When ‘Pigtails in Paint’ Is Under Attack, the Entire History of Art Is Under Attack

Once again a small faction of loudmouths who are entirely ignorant of art’s long tradition of child nudity are on the hunt, trying to take down this site. When I founded this blog years ago the nude stuff was only one small part of what Pigtails was about. I confess that the attacks and critiques over the years concerning the nudes have ironically only made me post more of it (and focus on it in my own illustration) just to get the goats of those good ol’ boy ignoramuses and fascistically-inclined keyboard warriors who have no understanding of the value of this work or its longstanding and hard-won legal protections. Admittedly that’s not a very good reason to do it, but nor does it invalidate the point of this work. These people apparently cannot look at a nude image of a child without seeing sexual intent behind it. Yes, it is they who are the perverts, these self-glorified hall monitors who seek to remove all challenges to their own sexual discomfort at the mere sight of a nude child, to eliminate all nude child art on the web so it doesn’t serve as a constant reminder that they are so sexually insecure that they cannot look upon a nude child without feeling a tinge of shameful lust.

Thus, they project their feelings onto us and call us the sick ones. Never mind that seeing this stuff constantly has a tendency to remove its mystique and thus diffuse the verboten appeal that is artificially invested in it. Never mind the fact that damn near every major artist from antiquity to the mid-twentieth century created at least one piece devoted to the nude child’s form. Van Gogh, Dalí, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Rembrandt, Picasso, da Vinci, Whistler—in other words, the handful of artists that even most non-art aficionados can name—have all tackled the subject.

Vincent van Gogh – Seated Girl (ca. 1886)

Vincent van Gogh – Seated Girl Seen from the Front (ca. 1886)

Vincent van Gogh – Nude Study of Little Seated Girl

Salvador Dalí – Dalí at the Age of Six When He Thought He Was a Girl Lifting the Skin of the Water to See the Dog Sleeping in the Shade of the Sea (1950)

Michelangelo Buonarotti – Tondo Taddei (1503-04)

Michelangelo was even one of the first artists to depict female putti as well as male:

Michelangelo Buonarroti – Putti

Donatello’s David is one of the youngest versions of the biblical hero ever depicted—the boy appears to be somewhere between thirteen to fifteen years of age.

Donatello – David (ca. 1440-1460)(1)

Donatello – David (ca. 1440-1460)(2)

Putti were common in all of the Renaissance artists’ work, including Raphael’s. The Christ child was also commonly depicted in the nude.

Raphael – Madonna di Foligno (1511)

Raphael – La belle jardinière (1507)

Rembrandt – Child in a Tantrum (1635)

Ganymede has popped up frequently on our blog lately. Remember that Zeus abducted Ganymede because of his beauty and made the boy one of his lovers as well as official cup bearer of Olympus. Keep that in mind when viewing this next piece.

Rembrandt – The Abduction of Ganymede (1635)

Pablo Picasso – The Two Brothers

Pablo Picasso – Young Girl with a Goat (1906)

Pablo Picasso – Massacre in Korea (1951)

Leonardo da Vinci – Study of a Child (1508)

Leonardo da Vinci – The Holy Infants Embracing (1486)

James McNeill Whistler – Nude Girl

Nor was their any particular political slant that favored this sort of work. Everyone from far left Soviet artists like Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin and Alexander Deineka to far right artists like Francoist painter and illustrator Carlos Sáenz de Tejada and German artists Anselm Feuerbach, Gisbert Palmié, Hans Thoma, Adolf Ziegler and Karl Albiker (all of them official artists of the Third Reich), and everyone in between, created work featuring nude children.

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin – Morning, Bathers (1917)

Alexander Deineka – Children of Leisure (1933)

Carlos Sáenz de Tejada – Girl from Back, Lusita (1917)

Carlos Sáenz de Tejada – Nude Girl

Anselm Feuerbach – Badende Kinder (1864)

Anselm Feuerbach – Children on the Beach

Gisbert Palmié – Rewards of Work (1933)

Hans Thoma – Flora

Hans Thoma – April

Adolf Ziegler – Goddess of Art

Karl Albiker – Tanzerin (Giulietta)(1)

Karl Albiker – Tanzerin (Giulietta)(2)

Of course, some of the most popular artists of all time also created child nudes. French Academic painter Adolphe-William Bouguereau, one of the few Victorian artists to get rich from his work within his lifetime, practically specialized in them.

Adolphe-William Bouguereau – Love Disarmed (1885)

Adolphe-William Bouguereau – Amour a l’affut (Love on the Look Out) (1890)

Adolphe-William Bouguereau – L’Amour Vainqueur (1886)

One of the most reproduced images of the modern age is this portrait of Cupid and Psyche as children. I’ve seen it featured on everything from dishes and t-shirts to puzzles and handbags.

Adolphe-William Bouguereau – L’Amour et Psyche, enfants (The First Kiss) (1890)

In fact, the image which holds the record for being the most reproduced image in history, and the focus of the very first post I ever made at Pigtails in Paint, is this painting by Maxfield Parrish in which one of the models was his then 10-year-old daughter, Jean.  Incidentally, the other model in this image (or at least her face) was the granddaughter of famous Nebraskan Democrat William Jennings Bryan. During Bryan’s time the Democrats were the states’ rights party—basically what the Republicans are now—and the Republicans were the federalist party. Their positions would eventually become reversed in the Civil Rights era.

Maxfield Parrish – Daybreak (1922)

Maxfield Parrish – Daybreak (1922) (detail)

This blog is, if nothing else, a testament to precisely how deep and wide this tradition has been. And that presents a problem to certain parties who would like to keep the masses ignorant of this fact. Hence, the very reason why Pigtails’ existence is so vital. Now, we could stick to the more politically safe works here, but we occasionally flirt with those pieces that are a little dangerous. It’s important to recognize that even dangerous art has validity and value. As Ron pointed out, we were never so naive as to believe that this work would not be challenged. But it is sniveling and cowardly for Shadow Nazis to try to stamp us out by anonymously bullying our providers. We’ve been on the web for years, no doubt closely observed by the authorities. Everything we post is legally vetted and protected art. We have never operated in the shadows and many of the artists we’ve featured are friends of the site—that should demonstrate that we have no ill intentions and nothing to hide. There is not, and never has been, anything untoward going on either in front of or behind the scenes, and I would proudly defend each and every artist and ever piece of art that we’ve shared on this site in a court of law.

The people who are attacking us know this very well. They know that attempting to go through the legal channels would get them nowhere because there is nothing illegal in what we are doing, and the First Amendment, as has been demonstrated in case after case, is on our side. Our attackers thus have no recourse but to make false insinuations about our intent (which, of course, is libel—if they weren’t hiding like the cowards they are they would be open to lawsuits for defamation of character) and to lie to and bully our providers, to scare them into believing things that are not true. The law is on our side and they know it. Our blog would never had lasted as long as it has if that weren’t the case. But these insecure, ignorant fools, most of whom no doubt wouldn’t know their Picasso from a hole in the ground, have taken it upon themselves to equate our well-researched and well-respected site with purveyors of child porn. It’s tragic enough that they can’t recognize legitimate art when they see it, but to label it child porn reveals the utmost disrespect and contempt for the long line of great artists from antiquity to present who have created this fantastic art, as well as everyone who has ever enjoyed it, who have now been reduced to little more than leering and drooling Humbert Humberts for ever getting any pleasure or amusement, no matter how innocent, from the sight of a nude child.

Time and again it has been proven that these sorts of people, the majority of whom are borderline illiterate if we’re being honest, have little understanding of the psychological appeal of the naked youth beyond their own vulgar and limited imaginations. Because of their junior high-level of sexual maturity, they cannot fathom that nudity does not always equate to sex, particularly with respect to children. But even when there is some level of the erotic explored in the underage form, it does not inherently mean that the child is being exploited or that the artist or observers exploring these concepts have perverse intentions, no more than Vladimir Nabokov was laying out his own sexual fantasies when he wrote his masterpiece Lolita. It is simply immature and stupid to think this way.

Grow up, people, and recognize that your simplistic understanding of these issues does not make you right. I realize that your impotency in the face of real-world problems can be temporarily ignored when you manage to take down a website you just don’t like, but your moral outrage is completely misdirected here. In a court of law you would lose, and that is no miscarriage or aberration. It has been tested many, many times. The law is not wrong; you are. Get over it and find something better to do with your time.

Maiden Voyages: May 2017 (Pigtails in Exile)

My apologies for getting this update out late, but some new information came my way and I had to compose my thoughts.

Ruffled Feathers: Pip is not naive and neither am I. When he started Pigtails in Paint and when I joined him, we knew we would have to use extreme discipline to make sure we did not create any legal problems for ourselves. We know how touchy people can be and how unaccustomed the layman, particularly in the US, is in viewing the human body. We are also aware of the witch hunt mentality that is taking place with regard to the ostensible exploitation of children. We hoped to persuade the general public and art lovers specifically about the legitimacy of the child nude. We felt we could do this without ruffling any feathers; we would remove any images if an artist complained or if we were persuaded that a particular image violated US law (or in the country of our service provider). Since then, the popularity of the site has grown enormously and it is no longer possible to fly under the radar. We had to deal with both primitive and sophisticated cyber attacks and survived. We took it on the chin when critics would insist that we are really a pornography site pretending to be something else. Well, they are entitled to their opinion and flaunt their ignorance, ignorance we hope to someday dispel. The problem comes when our adversaries do not play fair. Instead of engaging in informed debate, they resort to ruthless and underhanded tactics to shut us down. These people fall into two groups: the zealots and the puppet masters. The zealots are the true believers and think our site is an abomination on the internet and are the front line soldiers getting people worked up to take action. Behind the scenes are certain moneyed interests who feel Pigtails has a chance of upsetting the status quo. They fund those zealots who would otherwise not have the kind of time to make this much trouble.

If I learn of a website that is stupid or silly or ethically questionable, I will simply not pay it a visit. If I believe there is something illegal about it, I would be duty-bound to report it. Then it is up to the authorities to handle it. I do not organize a grass-roots campaign to have it shut down. I know I am not a legal expert of everything and so it is not my place to engage in a cyber war with the operators of these sites. Our adversaries do not respect these protocols. Fueled by the power of their faith (or a cynical easy buck), they take it upon themselves to take the law into their own hands. In one respect, I have been naive. I thought if we operated within the law, we would have no problems with service providers (WordPress, JaguarPC) or domain registrars (Register.com). Due to the widespread ignorance of the law and the role of nudity in general, our adversaries have succeeded in their tactics. First, they bombard the service provider with complaints that Pigtails contains sexually explicit material. Supporters of this site know that is categorically false: 1) no persons are shown in sexually-suggestive poses, 2) no emphasis is placed on the genitalia whenever visible and 3) there are no suspicious displays of adult-child interaction. However, service providers and registrars are companies and are not used to images of the human body and so are unable to make the distinction. These requests for termination of service are almost always accompanied by threats of hacking and other cyber attacks. Since the companies are primarily money making operations and the claims at first blush appear to be true, it is easier for them to make a summary decision rather than investigate the case properly and treat us fairly. They claim Pigtails is in violation of their Terms of Service (TOS), getting them off the hook for contractual violations and then cut us off. In each case, we were notified only after the fact and not given the chance to make our case. The companies were simply uncomfortable hosting our site. Register.com’s actions are particularly egregious; not only did they not make any offer of a refund, but they are punishing our service provider by requiring that he transfer 10 of his other domain registrations to another company, incurring additional costs. From the look of it, these other sites are mundane businesses with no association with Pigtails, no images of children or controversial subject matter of any kind. This move seems like a special effort to keep service providers in line with the status quo.

As it stands, it does appear that we will be able to retain our .org domain, but it will have to be registered through a company that knows how to handle these aggressive tactics. Pip and I are US citizens and it is ludicrous that we would be blocked from having an American domain designation. Our new registrar will undoubtedly have to field complaints and if they do not cave in to the demands of cyber bullies and terrorists, their next step would be to make their appeal to ICANN (although they would have to refrain from their more heavy-handed tactics to make a good impression), the organization responsible for issues regarding domains worldwide. Let us hope that they are sophisticated enough to make sound judgments, but I am not holding out much hope.

Protests and other complaints about Register.com’s actions should be directed to:

Tom Lam
Manager: Abuse, Fraud and Executive Escalations
Register.com, a Web.com service
Maritime Center, 2nd Floor, 1505 Barrington St.
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5 Canada
Office/FAX: (902) 749-2746
Toll Free: 866-964-4270

I suppose these folks have not thought this problem all the way through. After all, if they believe our adversaries are capable of following through on their threats, what makes them think that technically savvy Pigtails supporters won’t do the same thing?

At least some of our adversaries are up front about intending to shut us down for good. Therefore, we need to be proactive about fighting this hate-mongering and obstruction to progress. Anyone willing to offer legal services, investigation services or have contacts with law enforcement officers willing to assist with this problem is urged to come forward. We must find out who these people are, how they are funded and take the appropriate legal action. Pigtails in Paint does not deserve to be singled out in this manner. Why are our adversaries so terrified of informed debate and its implications for the reform of our society?

Readers are reminded to consult our Facebook page when encountering interruptions of service rather than trying to email me directly. If there is a problem, an explanation will be posted there right away.

Because of the gravity of this situation, all other monthly notices of interest will be postponed until the June ‘Maiden Voyages’. -Ron

Maiden Voyages: April 2017

Art Style Advisor Wanted: Thanks go to Christian for rigorously reviewing old posts and updating them and, more importantly, streamlining the classification system to remove confusion and redundancies.  However, he is not an expert on artistic styles and movements and we are still in need of someone who can help us with these categories now that Pip only has time to work on this site sporadically.  Someone please come forward, even if you are only knowledgeable on a small range of art styles or media.

Pigtails Welcomes New Writer: I am delighted that yet another fan of this site has agreed to do some writing.  His first proposal is to do a series of commentaries on single ‘Compelling Images’ such as that of William Klein.  Many of the artists he proposes to cover have only done incidental work with little girls and so it is a great way to bring attention to these photographers.  The use of the handle “D.F. Ottewill” is an homage to the camera Charles Lutwidge Dodgson used to take the famous Beggar Maid photograph—the Double-Folding Ottewill.

Where One Can’t Prosecute, One Can Always Censor: One of our readers, who offers interesting leads from time to time is a child model agent.  She has offered a number of insights into the world of modeling and the conditions under which these children must work.  In the past month, two of her sites were shut down without warning with explanations that she violated the Terms of Service (TOS).  This tiresome tactic is used all too often to eliminate any material a company does not want to be associated with no recourse for the customer.  I have seen the site and can tell you that the top page has a few images of girls in various costumes (no nudity) and one can click to see the second page which contains some partial nudes.  I can assure readers that those photos were innocent out-of-the-bath/shower shots and contained no frontal nudity or suggestive poses —a towel, bath toy or other object was always strategically placed.  The agent has requested that Pigtails not link to her site in fear that more aggressive zealots would make even more trouble for her and her business.

Paranoia in the Streets of Paris: After producing the Perrusset post, the photographer told me a couple of interesting anecdotes about the challenges of his work.  I decided to add these to the end of that post so readers can take another look.

Dance Prodigy’s New Book: Maddie Ziegler, 14, whose interesting work has been posted on this site has now released a new book, The Maddie Diaries.

New Joshua Hoffine Film: In WCL’s post on this photographer, a new film had just been released and, at the time, no copies were available for review.  It is a pleasure to inform readers that the video can now be viewed on Vimeo.  If you are a fan of this photographer and filmmaker, take a look at Black Lullaby right away in case it should be removed.

Famous Postcard Girl: I have heard a lot in the past couple of years about the discovery of the identity of the little girl pictured in a number of iconic Edwardian postcards.  It seemed a suitable subject for a Pigtails post but since so much has already been published on the subject, it would be foolish to spend time duplicating someone else’s efforts.  If you collect vintage postcards of little girls, chances are you own some Grete Reinwalds.

Where’s the Line? One of the anecdotes offered by the agent mentioned above is the issue of what is acceptable nudity in child models and under what circumstances.  Whenever someone tries to spell out some standards, they seem arbitrary and absurd.  For example, another agent has taken nude shots of children (including her own), but does not publish them on her website.  However, her nudes of babies and toddlers appear openly without comment.  The Mexx Kids ad caused quite a stir but something like these Cinta Child ads (here and here) do not.  What’s the distinction?  Age?  Skin Color?

Removal Requests: From time to time, artists or their agents request that their work be removed from this site.  In the past, we have complied because we did not want to make trouble and wished to fly “under the radar”.  Since that is no longer possible, removals will only take place under compelling circumstances.  Otherwise, like it or not, artwork and other media images will be legally drafted in service to the noble political purpose of this site.  Given the usual ignorance and narrow-mindedness of these requests, it is not possible to spell out what is considered a “compelling reason” as artists will simply use one of these excuses to cover up their real objections.

Anime and Manga on Pigtails: A reader sent me samples of numerous manga artists requesting that we cover this medium/genre more.  The contribution is appreciated but the real problem is that none of us is knowledgeable enough to say something constructive about these works.  I would once again like to offer an invitation to manga/anime fans who can write to please contribute to this site.

The Quagmire of Internet Research: This is a bit off-topic, but one of the points of Pigtails in Paint is to make certain material accessible and not have to compete with more “popular” politically-correct material that may have less relevance.  It is annoying how many searches yield nonsensical results and one must sift through these redundancies just to find the object of one’s clearly-defined search.  Here is an interesting article that discusses some of the interesting aspects of this issue.

Hell No! We Won’t Go!

This title is really too militant for me, but it somehow seemed appropriate in this instance. There has been yet another attempt to shut us down. While those opposed to this site make moral arguments, the companies—such as JaguarPC—always have a loophole in their Terms of Service (TOS) to allow them to refuse service to anyone on spurious grounds. All protestations of free speech and expression aside, these companies simply want a source of easy money and will act in self-preservation when 1) the work needed to keep a particular client outweighs the benefits and 2) the client expresses views which would reflect poorly on the company in light of mainstream public sentiment. Under different conditions, I would be content to let our detractors have their way but I have learned two important things in my time running this site: 1) Pigtails hold up a mirror to society revealing the flaws it does not want to face and 2) little girls are a kind of spiritual symbol that tells us what is wrong and a clue on how to remedy it. In other words, Pigtails in Paint is of political import and for our own sake, should not be summarily cast aside.

Our New Service Provider: One of the heartwarming things about Pigtails is how it motivates people to help out when it is needed. Our new service provider is in the U.K. and certainly many have commented that a site such as ours needed to be hosted in Europe. Our new host assures us he can handle the usual abuse from fanatical and ill-informed social conservatives and if a legitimate law enforcement authority or an order from the courts is received, we will remove the offending material. In addition, we will continue to comply with U.S. law.

New Facebook Page: I have been thinking about this for a while now. I felt there needed to be a separate site that was part the of Pigtails community for two reasons: 1) In cases like this when the main site is shut down, it can provide and alternate channel of communication to inform readers what is happening and 2) it would be a more practical place to have discussions and debates that do not properly belong to a specific Pigtails post. Other than the site avatar and banner, no images will be posted there. It will also be used to flesh out any details regarding the design of the main site and minor revisions that are being made that are not apparent to those regularly visiting the site. You can visit the Facebook page here.

About the Mirror Site: Our host has also set up this mirror site at pigtailsinpaint.org which is a duplication of the main site. The advantage is that in places, like Russia, where this site is blocked, there is a backup place to go. It will have a separate IP address as well in case the main IP should be blocked as well.

The Protests: The outpouring of concern and support is quite moving. I have been informed of a few places where there have been written protests of the denial of service by JaguarPC. Most notable is this one which has received numerous comments and copied on a few other blogs.

Our Detractors: After being shut down, one of my associates was looking for what people were saying about us. Our most virulent detractors have some strong words about what they think Pigtails is about (note especially posts dated November 9 and 10). This blogger acts as though he were on the inside track. If it weren’t for the fact that many readers lap up these salacious rumors, it would be quite amusing. It seems the blogger is privy to information that even those who run this site are not aware of!

Reinstating Stolen Dreams: In order to cooperate with our former service provider, I agreed to remove the images on the post ‘Stolen Dreams and the Japanese School’. The original request to have these removed did not come from a proper government authority, but a watchdog agency claiming to work closely with the police. Our new host assures me that it is understood that Pigtails does not contain or will ever contain images that satisfy the definition of pornography. Any requests for the removal of materials—under US or UK law—will only take place if given by a proper authority, Our new service provider understands the important contribution this site makes to society and should continue to evolve.

About the Domain Name: There is a temporary problem with the domain name and so, for the time being, Pigtails in Paint will be accessed at pigtailsinpaint.org. Unfortunately, that means that the hard-coded links to other posts on the site will not work properly until this matter is resolved.

Maiden Voyages: June 2016

There has been a lot of drama this past month.

A Disturbing Precedent: On May 11th, an organization called FSM-Hotline, sent a request to Pigtails in Paint’s service provider to have two pages removed from the site: ‘Stolen Dreams and the Japanese School’ and the ‘Dream Girls’ companion page. Since service providers tend to err on the side of caution and give themselves liberal discretion in interpreting the Terms of Service (TOS), they have directed us to clause prohibiting, “child pornography or content perceived to be child pornography”. The problem is that Pigtails’ mission is to work to alter those very misperceptions and yet we must somehow operate under these arbitrary standards. Nonetheless, to prevent being summarily shut down, we have complied with the request.

The Charge: According to the complaint, the pages contain material that are “potentially criminal” under German Criminal Code. FSM claims that German law enforcement concurs with their assessment, but the statement is ambiguous. It is also unfortunate that the service provider decided to respect a request from a watchdog organization rather than an appropriate law enforcement agency. Even law enforcement agencies have a tendency of misjudging situations (out of ignorance) and take actions that are later thrown out in court. The proper authority for making a removal request ought to be an agency belonging to the court system. Additionally, the request should be made from a U.S. agency, under whose law we are supposed to be operating. It is impractical to have to comply with the myriad laws that may vary from country to county. Issues of jurisdiction aside, an article quoting a real law expert in Germany seems to confirm that the ‘Stolen Dreams’ post is actually legal in that country and would not have precipitated legal proceedings.

The Organization: FSM-Hotline and its parent organization INHOPE are private charities and are being deceptive when they make such strongly-worded requests. Like many such organizations, they probably do submit reports to law enforcement but do not have any special standing with them. It is disconcerting that such a vigilante group should have this kind of sway on what is presented on the internet, given their highly-prejudiced standard that demonstrates less expertise than Pigtails in Paint itself. Any readers who want to protest FSM’s actions—accusing this site of hosting Child sexual abuse material (Child Pornography)—should do so by email and refer to unique report number 54892: hotline@fsm.de

Our Action: Ideally, we want visual materials to be available to the public so it can judged on an individual basis and not filtered by the biases of those who purport to represent the average person or a moral code. When time allows, a text-only version of the ‘Stolen Dreams’ post will be published with a paragraph explaining the situation. We will also be shopping for a new service provider who can be counted on not to cave in to such insubstantial and ill-informed pressure. Ideally, Pigtails should be formally sponsored by an established art or academic institution that would help allay any questions of legitimacy. If successful, we hope to republish the post intact at a later date. A PDF version of the post will be made available to prospective service providers and/or sponsors as needed.

Please help us resist these efforts to suppress legitimate material that allows our detractors to diminish our effectiveness bit by bit.

An Impending Conflagration: On May 23rd and 24th, a final hearing was held in the Isleworth Crown Court between Graham Ovenden‭ ‬and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. The hearing was dedicated to making a final determination regarding the destruction of historical and art photographs and a number of graphic works created by the artist. The hearing was conducted by senior Judge McGregor-Johnson who was flanked by two others, Ms. S. McGregor and Mrs. A. Newmark.‭ ‬Barrister Robert Linford and Solicitor T.J. O’Callighan‭ ‬represented the appellant, graciously offering their services free of charge. The biggest objection at the proceedings was the simple fact that there is no legal grounds for judging artistic merit in a court of law. The judges also used common colloquialisms to describe images instead of using the more proper language of the “visually literate”. The issue of the relationship between words and pictures was also brought up and how they together create the context for judging a work. However, the lead judge’s verdict was to ignore such connections, regardless of historical or political relevance. As a result, many of the poetry broadsheets, ‭which lent voice to children—expressing both their positive and negative experiences—are now to have their words posthumously obliterated from history. Surely the fact that this imagery might be considered distasteful by the tender-minded or sexually neurotic does not justify the indignity of these children being silenced. The decision to deem some pieces indecent and some not reached a point of absurdity. In some cases, one would have been hard-pressed to notice the difference between two examples when placed side by side. Nevertheless, the fact that the court should save any of the images slated for destruction is at least a partial triumph. Of the pieces deemed not indecent—none of which were created after 1987—were three from the Pierre Louÿs collection (27 are to be destroyed) and the bulk of the drawings and paintings produced by Ovenden himself.

Alabama is a Third-World Country: After a number of postponements, Chris Madaio’s trial to determine if he violated his parole conditions took place in Morgan County, Alabama.  Unable to afford his own attorney, a public defender was assigned to him.  The problem with public defenders is that they are usually overworked or have an understanding with the judge to just process people through the system, regardless of the merits of the case.  Madaio discovered his lawyer was incompetent and decided to accept a plea bargain, getting a sentence of 14 months.  The disturbing thing about the case was how obvious questions were not even asked like why the prosecution assumed he had access to the illegal materials in the storage unit, why others who clearly had access are not being charged and when those materials were placed there.  The third question suggests the possibility that the defendant has been subjected to double jeopardy in this case.  Madaio believes the court is going out of its way to make an example of him because he was a published photographer and wants to remind Americans that, “Freedom isn’t a right, it must be earned.”

Contact Form: For those of you wishing to reach the editorial staff by email, there is a new contact form on the ‘Contact Us’ page.  You can reach us using that form or just leave a private message in the comments section of the appropriate post.  If any readers find out-of-date email addresses printed on the site, please inform us so they can be updated.

RSS Feeds and Site Design: As we continue to experience growing pains, it has been necessary to add features that enhance our security and professionalism.  Until the site is fully updated, there might be some rough edges here and there.  For example, information on RSS Feeds had to be returned to one of the tabs at the top of the page.  For the time being, this information can be found under the ‘About This Site’ page.

Context is Everything: Facebook is at it again.  Images of nudity are being shared on social media, but because it is taken out of context, Facebook finds itself removing the images then replacing them when it learns the actual intent or backstory.  Learn more in this BBC Trending article.

‭I Must Plead Ignorance: Although I pride myself on being well-read and knowledgeable, life is an ongoing learning process. One of the complaints about the final Ovenden hearing was the judges’ failure to use proper terminology in their descriptions. I find it annoying when the term vagina is used to refer to a woman’s external genitalia when anyone versed in anatomy knows it to be internal. I usually resort to more clinical or scientific terms in my descriptions, but I was surprised to learn of the word pudendum (more commonly used in the plural, pudenda), which can be used to refer to the superficial genital organs of a girl or woman.

When Innocence Has No Voice: Munted

A film like this makes me think that there is no such thing as fiction. To make a compelling story, to get the audience to really care about the characters, it is more effective when it is taken from one’s real experiences. Munted (2011) is a remarkable short film produced by Welby Ings and based on an incident that occurred in 1961 in King Country on the North Island, New Zealand. The filmmaker recalls that a man was badly beaten and hounded out of the district without being able to comprehend what he had been accused of. He decided to tell this story showing how innocence can be brutalized whenever sanctioned rumor is pitted against a truth that can’t defend itself.

The word munted is slang meaning both damaged or worthless and drunk. The word obviously applies ironically to the main character but also to most of the other characters, though in a different sense.

The film is narrated by a 10-year-old girl called Katrina (Ella Edward) who lives with her Aunt Kath. This adds a layer of reality as the story is told by a child with its naivete and misconceptions about the adult world.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (1)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (1)

She introduces us to Don (Phil Peleton), an artist who lives in a building near Katrina. He draws sketch after sketch of flowers—a symbol of female innocence and played to great effect in the opening of the film—and sometimes sketches Katrina as well. The two have an emotional attachment and Katrina tells Don she wants to be an artist. The drawings shown in the film’s opening were actually drawn by Ings himself.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (2)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (2)

We get a sense of Don’s backstory from a combination of exposition and narration throughout the film. Apparently, while drunk, he got into an auto accident, killing his wife. He was subsequently unable to save his daughters from drowning because of his own fear of the water. In his art, water is always portrayed as darkness and associated with death. As a result of the crash, he suffered some kind of mental debilitation with both physical and psychological components.

Katrina comments that Don’s drawings are all covered in writing which seems to spoil the images, but it is clearly meant to reflect the artist’s mental state. The integration of text into an artwork is personally significant to the filmmaker who did not learn to read and write until he was fifteen. Therefore, Ings’ childhood memories of written text is as a kind of textural art suggesting labyrinthine forms. The film itself is also covered in text seemingly serving the superfluous function of English subtitles.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (3)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (3)

One day, Katrina’s biological mother, Brooke, appears with a new beau and is intent on taking the girl back. Aunt Kath resists this idea. She was unable to have children herself and her sister seemed incapable of taking care of a child so the arrangement worked out well for a while. It is clear from Brooke’s behavior that her desire to get Katrina is motivated by a selfish desire to restore her respectability as a mother. The two women look for Katrina by going to Don’s place. There, Brooke finds a folder with photographs of little girls.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (4)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (4)

Brooke begins applying pressure by making incessant phone calls to her sister. Finally, she does some digging, perhaps into the newspaper archives, and finds misleading clues to Don’s past. The impression is that Don is a pedophile who murdered two girls. Brooke makes the case that this proves that Don is a dangerous influence.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (5)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (5)

The situation is exacerbated one day when Katrina swims too far out and gets caught in an undertow.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (6)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (6)

In a startling act of heroism, Don overcomes his fear and manages to save the girl. However, when the others arrive on the scene they interpret it as an attempt by Don to harm her.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (7)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (7)

Brooke finally appeals to the egos of her beau and some of the local ruffians suggesting that they should really do something about Don. While in his tub—another drowning reference—the men come by, beat him, murder him and then set his place on fire. The dual purpose of fire here, destroying both the art and the man is an intentional reference to the famous quote: “Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.” (“Where one burns books, one will also finally burn people.”) (Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1820/21). This outcome is a vivid statement about the nature of the moral panic surrounding pedophilia and sexual abuse.

Throughout the murder scene, the song Farther Along is sung.

Farther Along

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
Then do we wonder why others prosper
Living so wicked year after year

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all, by and by

Faithful ’til death, said our loving Master
A few more days to labor and wait
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing
As we sweep through the beautiful gates

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all, by and by

After the funeral, Katrina packs and shares her concluding thoughts:

Things can happen like that, if you’re alone and don’t have any friends to look after you. You’ve got to be really careful. You’ve got to fit in. That’s just the way it is.

Welby Ings - Munted (2011) (8)

Welby Ings – Munted (2011) (8)

Welby Ings is an associate professor of graphic design at Auckland University of Technology, a storyteller and makes short films in his spare time. He is fascinated by how people think and has concluded that the act of creativity is really a form of “disobedient thinking”. He is a captivating public speaker and shares important lessons taken from his own upbringing. Munted won the 2012 Leeds International Film Festival Award in the short film category and was an official selection for several other festivals as well. His first film Boy (2005) was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2006.

Maiden Voyages: May 2016

A Premium Postcard Collection: It is with great excitement that I announce that my friend Stuart—who has perhaps the world’s biggest collection of Edwardian postcards—has finally consented to share his collection with Pigtails readers.  It will take time to sort through and scan thousands of postcards but as they become available, I will share them here.  For starters, some new Reutlinger images have come to light and that post has been updated.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this generosity is greatly appreciated.

Guilt by Association: On May 9th, photographer Chris Madaio is scheduled to stand trial for charges that he violated the conditions of his parole after serving 4 years in prison for possession of child pornography (see more details on his story here).  Although Madaio does not contest the original charges, the Morgan County, Alabama authorities seem determined to find any excuse to continue to punish him.  The new charges are based on images found on a computer and some USB drives found in a storage unit with his name on it.  The unit belonged to two women, the sister and a friend of Samuel Hyde.  Hyde was a convicted sex offender whom Madaio knew for a short time while attending the same court-ordered program.  The women allowed Hyde personal use of the unit, but neither they nor Hyde have been indicted.  To complicate things further, Hyde made a statement against Madaio before dying under mysterious circumstances.  It would be difficult to speculate on the veracity of all the details of the case, but it is an excellent illustration of how the justice system prefers to grandstand on prosecutions rather than rehabilitate and reintegrate those who have been convicted.  Although Madaio has a court-appointed attorney, he is hopeful that a more trusted family lawyer will be allowed to serve as co-counsel.

No News is Bad News: An item came across my desk about a controversy regarding a GAP Kids clothing line and the portrayal of Black people.  An ad campaign featuring a performing troupe called Le PeTiT CiRqUe (more on them in a future post) included one image with a bigger girl resting her arm on a shorter Black girl.  You can read a little about it here.  With all the special interest groups involved in this issue, many people are getting on the bandwagon and making a lot of noise.  Whatever the circumstances, I would like to humbly suggest that those sincerely interested in the cause of racial justice not waste their energy on something that will accomplish nothing while giving free publicity to a major clothing company.  On the other hand, it is nice that Le PeTiT CiRqUe got a little press.

Gap Kids Ad Campaign (2016)

Gap Kids Ad Campaign (2016)

“Moral Welfare” on the Set: One of our readers, who is child modeling agent, has shared items of interest regarding the changing rules and conditions of child models and actors. For example, in the past, outtakes from films shot in the days before the internet would never see the light of day and if there was some inadvertent nudity, it was of little concern. But today, a lot of behind-the-scenes footage gets leaked and so the rules in Hollywood have become a lot stricter.  An online article shares an interesting anecdote regarding the opening scene of Disney’s Pollyanna and informs readers that now, under California law, it is studio teachers who are responsible for the moral welfare of children in their charge.

To Top or Not to Top: As many readers of this site are aware, in many countries outside the United States, it is routine for undeveloped younger girls to swim in public without bikini tops.  A mother shares an interesting story about her 7-year-old daughter’s recent trip to Spain.  It offers a little insight about a child’s body image and her ability to adapt to different cultural norms.  The editorial concludes with the mother seeking this advice: now that the girl is used to swimming without a top, how can she be persuaded to go back?

Auction News: A friend passed on this small item about Sotheby’s auctioning off a few Sally Mann photographs on May 19th.  A lot of big-name photographers are featured and the Mann images are numbered 58–61.  Speculation in art has continued to inflate prices.

Maiden Voyages: February 2016

Ovenden Collection Returned! Sorry this item is a bit late, but it has been reported that the Metropolitan Police have returned most of the rest of Graham Ovenden’s collection of photographs and personal sketches (including those by von Plüschow and other samples from the Pierre Louÿs collection).  Except for creases in a few cases, they have been returned in remarkably good condition.  This is an indication that the Police would like this matter put to rest.  There is still the matter of the appeal regarding images ordered destroyed by Judge Roscoe.  The date for this hearing has not been set.  For those who have not been following this story see here and here.

An Edwardian Model’s Account: I was excited to learn that after the publication of Victorian Children by Graham Ovenden and Robert Melville in 1972, one of the models featured in that book wrote to The Times (UK) to give an account of her experiences.  I would like to appeal to our readers to find that article in The Times’ archives or perhaps someone out there had the presence of mind to save that clipping.  In any case, it would be a real treat for all of us if Pigtails in Paint could post a transcript.  Neither photographer or model are identified in the book.

Victorian Children (Plate 72)

Victorian Children (Plate 72)

I am also delighted to announce that, for the first time, a model came forward to identify herself (and attempt to reach the artist’s son), due to the images we posted.

Japanese Transcribers/Translators Needed: Given the success in soliciting French transcribers last month (the Bourboulon articles have all been transcribed, Thank You), I thought I would try asking for some help in Japanese.  There are new readers to Pigtails all the time and these newcomers have not yet explored the various support pages, so this is my way of reminding people that this is a volunteer enterprise and depends largely on the contributions of readers.  I know many people fluent in Japanese are not comfortable with translating, but transcribing just requires a familiarity with producing Japanese characters on the computer.  One of the reasons this site does not cover more photo-Lolicon artists is because of the time lag in translating the written material available to us.  I also remind readers that there is a journal by Hajime Sawatari already transcribed here and that using Google Translate does not work because it is written in a kind of shorthand and requires the fluency of a Japanese native.

Double Censorship: There was a short piece in the Huffington Post about Danish politician Mette Gjerskov who had her photo of a Danish statue of The Little Mermaid rejected due to nudity.  It demonstrated perfectly the absurdity of arbitrary standards that do not take into account context and good judgment.  Then I discovered the Huffington Post was censored so we cannot view that article and the “offending” image.  Fortunately, there was another source which added that, even though Facebook reversed its decision, the image could not be used due to copyright infringement!  Even though the apparent age of the figure falls outside the scope of Pigtails, it is tempting to post it here as a form of protest.

And Speaking of The Little Mermaid… Zek found a site that published a cache of drawings from the Disney Studios.  Apparently, the animators were coming off of Oliver and Company and being assigned to The Little Mermaid.  Since these artists hadn’t drawn human beings for a while, it was thought that they could use a little practice to get up to speed. So these became the earliest concept drawings for Ariel.  The site also included these nude studies.

Hysteria over Parental Affection: Ex-Australia footballer Craig Foster received some flak after being filmed affectionately stroking his 8-year-old daughter.  This public “spectacle” took place during the national anthem of a football match he was to play in and in which the girl was serving as mascot.

The Corbis-Getty Merger: In my early days with Pigtails, I sought to find stand-alone images that could be used for short posts on the site. Often I found that there was a deeper story behind an image and a short post was not always possible. This happened many times as with an image, made into a postcard, of an overhead view of a ballerina (from the Bettmann Archive). With the idea that there may be many interesting images on that site, RJ graciously agreed to visit the site and find images that might be of interest to our readers. Another example was a photograph of Hopi girls in a recent post. I received a press release on January 22nd about Corbis’ sale of its content licensing business and became concerned that RJ’s links might not be valid after the transition. So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing his discoveries as part of the ‘Random Images’ posts with whatever background information I can find—and requests for better information from our informed readers.

The sale was to Unity Glory International, an affiliate of the Visual China Group (VCG) and will include the images and motion archives from Corbis Images, Corbis Motion, and Veer. Getty Images will become the exclusive global distributor of Corbis content outside of China. The images from Corbis (including Bettmann and Sygma Archives) will migrate to gettyimages.com where it will be combined with Getty Images’ collection of almost 200 million images and videos, including historical photography and the Hulton Archive (the largest privately held archive in the world). Naturally, with all this talk of business and private collections, we should all be concerned about what this means to the general public. This is certainly a benefit to paying customers, but what about archivists on a shoestring budget? Is this part of a continuing trend of putting information that was once openly accessible behind a paywall? Aaron Swartz had similar concerns about academic journal articles.

Addressing a Commenter

I had intended to let this go as I generally feel that giving ignorant people the time to voice their views here is unbecoming of a professional art blog, but I have decided to address it in a post without letting the comment through, since I did not want to share this particular  commentator’s information with the public.  Consider it a kindness to her, since we have some passionate fans who might pursue the matter beyond this blog, and at that point it is no longer in our control.

This commenter has apparently made it clear that she has reported our site to the NCMEC, since she seems to be under the impression that no one has ever tried this before and that NCMEC is somehow unaware of our existence, which is absurd for a blog of this size and importance.  Nevertheless, I shall take on each of her points one by one, so that other readers will be aware of how ridiculous her position is.  Here goes . . .

I am not an artist;

That is resoundingly obvious, as pretty much any artist worth his or her salt would be well aware of the laws pertaining to these issues, which you so clearly are not.

I happened on your website by chance.

I somehow doubt that.  There are people who make it their business to search out and target anything that they consider offensive.  But, if you did happen here by chance, all the better, since it means our site is easily reached and available to everyone, as it should be.

Some of the artwork is beautiful and some is thought provoking.

And yet . . .

However, there are many many photos of young girls in full frontal nudity.

. . . as if the child’s nude body cannot be both beautiful and thought-provoking.  At any rate, these images are constitutionally protected art.  They are not pornography, even those which address youth sexuality in some way, and certainly those which feature simple child nudity.  Every image here has been vetted and recognized as art.  The vast majority of these images have been published in other venues.  In fact, almost all of them have been taken from books which are easily available, many still in circulation, or from other art sites.  We do not post images here unless we know where they came from and we know for a fact that they meet the legal criteria for art.  We have always been extremely scrupulous about this, and that policy will continue for as long as this site remains extant.

And yes some do have a “lascivious display” of genitalia.

No, they don’t.  To suggest this to be utterly ignorant of both law and art.  Simply because genitalia is visible does not mean that they are lasciviously displayed.  Lascivious display has a legal definition, and it requires an extreme focus on the genitalia and/or genitalia which is displayed in such a way as to be deliberately sexual.  None of the images here meet that definition.  If they did, then the artists who produced them would be in jail.  A few of these artists (like Jock Sturges) have been arrested on spurious child porn charges, but they were always absolved of any wrongdoing in the end.

Perhaps in and of themselves there isn’t a problem. But to group so many photos together in one website seems to me to be a potential pedophile’s paradise.

Whether it is a “potential pedophile’s paradise” is really in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?  I have little doubt that pedophiles have visited our site, just as I’m sure they have bought the books or visited the websites of the artists themselves, but so what?  It is not the intent of this site to cater to pedophiles, but if we net a few in the process of making our larger point, so be it.  We are not willing to sway from our course in the interest of avoiding a few people.  It is absurd to completely change our longstanding cultural values of artistic and philosophical freedom in the interest of curtailing the prurient interest of a few.  Moreover, I suspect many of the people who oppose this site understand this and are masking their real objections to the dialogue itself by slapping the child porn label on art because they know that it’s generally a quick and effective way to silence the debate.  But I do not frighten so easily.  I am better informed than my enemies will ever be, and that is why I know that, outside of a fascistic crackdown on the whole of artistic expression itself, they cannot win.

If these photos were of women, full frontal nudity, they could be teetering on porn.

“Teetering on porn” is a ridiculously vague description of what you find offensive, but whatever it is, it still isn’t porn.  Full frontal nudity, adult and child, has been a staple of art since the beginning of its history.  If one took the time to actually peruse this blog, they would soon realize that this is part of the reason the blog exists in the first place: to educate people to that fact.  And again, I suspect the real objection to our site is because it so effectively makes that clear.  Enemies of artistic freedom thrive on spreading ignorance and fear about the issues to which they object, but we can see through that ploy a mile away and are not susceptible to intimidation and threats, and we’re willing to call them out on it, which means that we are more dangerous to them than real child porn ever will be.  That’s exactly why this blog is so important and so valid, and why we persist in the face of great opposition.  Many of the artists we feature here are friends of the site.  They understand how vital our mission is, and exactly how unique we are in the artistic world, because most people who have tried what we are doing have caved at the first sign of trouble rather than faced down the fear-mongers like they should have.  We will not do that.

In siding with the conservative, I’ve reported your website to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Wonderful!  And when this site is still standing months or years from now, we can point to this fact, and it will only fortify our position.

Nothing, or something may come of it;

Yes, something will come of it: you and your ilk will continue to look more and more ridiculous for your astounding degree of ignorance of artistic and legal precedent.  So, please, by all means, keep inundating us with your uninformed and sanctimonious opinions and keep reporting us to people who have better things to do with their time than dealing with an art blog posting well-known and already legally vetted art, so we can keep strengthening our hand.

I’m sorry and I know you disagree, but we’ll let a third party decide.

Please.  Stop with the patronizing nonsense.  You may be many things, but sorry is not one of them.  Admit it: you have no qualms with trying to destroy us.  And third parties have already decided.  This site has been in existence since February of 2011; we have already faced worse threats than you and we are still standing proud, just like this little girl . . .

Diego Sandstede - Malena

Diego Sandstede – Malena

Badge of Honor: Wyatt Newmann

I discovered the incredible story of photographer Wyatt Neumann I felt had to be shared to expose the ignorant nature of an uninformed and, frankly, brainwashed populace who would verbally condemn a father for images he shared online of his young daughter.  Even more noteworthy is Mr. Neumann’s response to his attackers—fighting back with grace and facts and with the very images he was so maligned for posting.

The Safari, NYC - (untitled) (2014)

The Safari, NYC – (untitled) (2014)

“These compelling images of children, taken by their father, have been scrutinized and censored by conservatives who deemed them pornography. Along with the images will be the statements made by these people, people who hide behind the cloak of Internet, attacking real people from a veil of anonymity. This work unintentionally documents censorship in the Information Age, an issue we are just beginning to understand.”  -KP Lawless, Safari Gallery

“In my photographs, some people see innocence and beauty, while others see only sexual victimization and violence. It’s an interesting lesson in the power of fear and fundamentalism, and the aggression that it can spawn. It’s also a mirror that we can look at and see ourselves looking back. It’s a chance to decide how we want to view the world, and to decide what kind of world we want to create. For ourselves, our futures, and the future we leave for our children.”  -Wyatt Neumann

Wyatt Neumann, (Untitled) (2014)

Wyatt Neumann, (Untitled) (2014)

Learn more about this story in this Huffington Post article and from The Safari Gallery in New York which exhibited his work using one of the narrow-minded comments he received as a badge of honor: “I feel sorry for your children.”

Particularly moving is a short video on YouTube about Mr. Neumann, the knee-jerk hysteria that ensued and the support which came from other families with children.

[September 23, 2014] A number of readers expressed an interest in seeing more of the Neumann images and another was kind enough to offer a selection from the book.  With each image I will state Neumann’s comment, then the rude comment published in the book, then mine.  Neumann’s handle is #dadlife.  -Ron

Neumann: here you go: a not-so-rare sighting of not-so-elusive wild stella in her not-so-natural habitat. (at Navajo Nation, AZ)

Commenter: One photo where his daughter was crouched naked on the highway in the middle of the desert, looking like a feral cat.  The look on her face is disturbing.

Me: What I find disturbing (and I think I can speak for Rousseau as well) is that some grown-ups are so spiritually bereft that they cannot enjoy and appreciate the animal spirits of very young children.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (1)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (1)

Neumann: Swan Song.

Commenter: It’s not just his daughter he’s exploiting, either. He has one of his son where he’s throwing him up in the air, naked, with his penis flying.

Me: Unmitigated Joy. (and a great shot to boot!)

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (2)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (2)

Neumann: everything good in the world lives within the eyes of my children.

Commenter: Every good thing you are and every good thing you do is cancelled out by the fact that you exploit your children.  You truly have no right to do this to them.

Me: Every good parent should be lucky enough to have such a tender and candid shot of their child.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (3)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (3)

Neumann: definition of true happiness: driving down the highway with all the windows rolled down, cranking “out of the blue” by julian casablancas and singing at the top of my lungs to my screaming and giggling baby girl… ❤❤❤

Commenter: He’s such a passive aggressive little diva.  #dadlife? More like #douchelife

Me: It’s called being irreverent (and more unmitigated self-expression on Stella’s part).  We could use a little more of that in our society.  Shouldn’t he at least be given credit for securing her properly in a child seat?

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (4)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (4)

This image appears with no text and falls on the copyright page.  I’m surprised there was not some comment condemning this community for allowing a half-naked child to be in their midst.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (5)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (5)