Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.

People called these photos of an artist’s daughter ‘pornographic.’ And this was his response / Huffington Post

Written by Priscilla Frank for Huffington Post.  Originally published August 21st, 2014.


HuffingtonPost


Wyatt Neumann is a photographer and a father. In 2014 he took his two-year-old daughter Stella on a cross-country road trip, photographing their journey along the way. Neumann captured sunsets and cornfields and, of course, Stella, often donning one of most two-year-old girls’ two favorite ensembles: a princess dress and nothing at all.

In the middle of the trip, what the Safari Gallery describes as “a hyper puritanical, neo-conservative group” launched a cyber-attack on Neumann’s images, specifically those of Stella. Calling the images “perverse,” “sick” and “pornographic,” members of the group attempted to remove all traces of them from the web. They successfully prompted Facebook and Instagram to shut down his accounts, and they criticized his artist website as well. While Neumann claims he was open to others expressing their opinions about his work, the “forced censorship” went too far.

“The anonymous public made their opinions about my work,” he explained in an interview with The Huffington Post. “It was the actions they took against me, the reality for me was that these people could actually affect my ability to express myself. They took down my Instagram and Facebook; those are huge digital platforms for a photographer. It had a physical effect on my ability to communicate with people. The fact that they had that ability to control my experience in this life made me want to fight back. I really believe that the work is beautiful and [reveals] the innocence of childhood.”

Neumann was determined, somehow, to turn all the hate directed his way into something beautiful. Rather than ignoring the criticism lodged against him, he created a new series in which he juxtaposed the hateful comments with the corresponding images he maintained were innocent. What he created was a photography show that presents both sides of the moral debate, allowing each visitor to interpret the images individually.

The title of the subsequent exhibition, “I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR CHILDREN –- The Sexualization of Innocence in America,” was in part inspired by an online comment attached to one of Neumann’s works that read: “The whole thing is sickening and I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR CHILDREN.” The exhibition examines the attacks launched against his photographs as well as what he sees as a segment of contemporary culture, thriving off shame and censorship, that incited such attacks.


Read more about Neumann’as exhibit, and how he’s combatting the sexualization of childhood in his own unique and beautiful work here! 

 

3 Responses to “People called these photos of an artist’s daughter ‘pornographic.’ And this was his response / Huffington Post”

  1. victoriapendragon

    In my time I’ve posed naked for many a photographer and a few painters… but I was a grown woman making the decision to allow my naked body to be seen, in some cases along with my actual identity. That was my privacy to open to the public, knowing full well that while some men would view it as the art that it had been created to be, while others would be sexualizing it, using the images for their own purposes.

    The sad fact is that there are disturbed individuals in the world that do sexualize children and in this case, while her father apparently had no intention of doing so, his photographs allow that to happen. His daughter is/was far too young to grasp the possibilities for the response these images might generate; I feel that he – her father – should have respected her privacy, perhaps asking her, when she attains full mental capacity, if her could show the work.

    I am probably somewhat more sensitive to this subject than most as I had the misfortune to be ‘rented’ as a child so I know the energy that’s out there, just waiting for an opportunity to be released. And, because I am an empath, (probably the result of the abuse), I also know that energy is a powerful and potent force; that just as ‘prayer’ can affect things at a distance, so too can emotion-fueled thoughts like those of a pederast looking at your picture.

    Reply
    • madamcurator

      Victoria,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful and considered perspective. I’m so sorry to hear you had such a negative experience as a child, however, I’m cheered to hear you were able to regain your agency and feel comfortable being photographed and painted naked. We publish posts like this precisely to encourage discussion and debate amongst our community. We welcome your views 🙂

      Reply
  2. victoriapendragon

    …and thank you for being a safe and intelligent space in which such things can be pondered…

    Reply

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