About bloody time.

I am often critical of police, I admit it, I believe as a society we have a moral obligation to question authority as a form of vigilance to ensure our liberties are respected and our personal freedoms are maintained.

I am also a firm supporter of the arts, and I am most certainly not a prude.

I say these things merely to underline my viewpoint on a number of issues, so I can say advisedly and not as a result of a knee jerk reaction that I was genuinely pleased to hear that police had shut down an exhibition by child pornographer photographer Bill Henson.

Personally I hope they throw the book at him, the naked form of an underage girl is not something to be bandied about publicly like so cheap a commodity and certainly not something to be exploited for commercial gain as Henson has done repeatedly in the past.

Henson is a vulture of the worst kind and deserves to be incinerated incarcerated.

Albury regional art gallery which I’m disgusted to say both owns and displays Henson’s exploitative images, and has even played host to a letcher lecture by this nasty little rockspider should take heed, this kind of muck is not art, it’s unconscienable exploitation of the vulnerable by a vile and odeous little man using his fame to charismaticly lure and seduce young girls on the premise of being “immortalised in art”.

The only mystery here is why it took so long for this malignant flesh peddler to be reigned in.

I hope his sentance is lengthy and his cell-mate brutal.

I also hope some of the parents who have allowed their daughters to be preyed upon in this way are charged as accessories.

For the record, I have seen Henson’s “work”, I found it profoundly exploitative and deeply offensive. I felt somewhat violated by looking at those images.

UPDATE: I see Albury Regional Gallery has pulled some of the images, nice to see that in the absence of a moral quandry, fear of a legal quandry is still a motivating factor for the gallery staff. Perhaps they are more concerned an angry mob will descend on them?

WARNING this link contains pictorial images.

UPDATE 2: I see the BM in it’s wisdom has seen fit to reproduce this piece from a national story that appeared a couple of days ago.
To me it’s more an example of this phenomenon than it is a legitimisation of Henson’s conduct.

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About alburywodongaonline

Hi I'm Jack Stone (a pseudonym), I'm a long-time Albury resident and I think it's a great place to live and work. I have a strong interest in local events and media and I started this site because I think a different perspective is often needed when reporting local news. I take a keen interest in local politics, as well as what's going on at the state and federal level, I'm also a supporter of social justice issues, the envirionment and the need for people to have a say in the events that effect their lives. I'm a fan of the Border Bandits and I'd love to see both teams take the flag this year, and next year, and maybe the one after that too.
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32 Responses to About bloody time.

  1. I find this a difficult one to make a call on as I’m unfamiliar with this exhibition or his previous work. I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with nudity at any age, but I can see that the subject becomes much more difficult to debate when the children involved are barely pre-pubescent.

    I think that the sexualisation of children in the mainstream media makes discussion of nudity in an artistic sense more difficult. That’s not helpful to anyone.

  2. I agree, I find the non-nude sexualisation of children offensive too.
    How blunt can I be? this “artist” (I use the term in it’s loosest possible definition) specialises in producing images of full frontal nudity of pubescent and underage girls, generally doing “adult” things like smoking, drinking, posed in simulated sex acts, things like that.
    Blurring the distinction between child and adult for sensationalist titilation or gratification of an adult audience.

    I’m familiar enough with his work to know that he’s a worm. A parasite, a pimp.
    What other word can you use for a man who makes his living peddling the flesh of underage girls?

  3. JR says:

    Dave from Albury had the right words to describe him.

    “…bacteria that lives on the scum.” is so appropriate.

  4. As I said, I’m unfamiliar with his work, but he’s got form then fuck him. Send him to Grafton for some re-education.

  5. raydixon says:

    I don’t like to judge a book by its cover but Henson even looks like a creep.

    There’s something about child pornographers that seems to exude from them. I’ve just been told of how two young kids visiting this area went into a panic when they just happened to set eyes on our resident downloader of child porn (who is awaiting sentence). Kids can sense the evil within I guess.

  6. Pingback: hello.com.au » The blogosphere reacts to Bill Henson

  7. Public Defender says:

    Should Bill Henson or the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery be charged, one would hope that the various Australian governmentsponsored websites hosting Bill Henson’s images
    would be subject to the same threat of legal sanction, hopefully without the threat of violence.

    As for the news service which ran the most incendiary story, perhaps they might also be charged with the ongoing willful distribution of images of alleged child pornography, images that the gallery has since chosen to remove from its website.

    The NSW and Victorian state public art galleries played host to the largest exhibitions of Bill Henson’s works, to the most diverse audience ever known — and not a single complaint was made. And what of the various entry fee concessions, guided tours and workshops offered to school groups?

    Some of Henson’s earlier models, now parents, have no regrets.

  8. Public Defender, I don’t believe galleries who choose to display this kind of material or parents who permit their children to be abused in this way should be immune to prosecution.
    You’d be disturbed how many children are sexually abused with the knowledge and tacit approval of their parents (or by them), parental consent is not a defence in that instance, nor should it be in this instance.

    I have also heard the argument put forward that it is not dis-similar to a number of other images of say, toddlers in a state of undress. A famous Nirvana album cover was used as an example.

    For me, I can describe the difference thusly.

    It is not abnormal behaviour for a toddler to be naked publicly in certain situations, a toddler has no concept of their own sexuality, there is no bluring of the concepts of nakedness and sexuality. Parental discretion ensures that a toddler is only naked in certain situations.
    It may be appropriate for a toddler to be naked in the back yard or at the beach, less so at a shopping mall or at a creche.

    Likewise applies to certain cultures who ascribe no sexuality to nakedness at any age.

    It is not conventional behaviour (in our culture) for an adolescent to appear naked publicly, an adolescent does have some concept of sexuality and the potential for the bluring of these is clear and obvious.
    There is also potential for a vulnerable adolescent to be psychologically damaged in the long term as the result of Henson’s actions. That to me, makes it unconscienable.

    I can assure you I have made complaints at at least one gallery where Henson’s “work” was displayed and I can assure you I was given very short shrift.

    The pretentious platitudes we have heard from Henson and his supporters do not a legal defence make.

  9. Holy cow, is that a consensus? mark this day in your calendar people, I don’t think ther e has ever been consensus on this site about anything.

  10. Vijay says:

    Newspapers in India carried this story a couple of days ago. Apparently the Artistic Community is mighty upset with your PM for critisizing this guy.

  11. well it’s not just the PM criticising him, there are a lot of people calling this child pornography, abuse, exploitation and whatever else.

    The arguments I have heard to support this guy’s “right” to photograph and circulate full frontal naked images of barely pubescent girls are incomplete and unconvincing to say the very least, legal charges are pending for both the artist and the gallery.

    I first became aware of this artist a few years ago, I find his photographs to be quite tediously conventional, boring actually. The only thing which sets them apart is his unethical use of underage models.

    According to a recent online poll published by our national broadcaster, over half of the respondants consider the images child pornography outrightly, a further 30% are disturbed by the images but identify themselves as being oposed to censorship within the arts. The remainder support the artist.

    I think the argument against censorship within the arts is quite trivial when weighed against the more substantial matter of child exploitation.

  12. Rather than being a thoughtful and constructive argument about whether or not Henson’s work is art or not, these posts seem to show that the blog readers of Albury Wodonga must be avid consumers of the UK newspaper, the SUN – a trashy tabloid that spends its time generalising and sensationalising anything and everything – particularly if there’s an iota of salaciousness to it.

    If your contributor ‘raydixon’ is correct, then half of the Australian population should have seen the paedophilian aura exuding from your Catholic priests a long time before their sexual abuse of children was uncovered – but perhaps they didn’t look like creeps, as apparently child pornographers always do.

    And perhaps you should note that the police are already having to get a second opinion on whether or not a crime has been committed. The acid test is whether or not there was ‘intention’ to produce child pornography … and the artist will naturally deny that and the police will have no case.

    As Mike Carlton pointed out in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Pope’s arriving for World Youth Day soon – and he’d better not bring any pictures of naked cherubim with him or he’ll end up in Long Bay. And May Gibbs’ picture books of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie will obviously be rounded up and burnt (probably in the streets of Albury Wodonga).

    The ‘smoking’ and ‘drinking’ reference shows how much – or how little – you know of Henson’s work, because those sorts of images are precisely what he’s trying to depict … the transition between adolescence and adulthood, and the difficulties, temptations and trauma that young people (both boys and girls are depicted in his works) encounter during this journey.

    None of you will agree with me, but rest assured your myopic views and your ability to see pornography in something that’s not even remotely pornographic, tells people a lot more about you than it does about Bill Henson.

    BRIAN COLLIER (London, UK)

  13. Brian Collier says:

    By the way, I notice your comments board is moderated. I trust that censorship won’t rear its ugly head again.

  14. I wonder is the “ugly head” of censorship more or less attractive than child pornography, non consensual pornography or snuff film in your estimation Brian?

    I really couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the debate of Henson’s “artistic merit” I think it’s a circular debate and so much academic hot air.

    A waste of time and effort. If the masses deigned that butchering a toddler had “artistic merit” does that make it acceptable?

    Hardly.

    Guilermo Vargas as a case in point, also has his supporters despite his obviously reprehensible actions.

    You state “… the transition between adolescence and adulthood, and the difficulties, temptations and trauma that young people (both boys and girls are depicted in his works) encounter during this journey…”
    la la la, it’s all so much pretentious waffle to me.

    I have seen plenty of Henson’s images, the ones that don’t offend me (landscapes and whatever else) I find tedious in the extreme, the images that do offend me, well they offend a lot of people, indeed it looks as though an offence has been committed legally.

    I wonder how much favour Henson’s pretentious platitudes will garner in jail?

    “…don’t stab me, I’m a passionate and visionary explorer of twilight zones, of the ambiguous spaces that exist between day and night, nature and civilization, youth and adulthood, male and female…”.

    You’d have to stab him twice as much after that wouldn’t you? I would.

    I have a small betting ring going that Henson won’t last a month in jail, just in case you’d like to have a punt yourself. Can’t say the odds are much chop though.

    No, for me the debate is about whether Henson’s actions have the potential to harm his subjects.
    For me it’s a resounding yes, that makes his actions deplorable.
    Much risked for minescule gain.

    I certainly wouldn’t be setting a new land speed record to render him assistance if I came across him dying in a gutter that’s for sure.

    Incidentally I came across this comment on another thread

    If Henson did it in London he would be in jail, and the Brits are not repressive about art.

    In the UK that photo would be child pornography. If she was 17, it would still be CP. That’s the law there

    While I don’t profess to be an expert on British law, if it IS true, you are defending what would constitute child pornography in your own country.

    I think that’s a damning enough indictment on your character to effectively render ANY opinion you might express invalid.

  15. raydixon says:

    Oh you can see the ‘aura’ (if that’s what you call it – personally I think it’s more about the look in their eyes) in a lot of the priests too Brian.

    The problem here is that this stuff was even accepted by galleries for public viewing in the first place. Surely Henson could portray the transition between adolescence & adulthood without shooting his under-age subjects stark naked.

  16. raydixon says:

    Btw Brian, I think you’ll find AWOL’s comments board is NOT moderated. Under the WordPress format it’s only someone’s first comment that requires approval from the administrator .That’s to keep out spam and … porn! Pity the art galleries don’t apply the same principles.

  17. I’m not sure I give a whole lot of credit to the theory that a person is trustworthy or not based on their physical features.

    I think to some extent it is an element of human nature to trust some people more than others based on their appearance, there have been some interesting psychological studies done on that very thing.

    There have certainly been some terrible, terrible serial multicides which have been committed because the perpetrator was able to gain the trust of their victims, due in part to their disarmingly average appearance.

    I don’t think one equalls the other, I just think Henson displays a deplorable lack of regard for the psychological welfare of his subjects AND just happens to look like a shifty bastard.

    Co-incidence I’m sure.

    I’m trying to think if I have ever disallowed a comment on this site.
    No I don’t think so, apart from spam of course.

    There’s always a first time I guess, thankfully everyone’s been fairly civil so far.

  18. raydixon says:

    Try posting a critical comment at one A. Landeryou’s site and see what happens Jack. He’ll change it and then ban you. The man’s very insecure, that’s why he so offensive to everyone else.

    As for the “look in the eyes”, yes a lot of it is only evident in hindsight. Then again have a look at Andy!

  19. I try not to look at Andrew Landeryou, I noticed with a bit of a giggle that he’d lined you up for another slandering.

    Sometimes I wonder what I have to do to come under Slandy’s radar, but then I wake up to myself and count my blessings.

    I don’t post on Slanderyou’s site, I mean why give him any oxygen at all?

  20. Noel Stone says:

    Dear oh dear!

    We certainly do live in red-neck country. There’s the lovely Sophie who adorns Canberra at our expense, no “Bangs for your Buck” in Wangaratta and now we’ve got the wowsers in Albury & elsewhere who wouldn’t know artistic merit if it bit them.

    Dear old W.C. Fields got it right when he said;
    “I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.”

  21. raydixon says:

    I agree with you on all those other points Noel, but I just think Henson’s “art” might be based on a bit more than artistic merit.

    If he wanted to show the transition from adolescence to adulthood did he have to do that with photos of 13 year olds stark naked that would have paedophiles drooling?

    I like to think I know artistic merit when I see it but when I look at Henson’s (private parts blacked out) photos, I see someone who … well, who just likes photographing naked children. Sorry, I think there’s possibly more to it.

  22. Noel I think simplifying this issue to one of “redneck vs non-redneck” is clearly flawed.

    I’m certainly no redneck but I do find Henson’s images offensive in the extreme.

    “Artistic merit” well that’s entirely subjective isn’t it?
    It’s like a debate about whether carrots taste better than peas, at the end of the day it’s just opinion and really…who cares.

    Around half the population (if the myriad of newspolls conducted are accurate) find Henson’s images exploitative and pornographic, the other half have no problem with them.
    Rarely is an issue so perfectly divisive.

    Personally I fail to see what point (artistic or otherwise) necessitates the public displaying of images of a thirteen year old girl’s breasts and vagina.

    I think the only “point” being made here is that Henson is a creepy old mank and there are more than a few people in this country who are happy to put vulnerable young people at risk “in the name of art”.

    There may not be a legal case to answer but it’s a long way short of acceptable as far as I’m concerned.

  23. raydixon says:

    Well put AWOL. Also, I meant to say “The transition from childhood to adolescence” in my last comment.

    Cheers from a fellow “redneck” and see ya down at the gun expo mate.

  24. gee I think I’m washing my hair.

  25. Noel Stone says:

    A quote from AWOL:
    “Personally I fail to see what point (artistic or otherwise) necessitates the public displaying of images of a thirteen year old girl’s breasts and vagina.”

    Unfortunately the camera was not around when Michelangelo carved the statue of David. Instead, he had to resort to a chisel.

    What’s my point? Michelangelo’s model was a 15 year old boy whom he especially chose for his form and beauty.

    Aside from some prudish Myer executives who covered David’s genitals when a copy of the statue was displayed in-store, and probably a few apoplectic clerics, does anyone seriously say that his work is pornographic?

    Similarly, if you gaze at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel you’ll find full frontal images of naked figures, again painted by Michelangelo.

    Hmmm, just maybe he was a “creepy old mank” after all!

  26. raydixon says:

    I doubt any pedophile gets his jollies by looking at the statue of David or staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but I reckon quite a few harden up over Henson’s explicit photos of young girls.

  27. yes Noel, it’s not that long ago we were sending children down the coal mines or up chimneys or God only knows where else.
    Thankfully our child protection laws have moved on since then so hiding behind the artistic freedoms “enjoyed” by artists in a bygone era is a bit of a Furphy really.

  28. nunyaa says:

    To deliberately have a young girl strip and pose for these photos is not acceptable. The images may not be pornographic in the sense that we know porn to be but there is nothing remotely artistic about naked young girls or boys posing. What were the parents of these kids thinking anyway? It is a pedophiles paradise, they will flock to his paintings like rats to a sewer.

  29. yeah, or worse, through de-sensitisation, blur the distinction between child and adult sexuality in an adult audience potentially steering predisposed individuals towards paedaphilia.

    It’s totally unacceptable to me, if it were up to me, Henson would be doing jail time right now, the parents would be facing charges and the kids would be offered counselling.

    I think the images should be destroyed, no question there.

    What I find even more disturbing is that around HALF of the Australian population are more than happy to have the distinction between child exploitation and “art” blurred for the sake of some artsy fartsy wank like this.

    Some trade off.

  30. Gibbsy says:

    I’m banned on Vexnews and by team Slanderyou! My comments just vanish. Vexnews is a cesspool of sillyness. Slanderyou New exposes Andrew Landeryou’s dark past. But for an unfathomable reason my comments dissappear into the ether there too.

    The bloggers seem more interested in divining who comments on their blogs rather than what they have to say. Now, to comment, you have to join all kinds of silly identity sites. Since most blogs are a waste of time, it’s hardly worth the effort.

  31. Gibsy, the only time I’ve deleted comments are when the thread is no longer relevant or (in one instance) where I was contacted by police to indicate a person (who is now in custody) was misusing other people’s identities to make defamatory inferences about their character.
    Also, if a comment refers to illegal activity, I pass te information on to police, then remove it because I refuse to provide a forum for criminals to boast about their crimes.
    I may from time to time edit obscene language, but I leave the “soul” of the comment alone, even when I find the view expressed offensive in the extreme.

  32. Johnson says:

    @ Gibbsy (above).

    Slanderyounew has another wordpress fault preventing comments again. It’s all a bit irksome when the common enemy is Andrew Landeryou’s libellous Vexnews hate site. I too have been banned from posting by Landeryou but have found several work arounds. I can’t find a work around for the recurring Slanderyounew blockage though.

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