Oh! Will censorship never cease?
Another day, another censored photograph. This time, the controversial artist is 24 -year-old Isabella Melody Moore, whose photograph of herself and a friend sitting topless side by side on a hotel bed has been blocked from winning a prize in a competition backed by the City of Sydney.
Four of the five judges in the Wesley Mission’s MyPlace-MyFace contest thought the photograph was beautiful and wanted it to win second place. But the mission itself decided it was inappropriate, and asked for it to be removed from the competition altogether.
Moore said that the image was not supposed to have any sexual overtones. And clearly, it doesn’t- there is nothing salacious about it. It’s quite an innocent, nostalgic picture. The women are beautiful, comfortable in their nudity and staring at the camera confidently. The quaint, pastel colouring of the hotel room and the soft, sunny use of light create a distinctly ‘holiday’ sense of calm and content. And for the theme it was entered under, ‘a favourite place or a place of meaning,’ the energy of the piece is perfect.
It seems strange that such an innocuous picture could, in this day and age, be considered inappropriate. As Moore argues, ‘Nudity is shown all the time in photography. It’s an art… Nudity is natural and it’s real … we’re just lying there next to each other.’
The friend pictured in the photograph alongside Moore, 23-year-old Amy Tuxworth, agrees. ‘That photo represents nothing but friendship and fun … Would it change if we had tops on or something?’
Of course, it would in fact make a difference if they had tops on- but nudity in itself cannot logically be the whole issue. A different photograph, showing a naked man, has been approved for a prize. Is the problem that women’s breasts are more offensive than a man’s ass? Or is it the fact that there are two women in the picture- and therefore the possibility of lesbian overtones?
Not that it’s really relevant or any of our business, but Moore and Tuxworth say they are not lesbians. Still, I suspect that’s what’s really at the heart of the issue here. I guess we’ll never really know- but all in all, it feels like a pretty disappointing throwback to less ‘enlightened’ times.
(*Unfortunately, this is the largest/ best quality version of the actual photograph I can find. If I manage to source a better copy I’ll post it!)