Porn and the Art Market - artmarketblog.com You have probably all heard or read something about the controversial works of Australian photographer Bill Henson that have been confiscated by police due to the use of naked underage girls.
You have probably all heard or read something about the controversial works of Australian photographer Bill Henson that have been confiscated by police due to the use of naked underage girls in his work. I would not normally get involved in a debate that has already been commented on by everyone and anyone but since I have already written on a similar issue involving the work of Nan Goldin, and I am an Australian, I am going to say my piece.
Considering that Bill Henson has been producing similar works for more than 15 years it is unfortunate that he has basically been led to believe that what he is doing would not result in any serious negative consequences. I have no doubt that Henson has been treated unfairly and has been falsely portrayed as some sort of child abuse promoting monster. However, now that the works have come under scrutiny there is no way that action canít be taken. By not taking action after questions have been raised I believe that the police or who ever else is responsible for investigating such complaints would be seen as advocating eroticised images of children (whether or not they were). I have heard compelling arguments from both sides of the fence and would like to be able to support Bill Henson (who is a fantastic artist) and his work but as a Christian I am compelled to look beyond my opinion as an art critic.
I do believe that there are two main factors in this whole saga that should be considered above all others and they are consent and consequence. I am aware that there have been comments from one of Hensonís former child models that supports his work but the opinion of one or even a few of the former models cannot be taken as I doubt that the children in Hensonís photos were able to fully understand the gravity of the situation or fully comprehend the possible issues and consequences of being photographed naked. Because the children in the photographs were not able to make a decision with the same understanding and awareness that an adult would, they should really not have been allowed to consent to being photographed or have consent given for them by their parents. The second issue of the consequences of not taking some action, as I mentioned earlier, could be used as an excuse for more sinister activities which just canít happen. I think it is also important to remember that Bill Henson is the only person who really has any choice in this situation in that he can choose to change the subject of his future work but the children in his photographs canít choose to be taken out of his past work.
I do actually agree with those that are of the opinion that Bill Hensonís work is art and not pornography but as far as I am concerned the question of whether or not