNeumann #Censorship #NakedChildren #Censorship #FemaleBody #ArtVsPorn
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