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Dilemma - Family Nude Photo

Mark Anderson , Oct 20, 2003; 06:18 p.m.

A client who wants pregnancy photos done nude of his wife has also asked if at the 9th month shoot his 5 year old son can pose with the entire family nude (nothing showing on the child - very tasteful). I'm trying to convince the parents (nudists) that sheer clothing and backlight would be better. I'm concerned that even with the best intentions there are issues in taking the family photo nude. I could take the image digitally and print it myself but ethically that still isn't the answer. Does anyone perhaps know of any reading I can do to help perpare myself to discuss this with the parents? I live in Georgia and would like to work with the parents to fulfill their wishes but at the same time I want to make sure that I have the right and legal authorization to do so. The image in my minds eye will be very soft, loving, and tasteful, but the fact that there is a nude child is what's the complex factor in all of it. The parents seem to be very level headed and want to document the pregnancy as well as share it as a family event. They have friends in Florida who have a very similar situation and they have their child in some photos that were done by a photographer there. I really feel uncomfortable because of the gray nature of the laws. The human form is beautiful and I don't have an issue with that, just the public's view of nudity. HELP!!!


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Bob Atkins , Oct 20, 2003; 07:09 p.m.

The law is pretty clear (see http://www.efc.ca/pages/law/cc/cc.163.1.html) and what you intend to shoot would not be illegal.

Of course the big...BUT... is that some people regard any depiction of nudity as pornography and if you happen to have a local DA with such views, well, you're screwed. This is the chilling effect. You're reluctant to do something that isn't illegal because you - or the parents - might get wrongly charged with something. Even if you win the case, you lose.

It is a dilemma, and only you can decide if you think the potential downside is worth risking in order to do something that is perfectly legal and fully within your rights (and the parents rights) to do.

"sheer clothing and backlight" doesn't sound like a good idea to me. A straight documentary shot seems to be what the clients want and would be less open to (mis)interpretation.

I presume living in Georgia doesn't make this decision any easier...

Andrew Somerset , Oct 20, 2003; 07:43 p.m.

Nice try, Bob, but that's the Criminal Code of Canada yer linking to.

It doesn't apply in Georgia.

[Thanks Andrew! Here's a US citation - http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/pIch110.html]

Bob Lazzarini , Oct 20, 2003; 07:52 p.m.

First, get a written release stating at very least that what you are doing is at the client's request and approval.

Second, if you have real doubts, as you seem to have, check with a very competent laywer.

Third...Sally Mann who lives in Lexington, Virginia does some very beautiful photography of children san clothing, and I don't recall her getting into any problematic situations.

Do a Google search to check out her work.

Good Luck & Cheers!

Wayne Harridge , Oct 20, 2003; 08:25 p.m.

I'm from the other side of the world, so what does this imply ?

"I presume living in Georgia doesn't make this decision any easier..."

Chuck Dowling , Oct 20, 2003; 08:48 p.m.

There is nothing illegal about this at all. You have the parents permission, and it's only nudity, not porn. What DA in his/her right mind would take issue with this? Further, the photo is for the family, not publication. To avoid some prude at Walmart or wherever calling the law, I would indeed shoot digital and print yourself.

William Chapman , Oct 20, 2003; 09:08 p.m.

This type of photography is not against the law. If you have questions about this you should contact the AANR (American Association of Nude Recreation.) They handle matters like this all the time. Just because children are involved, doesn't make it porn or lewd.

Christopher Hawkins , Oct 20, 2003; 09:14 p.m.

I suggest talking it over with a local pro lab that you trust. Tell them exactly what you are considering and ask them if they will have an issue with it. Make sure that the person you talk to speaks for everyone who will come in contact with your work. Sounds like a interesting project. You need to do your absolutely best work on a project like this. (You should charge them according.)

Nick Wilson , Oct 20, 2003; 09:18 p.m.

Can there really be an issue? It would be ridiculous. I, and I am sure most others, have taken pictures of babies and children nude. But perhaps you live in one of those right wing Christian fundamentalist places...I can hear them now "if we were meant to be seen nude, we would have been born that way".

Doing it digitally is ethical, as even if there is a law, then it is a wrong one.

Ken Dunn , Oct 20, 2003; 09:34 p.m.

Wayne, Georiga is in the South where many folks live in very rural areas and have very old fashion views. Not as open minded as say New York or Paris. I say this with love as I am in Kentucky, very much the same. Mark, maybe the best thing you can do is ask the DA if you are in a smaller town. Ask permission instead of begging forgiveness?

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