Bill henson censorship essay

Indeed, some active participants in the current debate are still expressing surprise at it.

Bill henson censorship essay

The published version is available at http: The version submitted is given here. The censorship of photographs by artist Bill Henson involved two conflicting injustices, from the points of view of the contending parties.

For opponents of child sexual abuse, the key injustice was abuse of children, including photography without proper consent and encouragement for paedophiles and pornographers. For defenders of Henson, the key issue was artistic freedom from censorship.

This clash can be usefully examined through the actions taken by each side, assessing whether these actions are characteristic of those used by perpetrators of widely accepted injustices.

On 23 Maypolice raided the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery in Sydney, confiscated dozens of photographs by prominent artist Bill Henson and announced they would lay charges Tovey et al.

The photos displayed a year-old girl in various degrees of nakedness. Anti-child sexual abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston lauded the police action, seeing the images as pornographic and involving exploitation of the children involved.

Many artists took a contrary position, decrying the raid as an attack on artistic freedom. Here I approach the issue through the lens of methods or tactics, namely the words and actions taken by partisans on the two sides. In Bill henson censorship essay discourse Habermas, issues are debated using evidence and logical argument.

However, in actual conflicts, many other methods are used - police action, for example. My focus thus is not on the issues themselves - child protection and censorship - but on the methods used in the struggle. To assess the tactics used in the Henson affair, it is useful to look at conflicts over other issues in other arenas.

Powerful perpetrators regularly use five methods to reduce public outrage Martin For example, on 12 NovemberIndonesian troops opened fire on peaceful protesters in a funeral march in Dili, East Timor.

Unlike previous massacres, this one was witnessed by western journalists. The Indonesian government and armed forces used all five methods above. The government cut off phone services and tried to intercept a videotape of the massacre.

Government officials made derogatory comments about the protesters. They claimed that protesters had triggered the shooting and that only a few of them had died, whereas a later independent investigation gave the death toll as The government and the army each set up investigations, with a few scapegoats given mild penalties - mild at least compared to the treatment of East Timorese activists.

After the shooting, Indonesian troops arrested, beat and killed activists. However, on this occasion these efforts were inadequate to prevent a major public relations disaster.

Publicity about the massacre led to a huge increase in support for the East Timor independence movement Martin Given that this pattern is so widespread, it makes sense to work backwards from observed tactics to inferred concern about perceived injustice, namely to examine the tactics used in a struggle and see whether they are ones typically used by perpetrators of injustice.

This will signal whether partisans are seen to be playing fair by presenting their views honestly and openly or whether they are operating to minimise outrage from their actions by cover-up, devaluation, reinterpretation, official channels and intimidation.

To proceed, I consider each of these five methods in turn, noting any evidence that they have been used by one or both sides in the Henson controversy. This is a provisional examination, in that it is possible that later revelations may change the assessment.

Henson did not try to hide what he was doing. He approached his young subjects openly and asked permission of them and their parents. He displayed his photographs in public galleries. In terms of his art, Henson believed in exposure - in literal and figurative senses - quite unlike paedophiles, who operate covertly.

The confiscation of artworks was done in the public gaze, and critics were open in their condemnation. They were trying to hide images of naked bodies, to be sure, but that is a different sort of cover-up than the one relevant here.

The gallery received a number of abusive phone calls, including death threats. It is possible that one or both sides acted covertly in various ways, besides the phone calls. If this occurred, the evidence is not available.

Bill henson censorship essay

In summary, the available evidence suggests that both parties to the controversy have been open in their actions, aside from anonymous threats against the gallery. In relation to the tactic of cover-up, neither side has behaved like a perpetrator trying to hide its actions.

Killing someone thought to be a terrorist seldom generates as much concern as killing a valued member of the community, such as a doctor or altruistic campaigner.Oct 22,  · In , Bill Henson, one of Australia’s ‘greatest living artists’, was the subject of nation-wide scrutiny, which threatened him with a charge of child pornography (Marr, , p.

). Nov 16,  · Bill Henson Essay Ellie Brealey. Appraising Art Essay. Bill Henson Bill Henson is a leading successful contemporary artist.

Henson uses digital photography, demonstrating a surrealist quality to each of the pieces, in particular the “Untitled” series. He touches on many constant themes about youth and adulthood, male and female. Unacceptable Censorship, or Confusing Adolescence with Childhood: Another Look at the Henson Case Tony Mitchell.

Introduction. Opening tonight at the elegant Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in the heart of Paddington is an exhibition of photographs by Bill Henson, featuring naked 12 and 13 year-olds. Secondary Schools Essay Competition are relevant to your argument. For example, if you want to write about internet censorship, you may talk about freedom of expression.

If you want to write about curfews, you may talk 1 Michael Pelly “Artist Bill Henson Escapes Obscenity Charge” The Australian, 6 June The Henson Case is a remarkable investigative essay which draws on Marr’s extensive interviews with Bill Henson and features eight photographs from the Sydney show.

Share this book share High resolution cover picture Preview this book books View book rights notepad. Henson has had a successful career as a photographer and contemporary artist and his work is well known and respected.

Bill Henson works in the medium of photography. Figures, people and landscapes are a major aspect in Henson’s work. Henson works with dark tones and strong light sources.

Bill Henson | photolicioux