Naked bums: birthday suit babes

I’m in a photo forum online. It’s closed to general public. It’s a non-competive, safe place for sharing pictures, getting feedback,  and gathering ideas.

Yesterday,  a few photogs complained about “reported” photos of babies with exposed behinds: you know, diaper off, butt to camera.  And when other photographers agreed that some shots just aren’t for the general public, a tirade of “why not?” and “you’re sick to think that [these photos are inappropriate]” ensued. I suppose it was the art is subjective vs. objectifying photo subjects debate rehashed.  Except we’re talking babies who don’t dress themselves.

One person posted a shot to further the debate of three boys appearing to be urinating outside.  Two have their pants and underwear dropped and are exposing buttocks.  The kids, she said, were under seven. Older than babies, but kids who still need assistance selecting and putting on clothes.  Two comments confirming what I suspect she already knew (this was not art, was not a portrait,  was not at all appropriate to preserve on “film” and share), and she “respectfully” removed herself from the forum. Her share was not pornographic, certainly,  but the picture is hardly suitable for mass dissemination online.  She, apparently,  didn’t see anything wrong with the photo – might even have been proud of it. 
I admire the creativity of many photographers. I see beautifully posed images of newborns draped only in sheer wraps or laying on fluffed blankets. And I’ve seen many an exposed bum. But I am not a fan of these increasingly prevalent type of ‘portraits’ featuring standing naked tots with their entire backsides presented to camera.  Hypocrisy,  maybe, because I appreciate the images I’ve seen of the seated bare child, provided the little has his back to camera and no gender revealing parts are visible.  Wait… that sounds odd. Except, many children like to be unhindered by constricting clothes. Capturing that in a photo, unposed and non-objectified can be beautiful. Not all nudity is pornographic. Not all photos need to be displayed.

As parents,  hubs and I object to presenting our littles to the world without appropriate modesty. Even Cupid and the Renaissance painted angels have some modesty and cover their personals. I’m reminded constantly when shooting to keep our girls’ bodies -especially chests – covered. I’m cautious about snapshots when any of the kids are in night clothes or underwear – even when taking lifestyle photos for the scrapbook. As adults, we have to protect our childrens’ innocence.

I don’t think this debate on the forum will resolve. Tempers have flared. It’s personal. It’s ugly. Even a photo with a bum covered in a ‘censored’ sticker offended some anonymous viewer. The lesson seems to be that a standing babe in his birthday suit might be fine for the family album, but it shouldn’t be an internet post. 

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