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Friday, May 20, 2016

Is this Beautiful or Offensive ?

Thomas in the shower with his son Fox

This photograph of a father holding his son in the shower has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook in the last two weeks. But over the same period it's also also been taken down by the social media platform more than once before ultimately being reinstated each time. Why?
In some ways the picture appears to show a fairly everyday scene. A dad cradling his severely sick child in his arms. Except in this instance, they are in the shower and both naked. The picture was posted on social media by the photographer Heather Whitten who lives in Arizona in the US. It shows her son Fox and her husband, the boy's father Thomas Whitten.
For many viewers the image is a touching portrait of parental care and affection. The reason that father and son were naked was because Fox had Salmonella poisoning for which he would soon after be hospitalized.
"Thomas had spent hours in the shower with him, trying to keep his fever down and letting the vomit and diarrhea rinse off of them both as it came," Whitten wrote in her post accompanying the photo.
"He was so patient and so loving and so strong with our tiny son in his lap... I stepped out and grabbed my camera and came back to snap a few images of it and, of course shared them."
But for some people the image is inappropriate at best and at worst has undertones of paedophilia. Whitten has been surprised by this reaction and was shocked when people posted negative comments about what was for her a beautiful moment.
"There is nothing sexual or exploitative about this image," she wrote in the initial post. "I was taken aback by how many people missed the story or didn't even look past the nudity to find the story."
Controversy about whether images of naked children are acceptable is not new.
In 2001, artist Tierney Gearon's exhibition featuring photos of her naked children at the Saatchi Gallery sparked a protest. She later admitted being "completely taken aback" by the reaction to the photos which she described as "kids in masks doing a silly pose".
In photos where a child appears naked with an adult there are additional complications and there may be evidence of something of a double standard. A nude man may appear more sinister to some than a woman without clothes.
For example:
Last month, an Australian woman Kelli Bannister posted a photograph - in a similar pose to Whitten's photo - cradling her daughter Summer. It was taken by her five-year-old son on a mobile phone. The reaction to that image was overwhelmingly positive.

Kelli Bannister holding her daughter in the shower

Whitten said she has been "blown away" by the response to her image, which was actually taken in November 2014. "I wasn't prepared at all," she says. "I was very intimidated by it."
"A disgusting lack of boundaries," posted one person who protested the photo's content.
Whitten says, "people shouldn't be able to dictate what is right or wrong for other people".
She says some people also contacted her saying it triggered memories of their past abuse, something she had not even considered when posting the picture.
But the majority of the comments have been positive. "All I see is a loving caring dad comforting his sick child," reads one. "This is a beautiful image," says another.
Despite this, Whitten says the picture has been removed a number of times since being posted on Facebook at the start of May.
A spokeswoman for Facebook confirmed that the picture had been taken down but has been reinstated.
Whitten used the hashtag #standupstripdown which empowers photographers to take a stand against social network sites banning photos and the damage that can be done by that, especially for professionals.
Whitten is adamant that the image captures something honest and human. "For me it's just such a positive image and my hope is that it's a normalizing image, normalizing family nudity," she says.
Some, judgemental, sententious, censorious people have nothing better to do, I guess, than sully natural beauty with the dirt in their own minds.


  1. Howdy PIC ,
    What a great story ... the father and son is so touching , It shows his love and concern for his son . A small child can't tell you where they hurt you have to use your judgement on how to help them , it was a good idea to sit in the shower to wash the vomit and diarrhea off them ... it was better than let him lay in if or messing up a lot of clothes /towels and bedding and the best part was the baby was kept clean , some people has dirty minds .
    I know they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words , but you still need to read what it says .
    Nuff sez , just me and the way I roll .
    Good post
    Love PIC

  2. I really like the way you put that PIC. I am going to use your quote sometime.
    (I know they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words , but you still need to read what it says )
    And you are right, the problem is not the picture but the dirty minds looking at it.
    Love PIC

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