I wasn’t sure I’d ever mention the photography of David Hamilton, simply because I don’t like it, never have. I’m not offended by the nudity. I just find it stylistically and thematically tacky – a rather overly-romantic, male-centered erotic fantasy of adolescent girlhood. Personally, I’ve never met any adolescent girl who behaves the way Hamilton chooses to depict them. I’m much more of realist.
I mention him primarily because Eva Ionesco said that her mother’s work went further than Hamilton – and because he provides a good example of how standards, at least in anglophone countries, have changed.
Hamilton used to be very popular in Australia. For years most general bookshops stocked a Hamilton in their photography section (which usually only cater to a broad and uncritical market and rarely carry any substantive titles). It was pure coffee table material. The last time I saw a Hamilton was in the bargain bins in a book sale (and no matter how cheap, I wasn’t the least bit tempted).
But Hamilton’s work seems to have disappeared, despite his latest title Erotic Tales being published in 2006 – well, disappeared from anglophone markets, because Erotic Tales was published in French and German.
There’s good reason. Some people in anglophone countries now regard his work to be child porn. In 2010 David Neal was convicted of the possession of category 1 child pornography material because he owned a Hamilton book. Despite the fact that these books were once widely available and had never been previously classified as child porn; and despite the fact they were still available online from Amazon UK.
Fortunately for Neal, the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal. The judge, Lord Justice Richards said (The Telegraph):
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