What's So Dirty About Kiddie Pictures?

Filed under: Weird But True, Media, Opinions, Sex

Class Portrait photographed by Anne Brooks and Samantha Harvey

The new school picture? Credit: Anna Brooks / Samantha Harvey

When art students Anna Brooks and Samantha Harvey asked if they could take some children's photos at a local school, they were told by the principal, fine. They could photograph one child, from behind.

Can't be too careful, right?

Wrong. We sure can be. We can be so careful that we warp what was a normal and wonderful part of life -- taking pictures of kids -- into something disgusting. Why has it become so dangerous, so dirty to take kiddie pics today?

We have come to equate child photos with child porn.

It's that knee-jerk, "Oh no, you may not take a child's picture!" reaction inspired the young ladies' next project, "Class Portraits" -- traditional class photos of real kids, with their backs turned to the camera. "We hope people will be amused by the pictures," Harvey told the British Journal of Photography. "But we also wanted to ... ask at what point will the photography of children be completely forbidden?"

That point could be fast approaching. One woman I know wanted to take pictures at her son's Christmas play, but this was verboten. "I wish I could have shared some images with his father, who had to work," she said. But no.

Another mom I just spoke to said no one is allowed to take pictures at her kid's swimming lessons. After all, the kids are half naked!

Then again, so were my friends and me on our summer vacations at Lake Michigan. Glad no one stopped my mom from taking the pictures we still love.

And then there are the stories like the one in a mall in West Virginia last December, when a freelance photographer snapped some shots of kids with Santa, and their fathers saw this and insisted he delete them.

The guy did. But the dads still pointed him out to a cop. When the photographer tried to take the cop's picture too, he ended up in a holding cell.

Those dads, I'm sure, felt protective and proud: No pervert is going to ... well, what, exactly? Sell those pictures to some porno site? Who wants pictures of fully-clothed kids?

So maybe the photographer was going to use those photos to track down their kids? That's a free-floating fear these days. But couldn't a halfway decent predator just follow them home?

OK, so maybe the photographer was going to use those Santa photos to get his rocks off? If so, who cares? If every photo of every kid is too hot to handle, maybe we should make a big bonfire and burn all the old Life magazines, every birthday album ever made and "Miracle on 34th Street" while we're at it. That girl was cute.

Pictures of kids used to be innocent. Now they're dirty. What has changed? Not the pictures. Not the kids.

Us.

Related:
'I See You Have a Family Decal on Your Car. Now I Will Kidnap Your Kids!'

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.