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Under 18 nudity - a point of law

xanda 16 244 2 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2009 10:16PM
OK. I hope I can bring this up here and I'm sure this issue has come up before but I'm going to give it another run through the mangle.

Firstly, I have never taken, and have no intention of taking, nude or semi-nude photos of anyone under 18. Like many photographers I choose to play it safe. With that out of the way I'll come to my point.

I have a difference of opinion with another photographer. He states that it is illegal to take such photos under UK law. I state that it is not illegal providing the photos are not considered 'indecent' ie that nudity alone is not enough to make them illegal. There are, after all, countless published examples and mainstream films that include under 18 nudity.

I consulted what I believed to be the relevant laws:

Protection of Children Act 1978 (plus ammendments) Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Sexual Offences Act 2003 (which modified the 1978 act)

I see the test in law as being the poorly defined term 'indecent'.

So...who's right? I'm prepared to stand corrected if someone can quote me a UK law or ammendment that states that photographs of under 18 nudity are illegal.

The really worrying aspect to this is that public perception and fear are...almost undermining the law. And accusations are made with little or no reference to the law.

I apologise if I don't reply to any posts tonight but I'll do so tomorrow.

Hanners 14 875 10 Ireland
3 Jul 2009 10:22PM
as far as I'm aware (and I could be wrong) if a person is under 18 then written permission is needed by a legal guardian

Sleep well Smile
3 Jul 2009 10:46PM
steve_kershaw 15 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2009 10:54PM
nobody would be concerned about seeing a picture of a new born baby in the nude

much better to play it safe
a friend of mine asked me to take pics of her daughter, who at 14 is in possession of an ample bust, probably at least dd, on processing the images anything that showed off her assets had the x button applied, in this day and age you just cant risk it
stolzy 14 3.8k 7
3 Jul 2009 11:18PM
Plenty of examples where serious photographers have taken, displayed and had published photographs of naked children without being successfully prosecuted - Jock Sturgis and Nan Goldin for example.

It can be illegal to take pictures of minor in a state of undress, but it isn't always the case.
stolzy 14 3.8k 7
3 Jul 2009 11:25PM
I'm not sure the information the link above is entirely correct - it implies that it would be illegal to visit this site
uggyy 14 2.1k 9 Scotland
4 Jul 2009 12:22AM

Many years back I think there was uproar over mags taking photos pre-16 for release on 16th birthday, think this got stopped by the mags themselves. Not sure on it all but I would steer clear.

Quote:Nobody would be concerned about seeing a picture of a new born baby in the nude

Even people nervous about that, If we shoot a kid in the nude, its positioned so nothing shows. All rest gets deleted, call it over reacting but I prefer to play safe, its too crazy a world out there...
xanda 16 244 2 United Kingdom
4 Jul 2009 12:22AM
I'm still awake - just.

Chris: Unless the law has changed (again) the example you mention is legal. It is one of the very few viable defences.

K: I find the IWF increasingly scary. A self-regulatory body partly funded by the EU...hmmm.

From the linked page:
Quote:"...So what constitutes an illegal image?
It means any images of children, apparently under 18 years old, involved in sexual activity or posed to be sexually provocative and include images depicting erotic posing, with no sexual activity

Who said anything about sexual activity? Such images are obviously illegal and quite rightly so. Sexually provocative? Can be open to interpretation (like the word 'indecent').

Dealing with child abuse is a worthy cause - we all accept that - but I do not believe that is what the IWF or the police are doing. Perhaps this has more to do with controlling the Internet than anything truly altruistic. By the way, anyone else think the word 'apparently' is just a tad disturbing in this context?

Steve: As I said, like many photographers, I play it safe.

John: Indeed. And in the case of Nan Goldin's photo 'Klara and Edda bellydancing', I believe the CPS decided it did not break the law so there was no case to answer. There was a thread in the EPZ forums about that one. Some time ago a senior police officer was forced to apologise after wrongly stating that photos by David Hamilton were illegal. I think it was the CPS again who said that in the case of Hamilton, no decision had been made. If I can use Hamilton, Sturges and Goldin as examples, whether we 'like' them or not, their photos are clearly not images of child abuse.

So...where is the law that states that nude or semi-nude photos of people under 18 are illegal? As far as I can tell the issues that define illegality are now 'indecency', 'sexual activity, and 'sexually provocative'.
looboss 13 3.1k 7 United Kingdom
4 Jul 2009 12:28AM
I remember the case of Tower productions from the west country were selling cd and videos with many minors included in the photos and videos totally nude, The pictures were mainly taken by the Canadian photographer Richard West, anyway Tower Productions got raided by the police and all assets ceased as they do .. and examined, they the police then proceeded to prosecute and the case went to the high court.
Not one single image or video after being reviewed was found to be indecent so the case was won in favour of Tower Productions, as simple nude images of children with or without permission were totally legal!

What there is though other than the legality is FEAR! and ignorance.
xanda 16 244 2 United Kingdom
4 Jul 2009 12:35AM
Thank you, Luis. Fear and ignorance is the problem in a nutshell.
uggyy 14 2.1k 9 Scotland
4 Jul 2009 12:36AM

Quote:What there is though other than the legality is FEAR! and ignorance.

Soo true but at the same time, if that happend to me, it would be the end.. I couldnt afford the publicity or the leagle costs and so on.

Sad thing is being right dont mean your going to win in todays society.. :-(
thewilliam 12 6.1k
4 Jul 2009 9:27PM
If you're a family portrait photographer and respected in your community, you could destroy your business in a instant by taking just one nude or nearly-nude pic of a minor. In my studio, we'll take pix of babies under 9 months and adult males who are stripped to the waist, but nothing more risky.

This is the new witchcraft! Is it worth the risk?
tepot 16 4.4k United Kingdom
4 Jul 2009 10:41PM
Since hetrosexual sex is legal at 16yrs, so should nude photography be.....that goes for porn too IMO.
kaybee 16 7.4k 26 Scotland
4 Jul 2009 11:39PM
North of the border 16 is deemed the age of adulthood where they are responsable for their own actions and can make their own decisions ........... kind of muddies the water
xanda 16 244 2 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2009 2:43PM

Quote:This is the new witchcraft! Is it worth the risk?

Agreed and the answer to your question is no. So much for an enlightened age.

It's depressing and this state of affairs is doing nothing to help abused children - rather it's driving a wedge even further between adults and children. Why bother having laws in the first place if so many of us are going to be governed by fear?

Roy: Would I be right in thinking that although there is that complication up in your part of the world, the test in law is still indecency? My original post was to seek a clarification of that point.

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