David Newnham and Chris Townsend: Pictures of Innocence
Thesis sentence: It is the stuff of nightmares- the sort of things that hardly bears thinking about. It could happen to you tomorrow morning. You are accused of a crime you did not commit, driven by police and interviewed for hours and your family questioned. And there is worse to come.
Accused for crime – not committed-interviewed for hours.
Topic sentences: The things you are supposed to have done is the very thing which society finds more abhorrent.
If you are sent to prison, the other prisoners will fall upon you for self righteous rage.
If you retain your liberty, establishing your innocence, society will shun you just the same – stained as you by brush with suspicion.
Self-righteous rage, retain liberty
Topic sentence: the crime of which you are accused is one which you yourself find unthinkable.
Your victim you told in that unfriendly interview room is someone who is dear to you.
Victim- dear to you.
Topic sentence: Nightmares like this thrive in a climate of fear and moral outrage.
At such times, those whose job it is to protect the society from evil are under pressure to seek it out in every quarter, to pursue every possibility and respond to every complaint.
By doing so, they may add to the general sense of panic, at the same time creating another sort of fear – the fear of repression.
Protect society from evil, sense of panic – fear of repression
Topic sentence: In Britain today, no crime is regarded with more abhorrence than the sexual abuse of children.
As a society, we have become uniquely sensitized to its various manifestations.
Many people who have regular contact with children, have come to fear that their contact will be misinterpreted – will attract accusing fingers, even that knock on the door.
Topic sentence: A clear idea of what behavior is unacceptable to society is essential to all of us.
Nowhere is there a greater clarification than on the question of how children may be represented in pictures.
When does the family photograph become child pornography?
Greater clarification – represented pictures.
Topic sentence: Arrest of ITN newsreader Julia Somerville and her partner Jeremy Dixon.
The couple were taken away and questioned because a photographic processing assistant told the police that a film left at a chemist's shop by Dixon contained 28 photographs of Somerville's seven year- old daughter in bath.
Topic sentence: after four weeks, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it was letting the matter drop.
But by that time, two things happened.
First, as the details of the arrest had been leaked to the press, Somerville, Dixon and, most worryingly of all Somerville's daughter, had all been exposed to a month of intense and damaging media speculation.
Second, the case had cranked up public anxiety about the representation of child nudity.
Details leaked to press-exposed to a month of intense and damaging media speculation.
Topic sentence: The Somerville affair was but the most newsworthy of many such incidents in which the police officers, responding to society's detestation of child pornography, have turned their attention to the lives and families of people subsequently found to be innocent of any wrongdoing.
Responding to society's detestation of child pornography.
Topic sentence: After the Somerville arrest, the magazine Amateur photographer launched a campaign for common sense, urging photographic processor to adopt a consistent set of guidelines when it came to interpreting child photographs.
Photographic processor to adopt a consistent set of guidelines.
Topic sentence: Emily Ovenden, 19- year old girl, throughout her childhood modeled nude to her father.
'When you were a kid' Emily says, 'you want to be photographed'.
Topic sentence: Emily refuses to be interviewed by the police.
She knows how her friend Maud was reduced to tears by the questioning about the sexual acts which never took place.
She knows how Maud's father felt threatened and bullied.
She knows how traumatized they all were by their contact with the police.
Topic sentence: few people would dispute that pornographic images of children should be illegal.
Laws by which we circumscribe the existence grow layer upon layer as we attempt to stay one step ahead of the pornographers.
Other laws created during moments of moral outrage- some would say hysteria-come in to being fully formed.
One such law is Protection of Children Act (1978)
Topic sentence: The Act has all marks of tactic by moral pressure groups and religious fundamentalists.
The original Private Member's Bill covered nothing.
'Too often ', said the Home Office, 'the courts are, placed in an almost impossible task by the house'.
The Act has become a powerful tool, to be deployed in ways which were never intended.
Topic sentence: Buoyed up by MP's on all sides of the House, riding on a tidal wave of extraordinary claims, Cyril Townsend's Bill floated easily on the statute book.
The Bill changed the wording which enshrined the criminalization of imagery.
It introduced the concept of 'indecency', but refused to provide definition.
'Indecency' was whatever right-thinking people understood it to mean 'by applying the recognized standards of propriety'.
Topic sentence: In the following year the Act received further refinement for the Court of Appeal.
New ruling stated that pictures suspected of being indecent must be judged outside the context in which they were created.
No witnesses could be called to explain the motive for taking the photographs.
In 1994, the Criminal Justice Act gave police the power to arrest people without the warrant on suspicion of the sexual abuse of children.
Judged outside the context.
Topic sentence: Has the 1978 Act, promoted 'to prevent the exploitation of children by their use in pornographic character' done anything to curb the activities of child abusers?
According to Stephen J King, a third of all prosecutions under the Act between 1991 and 1993 were either dismissed or not proceeded with.
Criminologist Dr Bill Thompson dispute that the 'flood of material' which initiated the legislation ever existed.
Flood of material.
Topic sentence: Jan Schuijer and Ben Rossen investigated the trade in child pornography.
According to them all the pictures were commercially produced during seventies.
Most of them were in the magazines such as 'Lolita'.
Almost the same pictures were being recycled.
They concluded that no new child pornography were there since the early eighties.
Topic sentence: Thompson believes that the much – hyped child porn sweeping across the internet consists of images from 'Lolita', topped up with pictures from clothing catalogues.
The real child abusers use technology which is beyond policing- to produce images.
The fear of porn explosion has meant that the artists and their models, and entire families who want pictures of their children without clothes, are liable to investigation.
Attempt to enforce the ill-defined law on child pornography made the adults scared of being intimate even with their own children.
Fear of porn- scared of being intimate
Topic sentence: The officers of HM Customs and Excise, the police, and the CPS have had to become the specialized arbiters of indecency.
In the absence of clear legislation, they seem to operate according to various criteria.
One Officer has said, off the record, that 'any nude picture of a child under the age of consent is indecent'.
Picture of a child under the age of consent is indecent'.
Topic sentence: Most of the convictions secured under the Protection of Children Act have been in the Crown courts, and the majority of those convicted have been fined or put on probation.
All the indications are that this law is doing little to protect society from real child pornographers.
But the bodies charged with enforcement are under pressure to secure convictions.
Society wants child abusers brought to justice.
Protect society –justice.
Paragraph 22: Topic sentence: The Obscene Publication Squad believed that Ovenden, father of Emily, a painter was at centre of child pornography ring for 15 to 20 years.
The OPS raided his house and found large quantities of negatives, photographs and videos.
He clearly believes in childhood as a state of grace.
His paintings often explore the identity and sexuality of the pre-pubescent girl.
State of grace, explore the identity and sexuality of the pre-pubescent girl.
Topic sentence: It is easy to find elements to object to in Ovenden's art.
It is sentimental and naïve and it represents adolescent sexuality.
It represents sexuality at all is enough to condemn it in the eyes of observers.
It contrives to be innocent.
Sentimental- naïve – eyes of observers.
Topic sentence: David Hockney says 'the idea that children naked are not beautiful seems to me hideous'.
Of course, what is hideous are the acts perpetrated by child abusers.
Topic sentence: Ron Oliver was- outside of Britain he still is- a portrait photographer specializing in the family.
He was frequently commissioned by wealthy, influential parents to record their children.
When requested by his subjects he would take tender pictures of their children.
Parents see beauty in the bodies of their offspring.
But police saw things different.
Topic sentence: Oliver's photography inspires various reactions.
It seems open, sincere, at times sentimental.
But no one could describe it as 'Kiddie porn'.
Three years on from the raid, the police brought no charges.
There appears to be a serious fault-line between reality and the police claim of breaking up a major child- porn ring.
Topic sentence: There are many photographers who focus more obsessively on the naked child than Oliver.
Sally Mann's studies of her children have been shown at galleries throughout the UK.
To many they are disconcerting pictures – to others they are symbol of love, fiercely protective of their subject.
Hamilton's work is 'unequivocal in its sexual intent'.
But Oliver is considered as demonized pornographer.
Symbol of love, unequivocal in its sexual intent'.
Topic sentence: These days, Oliver lives on the continent, where attitudes to nudity seem more enlightened and the laws governing photography of children are less open to inconsistency of interpretation.
His possibility of working in Britain is destroyed by smears and innuendo.
He says 'all pictures need to show is closeness, affection, or just plain nudity. And frightened trouble minds look into these pictures and suspect abuse'
Pictures show closeness, affection, or just nudity.
Topic sentence: Oliver believes people in Britain are not aware that certain sorts of images may trigger investigations by the police.
Even if those pictures are subsequently deemed not to warrant prosecution, the private lives of everybody involved may come under scrutiny.
'If Britain does decide to regulate family behavior via its police force', Oliver says, 'then there should be law that makes it very clear how far one can go to avoid contact altogether. Such laws would give people the chance to have something that they can fight against – something they can campaign'.
Topic sentence: Emily still models, fiercely proud of her body.
She never felt self –conscious.
She no longer work with her father but at 19 poses for a photographer called China Hamilton.
Topic sentence: we have problem with nudity.
To look at our bodies and understand them is to know that we are sinful.
As a result we refuse to look at life, its beauty and corruption, and simultaneously we cannot tear our gaze away.
Instead of images of sincere sexuality we gorge ourselves on grotesque caricatures.
Ovenden's crime was giving his models a stake in the artistic process.
In this way he allowed them an awareness of their own sexual identity.
'Nudity at all levels was taken at face value'.
Refuses to look at life, beauty. Sincere sexuality- grotesque caricatures. Awareness of sexual identity.
Sensuality changes from century to century.
Critic John Berger writes: 'He who says "sensuous" – where the human body and the human imagination are concerned – is also "sexual".'
What's really at stake in all the push and pull between artists and the law is the right to represent and read childhood in particular ways.
We are not arguing about morals but ideology.
Morals- ideology, sensuous.
Topic sentence: childhood, especially that peculiar, painful interval we call adolescence, is something made by adults.
Ovenden, Oliver, Sally, Hamilton, the police, all put their own particular spin on it.
It is either the romantic Age of Innocence, or the moment of naïve emergence, self-understanding beginning to dawn at the moment the camera clicks shut, or else the place of darkness, of sexual repression, or, the place of sexual exploitation.
And despite the endless, obsessive documentation, all the images somehow miss the point.
the romantic Age of Innocence, naïve emergence, self-understanding beginning to dawn - the camera clicks shut, or else the place of darkness, of sexual repression, or, the place of sexual exploitation.
The truth of childhood is always in the emotionally wasted gaps between the happy, smiling poses, in absences.
Adolescence negotiates its own sexual desires, its anarchy, in the interstices of an adult world.
There are no pictures of your first cigarette, your first kiss.
The childhood which the moral entrepreneurs seem to want is the idealized, sanitized version which forms a matching set in a larger vision of secular, happy nuclear families.
Childhood the entrepreneur need-idealised, sanitized, - larger vision of secular, happy nuclear families.
Topic sentence: we also need moral panics to regulate our own secret desires.
By deflecting the crisis of abuse on to demonic, perverted paedophiles in organized rings, we forget that the real centre of abuse is too often the family.
Crisis of abuse, demonic, paedophiles, centre of abuse-family.