I’ve discussed this topic in relation to painting and sculpture, now it’s time to discuss photography. One of the reasons I was so shocked at the controversy over Bill Henson was that I had known for some decades that the naked child has been considered a valid subject for photography ever since the beginning. I was completely baffled that people seemed not to know this. It could only mean they were profoundly ignorant of the history of photography.

One such early pioneer was Alice Boughton. The photo below has been reproduced many times. It is considered a minor classic. Nor is it the only one Boughton did (see below).

It was taken in 1909 – 100 years before the Henson controversy! And it is by no means the earliest example of the naked child as subject.

Alice Boughton, Nature


6 Responses to The Naked Child in Art: Photography

  1. ab says:

    Me too!
    I always assumed that naked children were perfectly fine for photography.
    In fact, I thought it was more common than naked adult photography.
    I was totally shocked to know that so many people were against the freedom in art to photograph a child naked.
    I am obviously against little children having sex, but naked photography? It’s ridiculous to object against it.

    • Juris says:

      I agree with you but I think how speaked Ron, each one to have right for walk for his zone of confort and I or anybody do not can to judge the people for his desire free.

  2. Simon says:

    The people who make the most noise against nude children in art and photography are usually the very ones with the most impure thoughts.

  3. helena says:

    omg, has everyone forgotten about the nearly 100 year tradition of photographing nude children reposing on the classic “bare skin rug”??? these were considered staples of family photo albums and classic examples of the beautiful bodies of kids!!

  4. sdrago says:

    if the child/children are not posed in a sexual manner what is the big deal? just because some perv might get his/her rocks off should not be of issue when it comes to any artform. those same perves can just as easily go to any public beach or pool with his own camera and see enough with the swim suits which leave little to the imagination. it is rediculous to suppress true artfull photos because of what a relitively minor group of pervs might get out of it.

  5. Kim James Higinbotham/Photographer says:

    As a serious photographer, I can totally see the beauty of the black and white format.

Leave a Reply