Talk:Bill Henson

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No such Act[edit]

Article says: with the intention of charging him under the NSW Child Protection Act [1]

Hmm, a review of AustLII shows that no such act exists [2]. The following acts do exist:


However, none of their provisions are relevant to this case as far as I can se.

Now, later on, the linked to SMH article says "Police say charges will be laid under both the NSW and Commonwealth Crimes acts for publishing an indecent article." Publishing an indecent article is section 578C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), as amended [3]. Interestingly enough, it appears that he will be charged with an obscenity offence under 578C rather than child pornography offences under section 91H -- my impression is that the prosecution success record for obscenity (as opposed to child pornography) offences is pretty poor, which would suggest he'll probably be found not guilty.

In any case, it seems like the charges would be under the Crimes Act, not this non-existent "Child Protection Act". I think the SMH is just engaging in sloppy journalism here (then again, journalists tend to get the facts wrong more often that not anyway.) --SJK (talk) 02:38, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

"Much of his art deals with the subject of adolescence."?[edit]

This is highly incorrect and is clearly skewed based on the throwing into question the legality of his recent exhibition. Much of the later work of Bill Henson contains a theme of adolescence, however the vast body of his work does NOT deal simply with adolescence —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:09, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

"Henson states that he is not interested in a political or sociological agenda"[edit]

This sentence by a previous contributor is now orphaned from the rest of that entry. I have referenced an appropriate interview statement, but I wonder would the original contributor prefer to remove it? As it is now it is a minor and rather trivial aside unless connected in some way to the 'Henson Controversy' and moved away from the section which might deal with facts of his life and artistic development aside from that episode which has come to dominate the page. sinarau (talk) 13:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Criticism and Art voices[edit]

I added these since this is a stub and put template reference. The reader needs to know the 2 sides, legal profession, critics and art voices: The legal profession, led by the New South Wales Law Society president Hugh Macken stated the case against Henson could be very difficult to prove: "The Crimes Act requires two things - an intention and an act,the Act is usually fairly easily established but if the intention is to produce a work of art and solely to produce a work of art, then I can not see how a crime has been committed.", Lawyers doubt Henson can be prosecuted Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell called the photos inappropriate, while Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd condemned the images: "I find them absolutely revolting, and whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff — frankly I don't think there are any — just allow kids to be kids." Sectors of the arts community protested on grounds of censorship. John McDonald, the art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, stated "he feels there is nothing sexual about the photos." Art market analyst Michael Reid, said: "the question is: 'Was there consent?' which I can't answer, and 'Has the image been sexualized?' In my opinion, it wasn't.", Indecency charges expected over Australian photo exhibit Judy Annear, senior photography curator of New South Wales Art Gallery, said: "They're beautiful. They're very, very still. They're very formal, they're very classical. They're a bit like looking at an Ancient Greek Attic vase.", Police seize 'child porn' art from Sydney gallery --Florentino floro (talk) 07:55, 24 May 2008 (UTC)


Shall we semi-protect this article?

This article has been a bit contoversial since in Austrilia it is all over news. So some people add a bit childish rantings? --Sinusha (talk) 10:11, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Link to the photos (off-shore) please[edit]

If anyone would like to find or add a link to the photos in dispute!? A location off-shore from Australia of course (though the legality of even viewing them from Austrlaia I have no idea about but then no one will ever know will they. ;-) And besdies I may view them during my holidays overseas anyway.) I would just like to see what all this (probably ridulous fuss is about! As I understand it there is only mild nudity (A) no sexual activity of any kind and (B) no particular sexual suggestivity (like lingerie etc.) although I believe there may have been an implied or dubiously suggestive pose in at least one photo, that is, one open to the suggestion of having sexual connotations, i.e. a sexual pose, i mean... (talk) 15:23, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Someone might remember the hollywood movie about a legal case along very similar lines where an art museum director is prosecuted unsucessfully for a display of similar nude young photos from an artist along very very similar lines as this though I cannot remember its name. It was based on a true story there. That would make a great link also... He won out on freedon of speech and that the jury agreed that the photos were art and not pornography. (talk) 15:33, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

I think we need to find the photo that sparked the controversy in the first place. I don't know how to upload a file so someone else will have to.--Stephen C Wells (talk) 20:12, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Well there seem to be links there now it seems to photos of young and nude women looking "strangely" at the photographer as I would put it although arguably provocatively I think, as indeed, I think this was the artist's intent since notoriety brings fortune they say! These may not be the recent and aledgedly offensive photos so called but I can see why others might take offense. However, personally I think freedom of expression should take precendence at least baring explicit sexualization or what I would call explicit rather than implicit lewdness. The human body - and yes even young ones - in all its nakedness im afraid has to be taken as a beautiful work of nature's art first and foremost. The judge(s) (on appeal too) is (and are) going to have one hell of a difficult case(s) to decide and the lawyers - on both sides - are going to have very long and complex arguments to weave methinks. This is going to go on for years or for as long as anyone fronts up the bills anyway. The public mood and therefore the case has got to be against the defendants favour right now given a recent spate of peadophilic pornography arrests in Australia (not to mention internationally) although I wish them good luck as they will certainly need it. Mattjs (talk) 15:38, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Whoopee! Charges dropped. I updated the article and others can edit it further as and when more news comes out! (talk) 02:46, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Section on controversies and reactions[edit]

Its a newish and currently hot topic, so in a state of flux, but 2 thoughts come to mind. Its too long (too many quotes) and given the most recent addition, suggests a new article with the title 'Censorship in Australia' or somesuch, where material on this theme would make more sense as part of a larger discussion of art censorship controversies in Australia, such as the one relating to Ern Malley referred to here by Guy Rundle. Eyedubya (talk) 08:44, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Removed this section:

"===Reactions=== Henson's images were compared to a similar call for removal of art in a public place in Canberra, Australia's national capital, in the week before Henson's art was seized: A shopping centre administration required the removal of seven nude life drawings by Year 11 and 12 high school students, exhibited as part of an annual exhibition at the centre, celebrating Public Education Week[1]. The exhibition's organiser contrasted these drawings with a suggestive image advertising Wrangler Jeans displayed in a window of the centre. The seven drawings were moved and displayed at the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly building. On 26 July 2008, Year 12 HSC Student and Filmmaker, Andrew Babington officially and publicly published a work in The Canberra Times which related directly to the way in which the censors had deprived Bill Henson of his right to free expression[2]. Babington's work depicted a naked girl wrapped up in fragile tape only to be lit and coloured the same way in which Bill Henson composed his controversial works. The artwork depicting the girl was to be the centerpiece of Babington's HSC art submission."

original research[edit]

Removed this section from the page as it looks like original research which is not encyclopaedic: "The Bill Henson exhibition resulted in a crisis of moral opinion, lead by media coverage and talkback radio. Technology has allowed a quick flow of information among society. Photography has enabled a blurring of lines between pornography and art the Bill Henson affair represents this process. The camera has been a tool to allow the user to produce the outcome. As Susan Sontag states “the camera is an observation station, the act of photographing is more than passive observing, like sexual voyeurism it is a way of at least tacitly... encouraging whatever is going on to keep on happening” (Sontag 1977 p150). The argument is that at whether Bill Henson believes he was being active user, the camera being a device for pornography. Both the art and the general community are still conflicted to who is right on this issue" See Wikipedia:No original research. Jenafalt (talk) 11:52, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

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  1. ^ No nudes please, Nyssa Skilton, Canberra Times, 1 June 2008, accessed 2 June 2008
  2. ^ Student Confronts Censorship, Jessica Wright, Canberra Times, 26 July 2008, accessed 26 July 2008