24 May 2008

Henson Flap

Untitled (1992-93) ~ Photograph © Bill Henson

I suppose it is not really surprising that Australian authorities are censoring an exhibition of Bill Henson's photographs. You can find some of the details here. I am not naive enough to imagine 12 and 13 year old kids are asexual. But they are kids. And I really don't find Henson's work depicting pre-teens in various states of more or less provocative undress terribly interesting. I have said as much here before. I like his ships way more. But given that we have 15 year old girls posed like this - in various states of more or less provocative undress - on the cover of mass circulation magazine covers, it is hard to get all that worked up about a gallery exhibition. Here is the statement from the gallery about the censored photographs. And, let's be quite clear, what is going on here surely is censorship.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're defending this Henson guy, than what's your beef with the Hannah Montana photos? Seems a little hypocritical to me, Jimbo. And please don't give me this bullshit that Henson is an artist and therefore he gets a pass!

24 May, 2008 18:37  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Anon... If I really wanted to know who you are it seems like I could just look up 'dense' or 'dim' in the dictionary. Your picture, name & address must be right there.

What is my complaint here? I don't like photographers who exploit kids, whether they are Henson's street kids or Cyrus, whose parents seems like assholes.

I make it clear that I don't much like Henson's work. I also don't like most of Liebovitz's work. Both are 'artists.' Neither is producing porn even if both are showing pretty despicable judgment. But I also do not believe in censorship.

The cops came and collected Henson's pictures. Meanwhile, Annie's VF spread was in every news stand in the U.S. (and probably elsewhere). Seems like a pretty amazing double standard to me. I criticized Leibovits et.al. and I am criticizing Henson. But I don't want the cops involved.

With this Henson flap, like the Leibovitz/Cyrus flap none of the adults seem to be exercising much judgment. They are acting like assholes. So, I dislike them for the same reason I don't like you.

So just where is the hypocrisy - beyond, of course, your continuing to come around and anonymously act like a prick?

24 May, 2008 21:41  
Blogger ZATAN said...

as with alot of commentors, if there is such a word, that, if Mr Henson had drawn those images, would there be such a reaction? There are quite a few issues on art and liturature - please pardon my spelling, it's early in the morning - and those that are critics have their say, and they and alot of the community believe that they are correct. i on the other hand, have a more open mind, but when it comes to censorship, i'm of two minds. in this day and age of internet - wonderful and useful as it is - it, like everything, can be abused. photography is a medium that is both easy - to those who can point and shoot - but can also be abused when people take it for granted. there are laws against me taking a photo of my daughter having a swim on the beach - that is, My Daughter, but it seems to be okay for a local newspaper to print pre-teens in swimming suits! leaving not very much to the imagination. double standards maybe? who am i to judge - i am but a humble art and liturature lover that, to some people, haven't a clue - but a photo of a totum pole which could cause people to stop and think and a big blue canvas with a red square in the middle, that just happens to be worth millions of dollars - well, as i said, i haven't a clue - apparently! so, having said that, i hope that i haven't made a mess in your lounge room, if i have, i promise that i'll clean up! but, with censorship and laws, who knows, i might not be allowed to!
thank you.

24 November, 2008 11:10  

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