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
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.
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 -
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.
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