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Oscar Winner: It's Not Child Porn!

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Cate Blanchett pleaded to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to reconsider comments he made about photographer, Bill Henson's display of a nude 13-year-old girl. She says it's art.

child_porn_extended.jpg

Last week, a number of the images that were to be exhibited at the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery in Paddington, Sydney were seized by police with the intention of charging him with "publishing an indecent article" under the Crimes Act. Rudd called the photos "revolting."

We felt uncomfortable posting the uncensored photograph, but you can see it on theage.com.

In response to this, a letter signed by Blanchett among others, stated that "The potential prosecution of one of our most respected artists... does untold damage to our cultural reputation."

Another person coming to Henson's defense is Zahava Elenberg who was 12 when she posed for a series of dark and evocative, though clothed, photographs taken by Bill Henson over 20 years ago..."I absolutely support Bill Henson. I'm a parent myself and I abhor child pornography, but this is not child pornography. It's artistic and creative." Source: Fairfax Digital

We are all for artistic expression seeing this image does make one wonder a few things.  What mom would sign her daughter up for this kind of "opportunity?"  And who is buying these photographs and what are they using them for?


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19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Artsy Pride May 30, 2008, 1:41 PM

I think so many people in this country are so repressed, they want to slap the porn label ANY type of nudity.

The human body is BEAUTIFUL and showcasing it is not evil…

Why not get to the real issue?

PORN shouldn’t be viewed as “evil” because of the nudity involved—PORN is bad because it’s (usually) very degrading to women, to men, to the human sexual act and love itself.

Therein lies the HUGE difference between art and porn.

Naomi May 30, 2008, 4:59 PM

I’m sorry, I’m a full time artist and a parent, and while I understand the beauty of the art, I think this was a bad judgment call on the part of the artist. Furthermore, I would never sign my kids on for something like this, as there are too many people who would use this kind of art AS porn. I am not responding with repression, but more in the safety of the child. It’s unfortunate, but we do not live in a world that appreciates the beauty of the body in all its forms and developments, but more in a world where there are those to invade that beauty and make it perverse. This is why it is so important to protect them, even in the world of art.

I am not sure they should prosecute because his intentions do not seem to be pervasive, but he should not be allowed to show the work. I shudder at the thought of what kind of people would flock to this exhibit knowing that their are images of naked minors.

April May 30, 2008, 5:27 PM

My only problem with this picture is that the model is a 13 year old girl. I see nothing wrong with nude pictures, if done tastefully. However, in the world would let their young daughter pose nude for the world to see?

Tazia May 30, 2008, 6:25 PM


In the UK, it is the most downloaded child pornography element in history. The SOA 2003 was legislated precisely because of people like Bill Henson.

If you want to know why Britain has tens of millions of extreme child pornography transactions, it is because, t was a normal state of play, the UK, or for that matter Japan, is a society, where child pornography, became a regular hobby.

This presser from the Brit version of the NCMEC notices the criminalization of Hensonesque child pornography.

‘NSPCC - Media Centre - Media Briefings - Sexual Offences Act 2003The NSPCC believes that if sexual abuse of children is to be addressed …. It is now illegal for papers and magazines to show pictures of topless girls …
www.nspcc.org.uk/whatwedo/mediacentre/mediabriefings/
policy/Sexual_Offences_Act_2003_wda40640.html Note this’


Henson was simply doing that female child fetish thing. The photo was squirted all over the internet before the police raided a single gallery.

What we are looking at, is an attempt to decriminalize indecent images of children,

in the UK it is child pornography, and the game-plane is to get as many folks as possible circulationg this image.

This is transgressive sexual politics, the pedophile groups who have picked up on it, are telling their Australian friends, to become too many to arrest.

It is like Holland, the pedophiles were drunk with cash from brothels, gay bars, pornography and they threw money at sex-posi feminism, and went hell for leather to make child pornography normal, they almost got away with it.

The Australian issue is a similar gig, do you notice that a mainstream paper is publishing an image the police are raiding galleries over, that’s a newspaper telling the cops to bring it on.

What respectable newspaper published topless photos of a 13 yar old girl?

Kate May 30, 2008, 7:40 PM

Worth a thousand words…

Link to interesting video about Bill Henson’s photographic work:

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

vicki May 30, 2008, 9:25 PM

I think the nude body is art if used in that aspect, but for a 13yrd, thats just wronge. She might not even fully understand, and feel like she had to do it. To have it in an art form I would say they could have done it in a painting sence with out the youngeness of here face showing. There are to many sick people out there.

BM May 30, 2008, 11:24 PM

this is just odd

jean May 31, 2008, 1:22 AM

it is just plain wrong for a mother to sign her 13 yr old daughter up to pose nude, whether it be for an art exhibit, a Calvin Klein ad, or a movie with an adult theme. It is crazy!

jan May 31, 2008, 1:26 AM

it’s all about how the girl feels about doing the modeling. your story says that one girl had no problems posing at age 12, but I can’t help but feel it’s somehow creepy.

stinkybrat41 May 31, 2008, 1:21 PM

if it quacks, walks, sounds like a duck, people it’s a duck. PORN IS PORN in any country, language or form. especially if this “art” involves underage children-that’s a minor under 18.

Julie June 13, 2008, 10:15 AM

I agree with Naoimi. While the artist and other people might view this as nothing more than a piece of art, there are far too many people out there who won’t appreciate the “beauty” or meaning in this picture, and will simply see a naked child. Art is a matter of perception and interpretation. Too many people out there will perceive and interpret this as pornographic, whether it is or not. Since that is the case, I do not believe the artist should be punished because he did not intend this picture to be pornographic and did not take it for pornographic reasons. However, it should not be on public display. Count this as a Van Gogh moment, Henson.

britneyzencka June 18, 2008, 7:31 PM

I think that the pic can be art if they are pic from the caller bone up with there close on and i think that girls in the pic is NOT conferable and may have bean pushed to do it plus any one how has a camera has copy and how to say that he is not publishing them be hind your back? i think anyone mom or dad doing this is just as bad as the one taking them and should have there head looked at.Now as to this Kalvin cline thing i now personally that the company will not hire anyone under 18 for thou’s sorts of pic that’s why there not in trubble with the law.

poe August 13, 2008, 4:24 PM

really sick. seriously why is there any controversy as to whether or not this is innapropriate. if you still have questions just imagine the girl as your daughter. Now imagine some man getting his jollies on while looking at her…does that help change your mind?

poe August 13, 2008, 4:26 PM

really sick. seriously why is there any controversy as to whether or not this is innapropriate. if you still have questions just imagine the girl as your daughter. Now imagine some man getting his jollies on while looking at her…does that help change your mind?

K. Cleaver September 8, 2008, 11:05 AM

The problem is this girl is too young to understand the problems she may run into later in life because of this image.

Future problems could be:

-Will she be a wife? Is she going to be proud of it when her “husband to be” sees it? Is she going to be proud when

-Is she going to be a teacher? How is the 6th grade class that she is teaching react when one of the kids finds the image on the net?

-Is she going to be a role model for young kids? What does this image say to them?

-Is she going to want to become a mayor, governor, or even president? What do you think this image will do to her campaign?

-How embarrassed will she be when her college boyfriend runs across it when he googles her name when they start dating?

How dare her parents or care givers make a potientially damaging decision like this? It’s sad that it will be part of her personal image forever.

Marie E. Ayuso September 30, 2008, 8:53 AM

If you believe in nude photos of your family, keep them to yourself…do not post them…frankly a naked child is a un-attractive photo, well to me…and this photo is soft porn photo…

Anonymous September 15, 2009, 8:58 AM

In art. If you must censor this, then go through every museum of art and censor every single nude child you come across. That includes the cherubs because they look like kids. :p Get over yerselfs.

NovoAetas December 13, 2010, 6:25 AM

The idea that nudity equals art is increasingly prevalent in the modern west. There seems to be the idea that, because there could be someone who becomes aroused by an image, we must hide that image, lest they become aroused. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, this would have to account for people with fetishes, as it already includes those with a fetish for children. Should children then further be forced to hide their bare feet in public because a pedophile with a foot fetish would because around by it?

It seems this line of thinking—that the production of something, even if entirely innocent to the majority of the population, must be banned on the possibility that it will cause inappropriate arousal—is a slippery slope, very similar to what led to the Hijab and other, more extensive Muslim body coverings. I’m not necessarily saying I disagree with the Hijab, but I personally think it has been ineffective in its stated goal of protecting woman from the male gaze, as such attempts as censorship with be in protecting children.

The counter argument to this is that most people do find the naked body of a child somehow offensive or wrong, which is a worrying prospect in and of itself.

NovoAetas December 13, 2010, 6:27 AM

* Sorry, that “nudity equals porn”. Heh, that’s what I get for not proof reading.


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