Taking Candy From a Baby

“People in the photography world, anyone who is sophisticated about photography, knows that this is not offensive,” collector and former gallery owner Stephen White told the LA Times. “Taking away a lollipop is not child abuse. There’s no irreparable harm. I’m just not sure there’s any significance to the photographs either.”

Critics call foul over LA exhibition

View selections from the exhibition here.

The photographs depicts pure, raw emotion. I agree with the gallery owner quoted that there was no child abuse. Was the photographer manipulative? Of course. So was Robert Mapplethorpe, as is Annie Liebovitz. Photographers — all artists — have an agenda, a message to express. That’s not a crime. It may be distasteful, but no artist can please all audiences. Jill Greenberg is a photographic artist who attempted, with this series of pictures, to convey her own experience of outrage and helplessness regarding world affairs. I’m not sure being robbed of pleasure (as the children were) equates with despair over a violent world, but the intensity a child feels is probably equivalent to adult angst. To a child, losing a lollipop is reason for despair, I suppose. We adults grow inured to seeing photos of bloody war victims and wailing parents, but it’s hard not to be moved by a child’s face.

[via Bookish]

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