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bare bottom baby shots O.K.?

Carol L. Marcely , Jul 29, 1998; 09:42 p.m.

This may sound funny, but I have been asked to photograph a 6-month old baby bare bottomed by a nervous parent. She is as concerned, as am I that it could be regarded pornography. She has had all of her other children professionally photographed (on a plush rug-bare bottom up), and just wants to have all 4 of them recorded this way. This is completely innocent, but there was an instance in this area (Boston) a few years ago where they came and took the mother away in handcuffs for photographing her own child in the "buff". I don't know all the details, but the charges were dropped, as this was an innocent act on the mothers part. Is this something I should be concerned about? I know this woman, and want to take the job, but I am a little nervous myself-don't want to end up in the news. Too bad all the wrong people are scared, huh? Anyone had any experience with this? Thanks for the input. Wonderful forum.



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Bob Atkins , Jul 29, 1998; 09:55 p.m.

Given the history of problems with images of this kind, you'd be better off dealing with a lab you know, and discussing the images with them beforehand so nobody ends up with a nasty surprise!

Paul Wilson , Jul 29, 1998; 10:10 p.m.

I've seen various ads on TV and in magazines that show baby butts, so you should be ok. Of course with the way this society is going, who knows.

Scott Gant , Jul 29, 1998; 11:05 p.m.

Are you kidding?!?! In this knee-jerk, fly-off-the-handle hysterical society that we live in now, I wouldn't even photograph CLOTHED children, much less one where it shows they're bare bottom.

Of course, that's just me.

Barry Pehlman , Jul 29, 1998; 11:36 p.m.

I shot a stock B&W photo which was more illustrative than portrait. The mom, who I had known all my life, just let her kid run around the house without clothes on (sometimes). I just captured a great moment of her looking out the window on her tip-toes. It would have nicely fit in "The Family of Man" books, but instead I used it to advertise a printing service I was promoting at the time. I got lots of positive calls complimenting me on the picture. I didn't even think about the other way of looking at it, and really why should anybody? I feel that when you have to clear a baby butt picture with a lab, we are in deep trouble. Refer to the recently published (on book stands now) "Naked Babies" and another similar book on the same subject.

Dan Woodlief , Jul 30, 1998; 08:48 a.m.

You never know with the way things are these days, but I think some of it may depend on the way the child is portrayed. I think one of the people who was reported by the developer took a photo of a nude girl (his daughter) lying on a glass top table (for a photography class assignment). He was taking it through the glass. I guess maybe you should just restrain some of the creative urges in these kinds of pictures. Certainly the photo you are talking about should look innocent enough. My wife and I will be parents soon, and I am sure at some point I may have the same concerns. See you in jail?

Glen Morehead , Jul 30, 1998; 10:34 a.m.

We were give a baby gift of one sitting per month with a studio, and one of the pictures the photographer did was just the type of shot you're describing. I asked the gal if she ever worried about the overreactive idiots, and she said that butt shots are considered OK in babies, but as the kids get older they're frowned on. She said she never does the bearskin rug shots on any baby over about six months old, and she doesn't even give it a second thought. Hope this helps!

Glen Morehead

Mark Ci , Jul 30, 1998; 04:50 p.m.

I've heard of a lot of stupid cases, but never one of a prosecution of simple <I>nudity</I> involving an <I>infant</I>. I'd be very surprised if anyone else could come up with such a case, either.

Bob Atkins , Jul 30, 1998; 05:08 p.m.

I don't think it's prosecution that's the issue. All it needs is some over zealous photo technician to report something to the authorities as "suspicious" and the ball starts to roll. You aren't relying on the good judgement of the authorities, but on the judgement of the photo tech as to what is and isn't OK.

Carol L. Marcely , Jul 30, 1998; 07:37 p.m.

Thanks for all the input. Just getting the publicity is as bad a getting procecuted these days...I will probably go ahaid and do it anyway. We shouldn't have to live this way, but that's reality. Just for the book, I also had a married couple who wanted me to photograph them nude with their dog...another story for another day.

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