I am severely lacking in writing inspiration today.
Not that I don’t have a lot to write about. I have a very important subject to write about. It is just that the words wont come out in a satisfying way.
Australians will know what I want to write about when I mention the name “Bill Henson“.
Considered by many to be Australia’s foremost photographer, he is fascinated by twilight, the space between day and night, by adolescence, that space between child and adult. The moment of hesitancy. He has been exhibited around the world and his work is hung in some of the most prestigious galleries.
Online, some of his work is visible and much more can be seen on the net – just google the name and then click on “Images”.
Now to the the subject, the controversy. The best way to follow the developments is through a series of news items.
It began five days ago when police raided a Sydney art gallery. Within hours, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd weighed into the debate and the police began questioning the photographer. Betty Churcher, head of Australia’s National Art Gallery gave her opinion while some of the subjects themselves spoke out. The controversy widened to another gallery while more than 40 of Australia’s leading writers and artists supported Henson. Today the police have rejected the art world’s outcry, while two prominent politicians have supported the photographer.
In another report today, Louise Adler, the head of Melbourne University Publishing, one of 44 prominent figures who have signed an open letter urging Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to rethink his condemnation of the photos as “absolutely revolting”, calls the controversy a ‘beat-up’.
“I don’t believe that paedophiles and pornographers are going to rush to Roslyn Oxley’s gallery to find Bill Henson’s work for stimulation,” she said. “The question is, is it a private matter, one of taste or is it that the community has to come down and make a judgement?
“Do we need to be chaperoned by the state on these questions?” she asked.
I don’t believe we do. Although I know a lot of people will disagree with me.
Everyone’s comments are welcome, although I do reserve the right to adjust the wording, but not the intent of some comments, where those comments may be viewed as offensive by some readers of the archive.
So that truly informed debate can take place, the image which originally sparked this controversy is over the jump.
Despite the internet censoring by the police, I was able to find this image on the website of The Age newspaper from Melbourne.
Yes, it is a nude young girl.
No, it is not pornographic unless you believe nudity itself to be intrinsically pornographic. In which case I will remind you that not only did you arrive in this world in a pornographic state, but, beneath your clothes, you are STILL pornographic!