E.J.Wilkins

23 May 2007 10,495 views
 
supporter of
atom rss 1.0 rss 2.0
web browser google del.icio.us digg technorati
| lost password
birth date
cancel
photoblog image blue

blue

edit 6th June: I've thought about removing this item from my 'picture archive' because the main content is the text, not the image. But each time I come back to it I realise that I still feel very strongly about the issue of self-censorship, where I am supposed to choose to hide a picture from view in case another person who happens to find my blog thinks it's offensive.

I can't second-guess another person's personal values and I can't see why they can't simply choose not to look at something they don't like, it's what I do, rather than expecting somebody else to make choices for me.

I still don't know whether this refers only to live nudes or whether it extends to images of classical subjects. I've had it suggested, albeit tongue in cheek, that a picture of mating damselflies was risqué and should have been hidden behind a filter. Perhaps it should, if images of the human form might be offensive, then so is everything else in nature.


I don't know how many people may have seen the topic within the forum regarding a simple question, "Why are Nude pictures allowed on Shutterchance". The converse is, "Should Nude pictures be hidden from view?" Over the last week or so I've found that I actually feel quite strongly about this. My thoughts have wandered far and wide, and been all-consuming, which I know is ridiculous for something so seemingly trivial, and not something I would have thought needed to be discussed in the 21st Century.

Discussion within the forum has become heated and rather personal, and it would seem that some posts can get lost within the system. Because I need to get this off my chest and start enjoying pictures again I'm adding my thoughts here in my own space. I've never had a word blog, so this is very much a first and I think it might also be my last. Bear with me please. I have tried to voice my thoughts without letting my words cause any personal affront or offence to anybody who may read them. I'm not asking for replies, nor for any change in what has been done, simply the opportunity to share what I think. Here goes ...

I'm old enough to have seen an increase in personal freedom, and to have seen laws written to ensure those freedoms. We do have freedom of speech, we also have freedom of expression covered by the same article of law, and it's international law too, not just here in the UK where I live ... but it only seems to take a little to tip the balance a long way in the wrong direction and make us have to dissect our thoughts and actions, which in itself is a loss of that hard fought freedom.

I am a parent. My husband and I take our parental responsibility very seriously. Our children are now teenagers, approaching adulthood. Becoming an adult isn't something that happens overnight, it doesn't happen instantly when you reach the 'age of majority' and can vote in political elections, it's a gradual process that involves much more than reaching an arbitrary age chosen by politicians.

We guided our children's use of books, libraries and also the internet. We made sure they didn't 'surf' unsupervised when they were too young to know how to be careful, because there are sites out there that show hard porn, bestiality and extreme violence although I've never visited one. We have also tried to make sure that they have developed a broad sense of responsibility, not only personal responsibility but a responsibility towards others too, and society as a whole, and that includes respect and tolerance. They have learned that exercising their rights to free speech and free expression must never extend to stifling others' freedoms, which brings me back to the where I started.

I have yet to see any images here on Shutterchance that I would want hidden from my children's view and yes, I have seen pictures of nudes, both male and female. I have also seen photographs of statues of nudes, and photographs of pictures of nudes. There are photographs of 'live' nudes on collective photoblog sites almost every day, Aminus3, vfxy for example, and also on YouTube and Flickr. These are unfiltered; filtering is akin to censorship, and a rather worrying form of censorship if it suggests that a bare body is, per se, rude, and should be hidden behind a modesty screen.

Amongst the earliest forms of art, dating back more than 5,000 years, are those that portray the naked human form. There are examples of statuary, reliefs and frescoes on public display in museums all around the world. I might be wrong, but I believe the first Daguerreotype pictures were of nudes.

Bearing this in mind, I don't fully understand why a mere photograph of a naked person such as those I've seen on other people's blogs is 'rude' or 'risqué' and should be hidden from view. A picture itself is inanimate, the model a willing participant and the scene is posed, so the interpretation has to lie with the observer. I have to be careful here, because I don't want to cause offence, but does seeing bare flesh make some people uncomfortable because it makes them question their sexuality? I'm heterosexual, but I can still appreciate and admire the female form. Is it because some do not like the feelings that looking at these pictures may arouse? Is it that they have been told by somebody they respect that to be naked, or to see nakedness, is wrong, that it is immoral to look?

I've been trying so very hard to work out whether any of my pictures might ever need to be hidden behind a filter. I'm far from stupid, but even so I'm confused by an apparent assumption that I will do what is right, when I don't know what that thing is. I can't imagine ever taking a photograph of a model, let alone one who is not wearing clothes, but I don't know what the future may hold. I might, however, take pictures of statues and fountains I see. There's one in Brussels called the "Manneken Pis", it's a little boy urinating. If I take a picture of a 'live' boy urinating, would the picture be rude? If so, would my picture of the "Manneken Pis" also be rude, and if not, why not?

Taking this one giant step further, which I've managed to do far too easily, takes me to the regulation of obscenity and obscene publications. The book "Lady Chatterly's Lover" is a case in point, it was originally banned (in 1928) but Penguin eventually published it in the 1960s, successfully challenging the law. - The book sold out, 200,000 copies, on the first day of publication - In 1981 and again in 1993 it was made into a film. The success of the book is an example of man's curiosity, wanting to know what is so special about something that is forbidden. People will always try to find out what it is that's prohibited, even if it's only to taste an apple. So, is this how we in the 21st century world want nudity classified … as a peep show, something secret, something forbidden unless you can sneak behind a door to be able to see it?

My thoughts stroll back to 'obscenity' again and how it is regulated. The laws I've found relate to the 'intent' of the publication, this means that for something to be ruled as obscene it has to be published with the intention to shock or corrupt. In the USA there's the - Miller Test -   and there are  - UK Obscenity laws - I don't think anybody on Shutterchance has that intention; they are merely sharing their photographic art.

I hope I'm being alarmist; that my thoughts have run off to the extremes only because I'm all too aware that once on a slippery slope it's hard to decrease momentum. Censorship in any form is something that terrifies me, makes me think of George Orwell's book. There is - increasing concern - about the use of internet filters (censors) and how they are being used to block sites. China, for example, blocks access to almost all western sites. A UK firm has managed to block UK-access to the content of a US site which details the health risks of a sugar substitute. Click - this site - from a  UK service provider and you will see these words "Attorneys acting on behalf of the manufacturers of sucralose, Tate & Lyle PLC based in London, England, have requested that the information contained on this page not be made available to Internet users in England." Will search engines discover the existence of an 'adult filter' and block all our sites because of the possibility of 'questionable content'? I don't know, I can't find the answer because I don't know where to look.

If anybody's managed to read this far, thank you, I truly admire your tenacity. I don't know how to round this off without seeming flippant or just plain stupid. There are more questions I would like to ask, but perhaps I will offend by doing so. I have quoted a question simply because it has led to all the thought processes I've outlined above, thoughts that have been running round inside my head for days. I do not think I've written anything rude, aggressive or sarcastic and I offer my apologies to those of you whose first language is not English, because I don't think this 'rant' will translate well.

- in French by Google -

- in Spanish by Google -

.....

My picture for today, in case you're wondering, is of definitions of words taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, printed out and then photographed. They are in blue because censors use a blue pen to strike out words they deem unsuitable.

.....

blue

edit 6th June: I've thought about removing this item from my 'picture archive' because the main content is the text, not the image. But each time I come back to it I realise that I still feel very strongly about the issue of self-censorship, where I am supposed to choose to hide a picture from view in case another person who happens to find my blog thinks it's offensive.

I can't second-guess another person's personal values and I can't see why they can't simply choose not to look at something they don't like, it's what I do, rather than expecting somebody else to make choices for me.

I still don't know whether this refers only to live nudes or whether it extends to images of classical subjects. I've had it suggested, albeit tongue in cheek, that a picture of mating damselflies was risqué and should have been hidden behind a filter. Perhaps it should, if images of the human form might be offensive, then so is everything else in nature.


I don't know how many people may have seen the topic within the forum regarding a simple question, "Why are Nude pictures allowed on Shutterchance". The converse is, "Should Nude pictures be hidden from view?" Over the last week or so I've found that I actually feel quite strongly about this. My thoughts have wandered far and wide, and been all-consuming, which I know is ridiculous for something so seemingly trivial, and not something I would have thought needed to be discussed in the 21st Century.

Discussion within the forum has become heated and rather personal, and it would seem that some posts can get lost within the system. Because I need to get this off my chest and start enjoying pictures again I'm adding my thoughts here in my own space. I've never had a word blog, so this is very much a first and I think it might also be my last. Bear with me please. I have tried to voice my thoughts without letting my words cause any personal affront or offence to anybody who may read them. I'm not asking for replies, nor for any change in what has been done, simply the opportunity to share what I think. Here goes ...

I'm old enough to have seen an increase in personal freedom, and to have seen laws written to ensure those freedoms. We do have freedom of speech, we also have freedom of expression covered by the same article of law, and it's international law too, not just here in the UK where I live ... but it only seems to take a little to tip the balance a long way in the wrong direction and make us have to dissect our thoughts and actions, which in itself is a loss of that hard fought freedom.

I am a parent. My husband and I take our parental responsibility very seriously. Our children are now teenagers, approaching adulthood. Becoming an adult isn't something that happens overnight, it doesn't happen instantly when you reach the 'age of majority' and can vote in political elections, it's a gradual process that involves much more than reaching an arbitrary age chosen by politicians.

We guided our children's use of books, libraries and also the internet. We made sure they didn't 'surf' unsupervised when they were too young to know how to be careful, because there are sites out there that show hard porn, bestiality and extreme violence although I've never visited one. We have also tried to make sure that they have developed a broad sense of responsibility, not only personal responsibility but a responsibility towards others too, and society as a whole, and that includes respect and tolerance. They have learned that exercising their rights to free speech and free expression must never extend to stifling others' freedoms, which brings me back to the where I started.

I have yet to see any images here on Shutterchance that I would want hidden from my children's view and yes, I have seen pictures of nudes, both male and female. I have also seen photographs of statues of nudes, and photographs of pictures of nudes. There are photographs of 'live' nudes on collective photoblog sites almost every day, Aminus3, vfxy for example, and also on YouTube and Flickr. These are unfiltered; filtering is akin to censorship, and a rather worrying form of censorship if it suggests that a bare body is, per se, rude, and should be hidden behind a modesty screen.

Amongst the earliest forms of art, dating back more than 5,000 years, are those that portray the naked human form. There are examples of statuary, reliefs and frescoes on public display in museums all around the world. I might be wrong, but I believe the first Daguerreotype pictures were of nudes.

Bearing this in mind, I don't fully understand why a mere photograph of a naked person such as those I've seen on other people's blogs is 'rude' or 'risqué' and should be hidden from view. A picture itself is inanimate, the model a willing participant and the scene is posed, so the interpretation has to lie with the observer. I have to be careful here, because I don't want to cause offence, but does seeing bare flesh make some people uncomfortable because it makes them question their sexuality? I'm heterosexual, but I can still appreciate and admire the female form. Is it because some do not like the feelings that looking at these pictures may arouse? Is it that they have been told by somebody they respect that to be naked, or to see nakedness, is wrong, that it is immoral to look?

I've been trying so very hard to work out whether any of my pictures might ever need to be hidden behind a filter. I'm far from stupid, but even so I'm confused by an apparent assumption that I will do what is right, when I don't know what that thing is. I can't imagine ever taking a photograph of a model, let alone one who is not wearing clothes, but I don't know what the future may hold. I might, however, take pictures of statues and fountains I see. There's one in Brussels called the "Manneken Pis", it's a little boy urinating. If I take a picture of a 'live' boy urinating, would the picture be rude? If so, would my picture of the "Manneken Pis" also be rude, and if not, why not?

Taking this one giant step further, which I've managed to do far too easily, takes me to the regulation of obscenity and obscene publications. The book "Lady Chatterly's Lover" is a case in point, it was originally banned (in 1928) but Penguin eventually published it in the 1960s, successfully challenging the law. - The book sold out, 200,000 copies, on the first day of publication - In 1981 and again in 1993 it was made into a film. The success of the book is an example of man's curiosity, wanting to know what is so special about something that is forbidden. People will always try to find out what it is that's prohibited, even if it's only to taste an apple. So, is this how we in the 21st century world want nudity classified … as a peep show, something secret, something forbidden unless you can sneak behind a door to be able to see it?

My thoughts stroll back to 'obscenity' again and how it is regulated. The laws I've found relate to the 'intent' of the publication, this means that for something to be ruled as obscene it has to be published with the intention to shock or corrupt. In the USA there's the - Miller Test -   and there are  - UK Obscenity laws - I don't think anybody on Shutterchance has that intention; they are merely sharing their photographic art.

I hope I'm being alarmist; that my thoughts have run off to the extremes only because I'm all too aware that once on a slippery slope it's hard to decrease momentum. Censorship in any form is something that terrifies me, makes me think of George Orwell's book. There is - increasing concern - about the use of internet filters (censors) and how they are being used to block sites. China, for example, blocks access to almost all western sites. A UK firm has managed to block UK-access to the content of a US site which details the health risks of a sugar substitute. Click - this site - from a  UK service provider and you will see these words "Attorneys acting on behalf of the manufacturers of sucralose, Tate & Lyle PLC based in London, England, have requested that the information contained on this page not be made available to Internet users in England." Will search engines discover the existence of an 'adult filter' and block all our sites because of the possibility of 'questionable content'? I don't know, I can't find the answer because I don't know where to look.

If anybody's managed to read this far, thank you, I truly admire your tenacity. I don't know how to round this off without seeming flippant or just plain stupid. There are more questions I would like to ask, but perhaps I will offend by doing so. I have quoted a question simply because it has led to all the thought processes I've outlined above, thoughts that have been running round inside my head for days. I do not think I've written anything rude, aggressive or sarcastic and I offer my apologies to those of you whose first language is not English, because I don't think this 'rant' will translate well.

- in French by Google -

- in Spanish by Google -

.....

My picture for today, in case you're wondering, is of definitions of words taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, printed out and then photographed. They are in blue because censors use a blue pen to strike out words they deem unsuitable.

.....

comments (37)

You make some very good points, Ellie.
EJWilkins: Thanks smile
Very eloquently put Ellie. Incidentally, I hold a contrary view to yours on this issue, but I find this post a very persuasive one, and I would be swayed were I not so adamantly conservative in this area under discussion. Thanks for putting your thoughts across in such an erudite fashion. I doff my hat to you ma'am.
EJWilkins: Thanks for taking the time to write so much Fehinti, so that other people know what you think.
I've read all of your comments. smile
I think Ellie that this is the first time someone has managed to put into words what most of us think and I for one thank you for that.


John Garrett
EJWilkins: Thanks John
I agree and support you wholeheartedly. Thank-you Ellie.

Jose Shackleton
EJWilkins: Thanks Jose. I've added a little more to the forum thread as well. Seems I can't keep quiet! wink
  • Suby
  • UK, Milton Keynes
  • 23 May 2007, 00:35
Very interesting read Ellie, very interesting. Very well put together. I could not have put it any better :d

Suby
EJWilkins: Thanks Suby, I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment here, I really do. It's one way of letting others know what we each think. smile
  • telemachus
  • satan's little acre...
  • 23 May 2007, 00:46
It baffles me how conservatives manage to reproduce themselves.

Nudity isn't sex, as has been said countless times, but its seen that way by people who complain about it.

If sex is sinful, why does (in their framework) G*d have us create new people by doing it?

Old question, and the answers are just as stale.

I have a couple of galleries on PBase. Try typing the word "nude" or "naked" or some such into the search function. It'll come back with no results. Bullroar. The site is loaded with nudes and some prety explicit displays at that. But PBase censors the search function so that PBase doesn't become a source for stolen photo collections. A good solid legal reason, but censorship nevertheless.

Give 'em hell. :>
EJWilkins: Thanks Telemachus. As Patrick says, what I missed out others have added. I really do appreciate the time you've taken to add this comment.
  • Larry
  • North Carolina, USA
  • 23 May 2007, 02:46
A very thoughtful and indeed eloquent essay, as are the comments.

Conservatives reproduce the same as everyone else... but are less willing to admit they had a good time. grin
EJWilkins: Thanks Larry, I'm actually very surprised that so many people have chosen to say something here and I think it's good that they have because this way we know more about how others think. smile
Hmm, interesting. I would prefer to not have nudity shown to me randomly. Not because I think I will be harmed by it, but just because I like to see it by my own choice. People object to censorship because someone else does the choosing for them. I would also like to be able to choose for myself what I see or don't see.
EJWilkins: Good points Karen, thanks for taking the time to say what you think. It's a good way of sharing opinions
Ellie, thank you very much for bringing this debate to my attention again. I stated my opinion once in the forum and then forgot about it. So they actually imposed censorship in some form? I haven't bumped into any form of censorship yet, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

Freedoms are very hard to win and very easy to lose. Sadly there are many people who would curtail other people's freedoms as long as the ones they enjoy remain untouched.

There is no material difference between censoring nude pictures, flower shots, political opinions, of even statements of fact. An unfettered exchange of information and opinions is the most fundamental building block of an open society, more fundamental than democracy or property rights for example.

I certainly don't want to argue that the handful of nude shots on SC are important in the grand scheme of things, but censoring them amounts to a frontal attack on THE core principle of an open society. And that matters a lot, at least to me. I like living in an open society. In case anyone is wondering why, look at some classic examples of closed societies such as Nazi Germany, the now defunct Soviet countries, North Korea, etc. Yes, these are extreme examples, but they show how bad it can get when you allow plurality of opinions to be curtailed.

Luckily there is one major difference between a political system going south and a photoblog site adopting undesirable policies. (I should stress that I don't know yet what SC did. This is a general statement, not necessarily specific to SC.) It is much easier to switch photoblog hosts than to move between countries. We can vote with our feet if necessary. The owners of hosting service can, of course, impose whatever policies they want, but nothing requires us to subscribe to their services. I would hate to leave here because of all the great people I have met and gotten to know a little, but maintaining freedoms does require sacrifices from time to time. Starting over on a different site, should that turn out to be necessary, is a very small price to pay.

I think you are right to take this very seriously. Sorry for the long ramble.
EJWilkins: Your ramble wasn't anything like as long as mine, and I've now added more to the forum!
Thank you for saying what you think, I've been surprised by the number of people who have done so.
Ellie you've gone to a lot of work here so I think it deserves a read through! Your line "If anybody's managed to read this far, thank you, I truly admire your tenacity" made me laugh after an otherwise serious but well argues and clearly explained opinion piece. I agree with you on this matter in every case. I find it odd that it is the most conservative who also tend to admire the classic works of sculpture, etc., yet are so very opposed to the nude figure in modern art forms. It is baffling. Thanks for this post and for taking the time to put it together in so thoughtful a way. You continue to take photoblogging to the next level every day!
EJWilkins: It took a bit of time, you're right and thank you for taking the time not only to read my words but to leave such a carefully thought out comment to add to the 'debate'. smile
OH Ellie, I tried but it's too much for my poor english ! Can you translate it in french smile smile What I understand is that censor isn't so good and I agree with that; But I smile writing that because I'm not so sure about what I understood smile smile
EJWilkins: I cannot try to translate my words into French for you Zeb, because I am not good enough at speaking the language. Here is a Google page translation. I hope it helps. I have now added a link at the end of my words.
http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=en|fr&u=http://ellie.shutterchance.com/index.php
Wow.
I don't know what's gone on in the forums to set you off, but one thing I know is it often takes alot for people to do things like this, so I'm sensing you are quite upset, Ellie.
This is simple for me. The internet provides a myriad of choices for photoblogging, blogging, etc. If a person doesn't like what goes on here, then they nee to find another site.
The normal rules of censorrship should apply here, Jide would certainly not block artistic images of nudes male or female (I have enjoyed the images on Body n Soul for example).
Objections on religious grounds are also unacceptable aswell I'm afraid, same answer, go somewhere else. This site should be free of all concerns for that sort of thing. This is a space to view photographic art, whether it be a holiday snap or a high art image.
Shutterchance is neutral ground, so hands off censor dudes!
EJWilkins: I expect that by now you'll have seen what 'set me off'. The points you raise are interesting and are additional to anything I have said, they add to the debate.
Thanks. smile
  • paul
  • 23 May 2007, 07:08
very well put Ellie.
btw, did you know that www.shutterchance.com is already banned on the internet service available to patients in hospitals. Individual blogs did seem to be accessible (at least the ones I tried were)
EJWilkins: Thanks for leaving a comment Paul. Sad to say many sites are blocked from view for the most trivial of reasons, I wonder what the technicians in the hospital would give for a reason?
  • Ginnie
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 23 May 2007, 07:15
First of all, Ellie, I tip my hat to one of the best-written arguments to a debate ever! You wrote it with great care, objectivity and self-control. You are to be commended for this. Thank you.

Secondly, in bringing this debate here to your post, away from the Forum, you have opened it up to the rest of us who don't always visit there. I really appreciate that. Perhaps the question will now be better entertained by the majority. Thank you.

Thirdly, I already knew where I stood on the issue but didn't realize how much until I read your well-formulated response. I couldn't agree with you more and believe you have become the Voice on this side of the argument. Thank you.

Fourthly, the one part that resonnates with me more than any other is what effect censorship has on us as humans who are inquisitive. When you take something away from us, we end up sneaking around because we really are curious! Even though I am gay, as most people already know, I have always been super curious about the male nude. When my preacher dad walked around the house in his PJs or bathrobe when I lived at home, he ALWAYS covered his private area with his hands, drawing attention to it! So it was no wonder that I sought high and low in college (back in the early '60s) to find pics of male nudes. Interestingly, I could find anything I wanted of female nudes, but not of males. Almost all of them wore g-strings. That only made me MORE curious! Once I found what I was looking for, it was like, "what's the big deal!"

The point is that when we finally have the freedom to see what we want, it becomes ho-hum/blasé. There will always be those who will misuse the freedom. But in the same way you can't have light without dark, or good without bad, you can't have freedom without misuse. But surely there are other regulations/consequences that can be put in place than taking the freedom away altogether.

What you have written stands alone without any additional words I have written here. But I did want you to know I support you and why.

And once again, THANK YOU.
EJWilkins: It's Saturday now. I know I've taken a while to get round to responding to the comments everybody's left, but I've been so surprised by the response and the range of thoughts offered. I won't say any more now, there's more in the forum. Thank you for taking the time to add your opinion here.
I agree with you on most accounts Ellie.
EJWilkins: Thank you for saying what you think Anup
  • mal
  • 23 May 2007, 09:41
Nice dof
EJWilkins: What dof? There isn't any, well, not much ... the paper got moved by a breeze, it was almost dark when I took the picture! wink
  • mal
  • 23 May 2007, 09:43
Lol - Sorry El, had to leave the shortest response to the best layed comments that I have read on shutter.

I would take those images of which we speak and display them proudly.

censorship sucks in any form!

May I lay my voice to support your comments in full!

mal
EJWilkins: TY Mal wink

... shortest response ...
  • nev
  • Aus
  • 23 May 2007, 10:19
I clicked on your google link and it was all just french to me. smile I must say i have been doing the deep breathing thing in the forums so i have not let myself get worked up about it. I don't think i've seen such a long post since my alien abduction post so good on you for working those phalanges ellie.

Reductions in freedoms are a sore point with me as well. itemising freedoms does not increase them. The US has a bill of rights but do they have more freedom than those gained under a westminster system where some freedoms ara taken as given. another subject i think.

For me the sore point is that i have been living under a conversative government in world climate of neo-conservatism. neo nazi parties have been making their way back into power. In our country we are losing the power of speech and freedoms. Our present government brought in
laws (because people were stupid enough to vote in the same party in both houses of parliament) which made it possible for people & journalists to be guilty of sedition for saying things against the government. Orwellian is pretty close to the mark. In our country there has been a concerted effort to control us through fear. This has been helped by the media who have everything to gain by selling stories of fear. I refuse to subscribe to it. i better find a paper bag and start the breathing again. I cannot disagree with you ellie and good on you for being passionate enough to putting down your thoughts.
EJWilkins: smile I tried the brown paper bag, it didn't work!
Good points Neal, thanks for adding your opinion to the debate.
My goodness, this has subject has caused a stir!

No point in me voicing my opionions as, Ellie, you have voiced and supported them most eloquently. Your post is well worth the time and effort it must have cost you.

I really would not like to see any form of censorship on here, because it seems to me to be a very broad based and well balanced site. Should that balance change and there becomes a predominance of, what I consider in my own personal opinion, pornographic images, then I would simply abandon the site and look for somewhere else. I have to add that, so far, I have not found a single image which I personally consider offensive.

As a slight aside to this debate, can I add that the only images which have given me any discomfort, have been those of young children. I have seen some truly stunning images, well worthy of inclusion on this website. Brilliant photographs, beautifully executed and obviously brimming with love and pride in the subject. I look at these photographs as a mother, and they remind me of the constant joy and wonder of my own child, and I really relate to them.

Sadly, and this is, for me, one of the most damning inditements of the age in which we live, I have a sort of creeping anxiety about who else might be looking at these pictures, and for what purpose.

Again, I`m not suggesting any form of moderation, as Ginnie said:

`There will always be those who will misuse the freedom. But in the same way you can't have light without dark, or good without bad, you can't have freedom without misuse.`

I would simply urge a little caution and common sense. If an innocent photograph of a child suddenly draws 500 anonymous hits, it would start alarm bells ringing for me. If, as they seem to do at the moment, these beautiful shots receive a majority of admiring and constructive comments from `members`, I would say this site is not attracting the wrong sort of traffic. If that changed, I would still only suggest self moderation.
EJWilkins: Thanks Ros.
I'm trying very hard not to agree or disagree with any comments people have left because it's difficult for them to return to add more. I'm grateful that you have taken the time to add your opinion and raise other matters that concern you.
  • Ray
  • Thailand [Land of Smiles]
  • 23 May 2007, 10:41
Hi Ellie. Nice "blue". Image could benefit from a little "keystone correction".

Eerrr...about your Epistle...very eloquent, although a little verbose. A short precis....Shutterchance participants should be allowed to decide for themselves what material they will post and/or view.

I agree 100%, and thank you for your [as usual] interesting and entertaining post.
EJWilkins: smile You're right there Ray, a little more care with presentation of the image.
As for my words, yes, you're probably right but I suffer from verbal diarrhoea on occasions, this was one of them. Your précis is most appropriate
the blue is nice - sorry I haven't been visiting the last few days - too muc hgoing on here.
EJWilkins: Thanks Chantal smile
Hi Ellie, Love this post and I totally agree with all your points ... The bottom line is that we should be allowed to show our work and in turn appreciate other people's work.

This whole censorship thing really drives me up the wall, again well written , well said.... Thank you.
EJWilkins: Thanks for leaving a comment Ade, another point of view and another opinion that adds substance to the whole debate.
It's appreciated by all concerned.
Ellie thank you for taking the time to voice yourself so beautifully.

As someone who studied life drawing in a class with a male and female model, I have no problem with nudity in an artistic sense. Even strong, emotional, expressive nudes are okay with me. What irritates me is some of the cheap motel room shots that have been displayed here on Shutterchance with links back to sites that had little or nothing to do with art. That's prostitution and that inflames and upsets the balance for people who are doing true art.

I don't know what the answer is- but I'm bothered by people that risk the privleges of all for their own personal gain.

Thanks again for your thoughful viewpoint.
EJWilkins: Thank you Josie for taking the time to add a further aspect to the debate. It's been really surprising to see so many responses, and to have the issue taken further.
Ellie,

I think you are brave and intellectually honest in what you said. Everyone can feel that you have been cautious in the way you explained your views and by the way all the comments recognize that.

It's a far more difficult subject that one might think because, beyond the key question about censoring - which opens by the way another question about who would be the censor - there is another one, very profound that explains why the debate is so strong : it is the representation that everyone has of its own body, how much he/she likes or dislikes it and to which extent he/she manage others' representations.
It would be too long to enter such a discussion here and probably my psychanalitical angle on that doesn't interest a lot of people.

Just a simple reminder : this is a photoblog hence it's all about representation...
My last word : the only thing I can say is that respect, compassion and honesty are the two value that should drive us when shooting AND when looking other people's shots.

Regards
Laurence
EJWilkins: Thank you Laurence for taking the time to add a very thoughtful and interesting comment that adds to the debate. I know it will be seen, and listened to.
I've read all the comments above and they all make for interesting reading. There is only one point that I think we are all missing here when we make our pro-nudity arguments. This is that as admirable a concept it is to expect that nudity as a subject will be viewed in pretty much the same way as pictures of flowers, and exotic locations, realistically speaking, it isn't. Whether that is right or wrong is a matter for conjecture, but it is the reality of the society in which we live.

The fact that one objects to seeing pictures of nudity, and explicit nudity at that on a site that is not dedicated to nudity, does not render one a hypocrite, or mean that one is uncomfortable with one's own sexuality or that one does not get in the nude at different points during the day. It just recognises the fact that nudity is seen largely as something that should be expressed in private, or where it is public, at least on a site that the visitor expects to find nudity on. This is not specific to SC, it is specific to most of modern society. Explicit nudity as a subject is not generally considered a neutral subject, but is in fact one that divides opinion rather sharply, and in as much as SC wishes to maintain it's neutrality, the wisest course of action would be to steer clear of decidedly non neutral subject areas, of which we have to admit (regardless of where we stand along the debate,) nudity is one.

It's the reason why if any of us saw a person walking naked on the street, we wouldn't just glance and then look away and take it in our stride, we would most probably do a double take and hurry along, or outrightly stand and stare. We would assume that either the person was mad, or he was an exhibitionist of some sort. If you went to a nudist beach however, it would be expected that you would see people walking around stark naked, because for you to be at a nudist beach, it means, you either are there to go walk around in the nude yourself, or you subscribe to seeing people walking around naked.
For example, the fact that one objects to watching porn, does not mean that one does not have sex, or believe in sex as a means to procreation, but the arguments that I have heard above seem to imply that to have sex, and yet object to porn, makes one a hypocrite. That point is that no matter how artistically sound, nudity as a subject is not today equated in the same terms, or be viewed in the same way as most other things. Maybe at some point in the future, but not yet...

I don't think it's as much an issue of censorship, as much as it is ensuring that shutterchance remains neutral. Ironically, the fact that one doesn't neccessarily wish to see nude pictures on shutterchance does not mean one has a problem with nude pictures, it may just be the fact that as shutterchance is not a site that is so designated, you can reasonably expect not to find nude pictures on SC.

That's my 2 cents, virtually lone voice, I know, but that's my opinion. As Ellie said, if you've read up to this point, thanks for your tenacity, lol smile
EJWilkins: And a very valuable two cents worth too. Thank you Fehinti, I know it will have taken you a long time to write this and share what you think. smile
And at the risk of saying way too much on the subject, it just occured to me that a brilliant way to buttress my point would be to suggest some sort of categorisation on SC, so that pictures of a somewhat graphic nature are posted under that category, which entrenches the element of choice that we are all entitled to, whether you are for or against nudity. One man's right to post nude pictures should not trump another man's right to be offended by nude pictures and vice versa, and those that argue that the conservatives are seeking to stifle nudity are by the same argument, guilty of the same offence, I think...

A good way forward would be to categorize, that way, those that wish to see nude pictures, or any other graphic images have the choice to click on such category, and those that do not, have the choice to refrain from doing so, and we can all continue to enjoy our time on SC without being told that if we do or do not like to see or post nude pictures we should change site.
Ok, nuff said. I promise smile
EJWilkins: Hopefully nobody has felt the need to leave Shutterchance over this matter, it would be tragic if they have.
... and thanks again smile
Ellie,
This is by far, the most interesting post on SC. I've read your words, beautifully written and expressed perfectly. I support you in your stance, and appreciate all the hard work you've taken to get your point across. That is, after all, one of the personal freedoms we are lucky to enjoy so much. smile I count my blessings for that too!
EJWilkins: Thanks Kay, I appreciate your comment. I've been very surprised by the number of people who have taken the time and trouble to leave comments here. smile
  • Saratu
  • Aberdeen
  • 23 May 2007, 15:50
Very interesting read Ellie and i was glad to read this - "They have learned that exercising their rights to free speech and free expression must never extend to stifling others' freedoms"

I have an issue with freedom of speech etc. some people use that excuse to say offensive things and behave in unacceptable ways just because they are exercising that right. anyway censorship sucks and we should be allowed to view what we choose to.
EJWilkins: Thank you. smile
I'm trying very hard not to agree or disagree with any comments people have left because it's difficult for them to return to add more. Have you thought about visiting the forum?
That was a lot of good reading - especially going through every comment too smile

I like people expressing their point of view - keep on doing that smile
EJWilkins: And thank you Aksel, for adding your opinion too. smile
I've stuggled to put together a reply worthy of your fine words on this subject Ellie. You know my feelings on this, and the introduction of a risque filter. Hard won freedoms are being eroded, and that's the most disturbing aspect of this matter.

Chris
EJWilkins: Thanks Chris, I shouldn't have kept you talking for quite so long. I appreciate your listening ear and of course your support. smile
I'd like to commend you on this piece of writing. You have obviously given it much thought. I essentially agree with your viewpoint. The right to freedom of expression means that we must tolerate what we in our own minds may find offensive or distasteful. It is about perception, cultural backdrop and intent. Censorship merely erodes everybody's rights, especially the right to make your own value judgemens. As is often said "if you don't like what you see on the TV, switch it off" All the best, Dave
EJWilkins: Thank you David, for adding a reasoned response. I've been very surprised by the number of replies and as Patrick says, what I missed out others have added.
  • Alistair
  • Crying for Liverpool
  • 23 May 2007, 23:07
I apologies for coming to this subject rather belatedly. Congratulations on your eloquent presentation of a difficult subject. Thank you also for publicising the Forum thread which I have to admit I had only glanced at. I share your point of view on the subject of censorship.

However I get the impression that the problem Shutterchance faces is more complicated than simple censorship. The linking of blogs containing nudes to external sites which may contain something rather more dubious is a form of spamming and as such needs to be addressed. This hijacking of innocent sites by those with ulterior motives is one of the most pernicious scourges afflicting the Internet and presents a major problem for site owners.

I feel we need to understand the problem that Shutterchance is endeavouring to resolve before we get too heavy on the subject of censorship.
EJWilkins: Not late at all Alistair. smile I'm trying very hard not to agree or disagree with any comments people have left, but I do thank you so much for taking the time to add your opinion.
Hola Ellie !! Has tenido valor al lanzar te públicamente en este tema. No necesito ahora grandes traductores porque como sabes, he seguido el foro desde sus inicios.

Ahora, no quiero hacer grandes disertaciones sobre el tema, porque seguramente ningún traductor sería capaz de traducir correctamente todas las palabras y su sentido. Yo, lo único que puedo añadir es que estoy de acuerdo EN TODAS Y CADA UNA DE TUS PALABRAS, como ya sabes y como no puede ser de otra manera. Quizás haya una palabra que podría resumir esto: LIBERTAD. Libertad para decidir por uno mismo lo que está bien y lo que está mal. Libertad para poder decir libremente lo que se piensa sobre lo que vemos, siempre bajo el respeto, y la libertad del otro. Que palabra más bonita: LIBERTAD !!

P.D.: El amigo Reza, es "powered" no "supporter ", que raro, no? wink

Hello Ellie! You have had value when sending you publicly in this subject. I do not need great translators now because as you know, I have followed the forum from its beginnings. Now, I do not want to make great dissertations on the subject, because surely no translator would be able to correctly translate all the words and their sense. I, the only thing that I can add is that I agree IN ALL and EACH ONE OF YOUR WORDS, as you already know and as it cannot be of another way. Perhaps there is a word that could summarize this: FREEDOM. Freedom to decide by one same one what is well and what he is bad. Freedom to be able to say freely what one thinks on which we see, always under the respect, and the freedom of the other. That prettier word: FREEDOM!
P.D.: The friend Reza, is "powered" not "supporter", that rare, no? wink
EJWilkins: Thank you Jose, for taking the time to add your valuable opinion. smile
I am not responding except to say thank you. I think everybody's thoughts should be left to stand, with no more comment here from me.

Gracias Jose, por tomar la época de agregar su opinión valiosasmile
No estoy respondiendo a menos que para decir gracias. Pienso que a todos los pensamientos se deben dejar al soporte, sin más comentario aquí de mí. Tengo dicho más en el foro.
I have to say that this is a very commendable effort from you Ellie on a subject that, if dealt with even half the maturity that you displayed in writing this, wouldn't have snow-balled into a debate throughout the world. I totally agree with your thoughts (I would rather call it our thoughts) and I think filtering hurts more than it helps. If we keep the debate focussed to SC, I certainly do not think there is a need for a debate at all. I can't remember any post (I do have a look at most of them daily) that was gross. Because the "intent" by all of us has always been to show-case the creative output we achieved or are trying to achieve and learn to improve our photography skills in the process and since it has not in anyway been to shock or to sell porn, I do not think we do need filtering, with the kind of maturity all of us here have been displaying. And I believe that should put the debate to rest. Thanx for voicing "our" views.
EJWilkins: Thank you Thomas, I'm trying very hard not to agree or disagree with any comments people have left. I truly appreciate the time you have taken to leave a comment here. smile
Ellie, I am simply speechless. I try to keep my comment as short as possible. You said it all, and if you missed something the community has wonderfully added everything there is to say to it. By the amount and the quality of the comments, you know that you have achieved a major milestone in Shutterchance history. You are so right.

As one who frequently posts images that are part of the origin of the debate, I would like to say that I have no problems with the way the risque filter was implemented by the SC team, and I will probably use the flag in the future. Let it be know that I fully agree with you and as such the questions remains on which one of my images will I apply the risque flag? If you needed to write this in order to be able to enjoy pictures again, I imagine that I now feel the load on my chest...

I am very happy to be part of this community, it seems that this community is going way farther than just sharing some photos...Ellie As so many before me mentioned, you have taken us all to a whole new level.

I would like to finish with a quote from Goethe:

"Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Let there be photography.

Thank you so much Ellie, let's all enjoy again...
EJWilkins: Thank you Patrick. smile I too have been amazed by the response and by the eloquence of those who have replied. I am truly grateful for everybody taking the time to say what they think.
  • alex
  • 28 May 2007, 01:43
wow, what did i miss while i was away! =D

ellie, your post is quite eloquent, and it takes strength to be that honest, and therefore VULNERABLE. i applaud you.

i was raised very conservatively. this has left me (i think very unfortunately) with a very "repressed" view of sexuality/nudity, etc., and i gotta say i don't like that. i think the nude form should leave a feeling of freedom. it should be tastefully displayed (wow, though, that's such a statement for interpretation). if people truly believe that the human form was the peak expression of G*d's creativity, why not celebrate it? that's what the artists did in ancient times, and also more recently during the Renaissance...if we truly view those works of art as "classics" then why is the nude form suddenly not "classic" today? is it only because it's easier to capture with a camera than spend thousands of hours making a sculpture?

i agree with what you wrote...i believe shutterchance is a great community, and i love intellectual debates such as these....brings me back to my times at Stanford. i think nudes are an acceptable expression of artistic talent, and they should be done in such a manner...i.e. "artistically"

well put.
  • Lilith
  • Through the looking glass
  • 30 May 2007, 08:59
I have come to this far too late to comment, but thanks Ellie for bringing it to my attention. (I will now pay closer attention to the forum!)
Oh, and a big thumbs up to all those who replied to you expressing concern that SC is being censored.

Leave a comment

must fill in
[stop comment form]
show
for this photo I'm in a constructive critical comments icon ShMood©
camera E-400
exposure mode A-DEP program
shutterspeed 1/80s
aperture f/4.0
sensitivity ISO250
focal length 40.0mm
Tallinn MemorialTallinn Memorial
drying the dogdrying the dog
Obidos liliesObidos lilies

Warning