Many of you are probably wondering why I haven’t weighed in yet on the Olympia Nelson scandal that’s sweeping the nation. I haven’t posted on this yet for a number of reasons.
I’ve already covered a lot of the key debates in my series on Bill Henson and his works and don’t wish to bore you by repeating myself over and over. here is a bried summary:
I actually feel it’s a badly timed stunt that has probably hurt the cause rather than helped it. I’m also concerned that this may be a case of trying to garner publicity off another’s story. while this is a tried and true method for publicity, especially in the arts, I think it’s in bad taste in such a contentious issue. it feels to me to be less about raising awareness and trying to gain respect for nudes and children in the arts and more about “I photograph nude children too.” I could be wrong, but if it seems that way to me it probably appears that way to others as well and that can’t be good for this cause. Part of my reasoning in this regard has to do with the fact that Robert Nelson used to be very frank about his dislike of Henson’s works, to now turn around and defend them appears to me as if he has a different agenda.
I do think it’s good to stand up for this cause. I do think that it’s great that two notable arts parents are weighing in and that their daughter has been so forthright. I do not think this work is sexualized or in bad taste. I do think that Rudd should keep his mouth shut on topics he clearly doesn’t understand, and I certainly think he should apologize to a young girl who has done no harm other than to love being photographed and to stand up for her beliefs. I think that children are smarter than he gives them credit for and that their opinions are the ones that matter the most.