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Author Topic: The Lolita Affair  (Read 99401 times)

Craig Arnold

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2007, 02:38:05 pm »

Quote
Please.

This

is

a

child

we're discussing here.

She deserves to be protected at all costs.  Michael should have given more thought to the connotations of using 'Lolita' as a title, for her protection, if for nothing else.  Regardless of everything else, he should have erred on the side of caution and not slandered her person or invited such conversations as the one we're having here for the sake of an 'artistic' image.
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At all costs? Protected from what?

Are you seriously suggesting that on the strength of that image that someone is going to travel thousands of miles and track that girl down and do something nasty to her? And that this image would prove more likely to encourage such behaviour than a similar picture published in National Geographic under documentary auspices?

Nor is it slander, slander applies only to the spoken word. What you must mean is libel. To prove libel you must prove damage, and usually that must be financially quantifiable. So you can't mean that. What you must mean is that it's a mean thing to say, and somehow imagine that saying mean things (even when no such denotation or connotation was intended) should be illegal.

In most countries no model release is required for the making of fine art images.

When I saw that image and title I immediately thought that the girl was flirting. Someone of such tender years flirting with an older man immediately brings to mind "Lolita" as a loose cultural reference. From the title I got the impression that MR may have been slightly uncomfortable, or perhaps not. For after all such flirting is perfectly benign if the person who is being flirted with is a good and decent person who has no intention of pursuing the matter further. MR is clearly such a person.

Even if there are a bunch of dirty paedophiles furiously masturbating to the image (which possibility seems remote in the extreme) so what? They could equally well be aroused by a catalogue of children's clothing. Sick people can be aroused by things that normal people find innocuous, that is no reason to ban everything that any sick person could possibly take pleasure in.

At all costs? At the cost of our liberty? Our self-respect? The richness of art and literature?

The only comfort I take is that the young lady herself would probably hold you in the same contempt that I do.

Now run along and put "I believe that children are our future" on the stereo and sway misty-eyed as you contemplate a world stripped of all truth and beauty.



"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

– C. S. Lewis
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Pete JF

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2007, 02:50:29 pm »

Peripatetic,

The richness of art and literature? Please, run along and try to make your point with an image that actually merits it.

a world stripped of truth and beauty...please...you sound as misty eyed as the guy you are slamming. Keep it real, this situation is not going to threaten our liberty. The only thing it is going to threaten is the definition of art and how far you can stretch it.

(Yeah, the guy is a little over the top in his suggestion that some psycho might try to track this girl down.)

This image is trite and has been played out a hundred million times from national geographic to unicef to birthday party snapshots. It's like the next damn sunset that I don't want to see in print.

And, if you really understood Nabakov's book, you would realize that it was the Humbert who thought she was flirting. This is part of the problem...the modern slang term "Lolita" doesn't reflect what was going on in the book except on a very superficial level...which, unfortunately, is how most people read.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 02:53:02 pm by Pete JF »
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katemann

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2007, 03:05:50 pm »

Oh for heaven's sake - it's a picture of a girl who is being sexually provocative for a man with a camera in a third world country. If you find it shocking that a young girl who is just bordering on puberty would wish to appear "sexy" as she imagines "sexy" is, then you live in a world that is extraordinary, to say the least. Children are sexual beings.

I see a young girl who is having a pleasing fantasy - perhaps she is thinking about some babe she saw in a magazine. Perhaps she is just beginning to think about how men react to women, even young women. If there is any man reading this who imagines that good men do not find young women sexually attractive I will not be surprised although I would not agree. If there is any man here who has never found a young girl sexually attractive at least for a fleeting instance ... well I hesitate to chuckle, but it's almost unimaginable.

For myself, a 58 year old woman, I find that this photo is no more disturbing than the young women parading around my small city in Ontario with the tops of their thong undies displayed and their daring little décolletages. Young girls playing with their sexuality is a part of the human experience.

It is in that context that I view Michael's photo. (as I viewed the book, Lolita, which I did read, in the sixties). As a comment on our shared humanity, it qualifies as art.
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alastairbird

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2007, 03:17:09 pm »

Quote
The only comfort I take is that the young lady herself would probably hold you in the same contempt that I do.

Now run along and put "I believe that children are our future" on the stereo and sway misty-eyed as you contemplate a world stripped of all truth and beauty.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 03:19:41 pm by alastairbird »
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James Russell

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2007, 03:48:01 pm »

Quote
For myself, a 58 year old woman, I find that this photo is no more disturbing than the young women parading around my small city in Ontario with the tops of their thong undies displayed and their daring little décolletages. Young girls playing with their sexuality is a part of the human experience.

It is in that context that I view Michael's photo. (as I viewed the book, Lolita, which I did read, in the sixties). As a comment on our shared humanity, it qualifies as art.
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Whether upper middle class Canadians or under legal age Amazonians do or do not display their sexuality is not the point.

My mother always said two wrongs don't make a right and would see Mr. Recihman's actions as definatley wrong, regardless of the intent.

Personally I have no problem with the photograph, to me it's just a snapshot of a little girl with pretty eyes.  I read no sexual overtones into the image until I see Mr. Reichman's  title.

Titling this photograph is the root of the problem.

A well respected friend and fine photographer says great photos do not need titles or explanation and I completely agree.

I don't know Mr. Reichman's intention but if could be perceived as  cheap sensationalism and since these expeditions and Mr. Reichman's dvds are a commercial endeavor this episode could be viewed as pure exploitation, unless the  subject and her legal gaurdians were compensated and there was clear, informed intent.

I find the art argument hard to swallow when this photograph is surrounded by banner ads selling dvds and downloadable tutorials.

In my opinion.

JR
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2007, 03:55:16 pm »

Quote
...If i saw a picture of my young daughter and tagged with the superficial definition of LOLITA and then posted on a web site that people all over the world read...you can be sure that Michael would never forget my face after I walked into his gallery a couple of days later.

Is that a threat of physical violence to settle a difference of opinion?! I know you are conditioning it on affecting you personally, but nevertheless?!

This is exactly what is wrong with the reaction of the PC Gestapo: it is not that they disagree with the choice of the title, which is everyone's right... it is that they do not stop at disagreeing, they want more: a ban, apology, retraction, reparation, shutting down the site, jail time, and yes, physical violence.

Leping

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2007, 03:58:19 pm »

I am a member who disagreed with MR in the past, but I feel the need to express my support to him on this issue, as I found in general the quality and objectivity of this site has been improving recently.

Coming from a third world county where exploiting the young is a problem, there are size of art works focus on similar subjects.  These works are viewed either as forms of pure art depicting the human nature, or socially provocative type of practical art.  More than often, the child depicted in the works are helped, rather than harmed, from the social awareness the art work evoked.

I do not see the either angles to look at such kind of work wrong.  Actually they are often encouraged by the government there trying to raise the status of the poor country parts.  Westerners who has little understanding of these places usually does not understand these kind of arts there as well and shocked by what they see when they had the chance to be in the places.

Leping
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Quote
Oh for heaven's sake - it's a picture of a girl who is being sexually provocative for a man with a camera in a third world country. If you find it shocking that a young girl who is just bordering on puberty would wish to appear "sexy" as she imagines "sexy" is, then you live in a world that is extraordinary, to say the least. Children are sexual beings.

I see a young girl who is having a pleasing fantasy - perhaps she is thinking about some babe she saw in a magazine. Perhaps she is just beginning to think about how men react to women, even young women. If there is any man reading this who imagines that good men do not find young women sexually attractive I will not be surprised although I would not agree. If there is any man here who has never found a young girl sexually attractive at least for a fleeting instance ... well I hesitate to chuckle, but it's almost unimaginable.

For myself, a 58 year old woman, I find that this photo is no more disturbing than the young women parading around my small city in Ontario with the tops of their thong undies displayed and their daring little décolletages. Young girls playing with their sexuality is a part of the human experience.

It is in that context that I view Michael's photo. (as I viewed the book, Lolita, which I did read, in the sixties). As a comment on our shared humanity, it qualifies as art.
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Leping Zha
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RobertJ

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2007, 04:00:54 pm »

I have no problem with the image, and I also don't find a need to give my images a title, but a few things come to my mind:

How do we know this is a child?

What if she's 18?

Who's to say that in her country, 18 is the legal age of an adult?

Why is it that in the USA, 21 year olds can drink alcohol legally, an 18 year old is considered an adult, 16 year olds can drive cars, and 17 year olds can watch movies that are rated R, with violence, nudity, and sex?  

Who are they to say that these are the legal ages for these activities, and who are we to say that this girl is too young to be titled "Lolita" in an artistic portrait?
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Leping

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2007, 04:23:26 pm »

In China, kids are driking hard liquor and the legal age for everything is 14.

My landscape works are famed for their heavenly sweetness.  However, more and more I am realizing this kind of work is not what this world really needs, here and in my home country.

Leping
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Quote
I have no problem with the image, and I also don't find a need to give my images a title, but a few things come to my mind:

How do we know this is a child?

What if she's 18?

Who's to say that in her country, 18 is the legal age of an adult?

Why is it that in the USA, 21 year olds can drink alcohol legally, an 18 year old is considered an adult, 16 year olds can drive cars, and 17 year olds can watch movies that are rated R, with violence, nudity, and sex? 

Who are they to say that these are the legal ages for these activities, and who are we to say that this girl is too young to be titled "Lolita" in an artistic portrait?
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« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 04:29:07 pm by LEPING »
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Leping Zha
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Nick_T

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2007, 04:25:20 pm »

Well IMO there's nothing wrong with the pic.

 It's the title obviously.

"Lolita" has never had especially pleasant connotations but in the context of the internet, the word simply means "child pornography".

Nick-T
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pgpgsxr

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2007, 04:31:27 pm »

As soon as I saw the image I had a feeling Michael was in for a problem with the title and the girl´s pose. I don´t find anything offensive at all with the title or the image as whole but I knew for sure all the "Web morality Police" and all the vultures who attacked Michael for his M8 review would be ready to pounce on him once again.
 It´s pathetic and very sad to see all these people who are up in arms about a load of nonsense not trying to use their time and energy in something more creative and positive. The world is in a bad enough state as it is!!
 Paul
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acomj

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2007, 04:37:23 pm »

I saw the picture, didn't read the title and though nothing of it.

Today I found the title.  I was not amussed.

The problem with the title is that word has a certain conotation and makes the girl in the photo the "object of desire" despite her seemingly young age.  Add to that the photo is taken by an older man. Makes him look like a perv in my estimation since he obiviously found her desireable.  That behavour is generall frowned upon. Then he names it the "lolita affair" to stroke the fire.

He had to see this comming. Publicity?

MR says its art and "It has no social, political or moral message." Clearly art has a message and the name clearly adds context to the photo (as he said it would)

Also the title is making asumptions about the girl in the photo something she might not want to be.  Obviously he knows little about her.

Its like taking a picture of someone walking and naming it Jerk.
Or like titling a photo  the N word.  That would certainly change the meaning of a photo of a black person.
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James R

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2007, 04:39:34 pm »

Michael,

I agree with your position on art.  But, I am a little off put by your condemnation of those who disagree and lumping the U.S. in with Middle Eastern countries.  

First, the morality spectrum is broad and those on each side of a discussion have a right to be heard.  You should not be condemned for your beliefs, nor should they.  The extreme fringe--NAMBLA or militant religious extremists--should never be given credence in these discussions; and, IMO, should be ignored.

Second, "Lolita" can be displayed and sold in the U.S.; not the case in the Middle East.  The citizens of the U.S. are free to express their opinion on your work, either pro or con; however, the controlled press (and internet) in most Middle Eastern countries  prohibit comments contrary to the government/religious line.  For example, in the US the public outcry against displaying the figure of Jesus in a glass of urine caused the art house to pull the art work.  But, this was the result of public opinion, not government censorship--democracy in action.  In Iran, that display would never have seen the light of day.  Your lumping the U.S. with these extreme theocratic countries appears to be little more than U.S. bashing.  

BTW, I liked the photo.  The idea of Lolita did not enter into my mind, until I read the caption.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 04:53:01 pm by James R »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2007, 05:07:21 pm »

Quote
... For example, in the US the public outcry against displaying the figure of Jesus in a glass of urine caused the art house to pull the art work.  But, this was the result of public opinion, not government censorship--democracy in action.  In Iran, that display would never have seen the light of day.  ...
On the contrary, I think such a display would be turned into a permanent exhibition in Iran.  

Antarctic Mat

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2007, 05:07:35 pm »

Hello.

It never ceases to amaze me, the level of hypocrisy displayed on internet forums. I don't know if any of you guys bitching and moaning about this image would like to swop lives with me, I have real issues to deal with such as family illness, bills and generally making it through life, obviously you guys have none of those issues and can devote your attention to finding an easy target that you can express your outrage and indignation upon. Mind you, I'm suprised you have the time what with all the good work you are doing feeding and clothing the poor, ending wars and wiping out the famine that is, in a lot of cases, right outside your door. (For you Americans out there, that last bit is good old fashioned English sarcasm)
This is a photograph, a capture of a moment in time. What you make of it is up to you. If you are (rightly in my opinion) outraged by the world we live in, the sick people out there then put some trousers on, slide away from the computer screen and go and do something about it. If you think you are making a difference by anouncing your outrage over this image then you are very much mistaken. It's a big old world out there full of horrible things happening to millions of innocent people every day, how about getting things in perspective and doing something positive about it.

Mat.

PS. I'd laugh if her name was Lolita and she'd agreed to the picture only if she could have a name check.
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paulbk

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2007, 05:14:18 pm »

I thought it was a young boy (short hair) with a bad fitting apron. Even the title didn’t convince me otherwise. Whatever gender, I think it’s a wonderful people photograph both technically and artistically. A perfect capture of a welcoming, albeit tentative, pose and youthful warmth in the eyes.

Michael, you did good.
Again, I wish I had half your eye.
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paul b.k.
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DarkPenguin

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2007, 05:17:36 pm »

Quote
For example, in the US the public outcry against displaying the figure of Jesus in a glass of urine caused the art house to pull the art work.

I was just thinking that I haven't enjoyed the reaction to a piece of art this much since Piss Jesus 15 or so years back.  (Although the Mapplethorpe reaction was also priceless.)
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James R

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2007, 05:18:16 pm »

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On the contrary, I think such a display would be turned into a permanent exhibition in Iran. 
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Slobodan,

Absolutely not.  Jesus is considered a prophet in Islam.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2007, 05:38:51 pm »

Quote
Slobodan,

Absolutely not.  Jesus is considered a prophet in Islam.
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I see... I guess Jesus is quite welcome in that region:

"...Three employees of a publishing house that distributes Bibles were found with their throats slit Wednesday in the latest attack apparently targeting Turkey's Christian minority..." (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/18/europe/EU-GEN-Turkey-Bible-Attack.php)

michael

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The Lolita Affair
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2007, 05:44:35 pm »

I've been off the forum for the past 10 hours or so and have just finished reading this thread thus far.

Frankly, I have nothing to add that I didn't put in my essay. Clearly this is a subject that has touched a nerve in some people. So be it. There are many things that touch me on a daily basis, but i don't feel the need to spout off about them in public (except when I do – if you know what I mean – which is that I limit my ranting to matters photographic, rather than moral, ethical, political, social or religious.

Though people are free to continue this dialog, I don't feel I have much additional to add.

Michael
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