The Victorian author Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), after his stories of Alice in Wonderland, is most famous for his photographs of nude, young girls. Although they caused little controversy at the time of their creation, many contemporary viewers find them hard to swallow. Similarly, the photography of Bill Henson (1955- ) is viewed as unpalatable by many. Henson is like a modern day Lewis Carroll, famous (or infamous) for his images of children. There is much debate over his nudes, with some claiming that they are not “artistic” but “pornographic”. Because of this, in 2008 his images for an exhibit in Sydney, Australia were seized by police just before opening night. These images, which included photographs of twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls, were considered indecent.
What is your stance on Carroll’s images? Henson’s? (Especially in light of the reading “Dream-Rushes” by Carol Mavor.) Why do they make many of us so uncomfortable?
More information on and images from Bill Henson’s controversial exhibit in 2008: