I thought it’s time to share stuff more frequently here, so starting today you will find a selection of interesting finds and reads from all over the Internet. Rather than just resorting to re-tweeting or re-posting stuff on Twitter or Tumblr, it’s more fun to post them on this blog where I have the room and freedom to comment with more than just a handful of words. Why “Report from the trenches”? The Internet is a passionate place where opinions and ideas are challenged in passionate ways, sometimes resulting in flame wars and battles of the trolls. From that insane amount of information that is raining down on us each week, I try to edit it down to what I think is worth sharing and discussing, hopefully on a weekly basis. Feel free to join in with comments or back-traced blog posts of yourself.
Condemning Terry Richardson?
Being a provocative pervert isn’t easy by itself. Being subjected to public accusations makes it a lot harder. Terry Richardson has always been a polarizing character but this time the outrage about accusations that have been around for years, ever resurfacing once in a while and calls for a Terry Richardson related product boycott, have sparked a response from Richardson.
It’s impossible to know who is telling the truth in this dispute. Charlotte Waters’ account is shocking to read. But it mostly leaves me with questions around her behavior, not Richardson’s. It’s easy to condemn Richardson as being a ‘sexual predator’ based on the emotional impact Waters’ story creates. But even if she told the truth, Richardson would not be a criminal ‘sexual predator’ illegally harassing and abusing an adult woman. An adult woman, who being an art student, had already worked with the professionals of the trade before. An adult woman who must have known what constituted normal behavior in nude model shoots. And adult woman who is responsible enough as a professional in the nude photography art domain to know where and what her boundaries are. And an adult woman who is able to express her free will and leave a situation she is not comfortable with. But according to her own account, she never objected to anything Richardson said or did. She didn’t leave. She followed his instructions. She even stated repeatedly that she trusted Richardson’s aesthetic and that she “really liked his aesthetic“. If she was familiar with his style and with his work, she should have known as a professional what expected her at that shoot given that Richardson’s body of work contains so much up front, hard core pornography that it’s impossible to ignore – or not know about as an art student modeling nude. Furthermore, the fact that she “doesn’t even really remember what specific things were happening at that point” doesn’t add to her credibility in general.
I’m on the edge with this one. I am pretty sure Richardson is a pervert and may be exploiting young women – when they let him. But with so many accusations being fuzzy on the details, coming from anonymous sources and so on, I got to give Richardson the benefit of the doubt. And if Waters told the truth, Richardson still isn’t a criminal. He’d just be a pervert jerk. Which brings me to the next point. If you’re a nude model, know your comfort zone and your boundaries. If you don’t want to be touched, say so. If you’re uncomfortable, leave. If you schedule a shoot with a photographer, do some research and look at his work beforehand. That’s all common sense. None of that was applied by Waters.
Killing off street photography by law in yet another country: Hungary
Hungary introduced a law that outlaws taking photographs in public without the prior consent of anybody in the picture.
Well, what can I say. From the point of view of a street photographer, this basically means that I can cross Hungary from the list of destinations I’d be willing to travel to on my own free time. That’s one way to kill off tourism income. Other than that, I think Hungary has greater problems with their government and legislation. The whole country is drifting away from democracy and being a free society, so yes, this is just another nail in the coffin.
St. Patrick’s tradition versus Gay Pride
Every year, Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a common, identity creating theme: green. New York, home of generations of Irish immigrants in the United States, hosts several St. Patrick’s Day parades, including the big major one in downtown Manhattan. Organizers of the annual parade allowed gay groups to march in the parade but banned public expression of gay pride. New York City’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio already announced he will not partake in the parade as a consequence and the beer brewing company Guinness withdrew sponsorship of the event.
In all honesty and fairness, I believe the gay pride movement has enough public events already which they can claim for themselves, their identity and their theme accordingly (rainbow colors and all that) such as Christopher’s Street Day. I can relate to the organizers of a St. Patrick’s day parade only tolerating the theme green. Allow the gay pride movement to show their colors will only result the St. Patrick’s Day theme being watered down and diminished. It’s a St. Patrick’s Day parade, not Christopher Street Day. How would a Christmas Parade react to the participation of Easter fans marching in Easter Rabbit costumes? This is about identity, not issues of inclusiveness. The identity of St. Patrick’s Day – the St. Patrick’s Day brand so to speak – is about the color green – and the color green only. Of course a gay pride intrusion of rainbow colors is harming the St. Patrick’s Day brand as gay pride colors and symbols have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. But sometimes I have the feeling that some groups with their own agenda have to let it rain on someone else’s parade just to drive their own agenda. I think it’s a sad development when some very outspoken minorities can kidnap the public space of other minorities under the pretense of discrimination issues.