Welcome to the official, independent student-run newspaper of Hofstra University! Whether it be taking photos of half-naked children in suggestive poses, viewing late night television shows featuring live abortions, writing misogynist stories depicting rape and torture of young girls or eating babies for the sake of performance rituals, using children for the sake of art usually equals some sort of controversy.
Children are known as the most innocent of beings. When a child dies or goes missing, the community and media response is usually much greater than that of an adult. For as long as time, involving children in deviant acts has always been the biggest taboo.
Not only is it considered morally wrong, but it may get you on Perverted-Justice. This is why, when someone such as Sally Mann photographs her own children in ways deemed inappropriate by the vast majority of society, it doesn't go unnoticed. When one thinks of child photography, we are reminded of JCPenney Portrait Studio commercials and The Picture People outlets found in malls across the country. However, for Virginia-based, professional photographer Sally Mann, her children's portraits look more like damaged 19th century exploitation pictorials.
Using a vintage large-format 8x10 camera and various scratched lenses, Mann was able to create rich black-and-white photos that once seen, will forever be ingrained in the minds of viewers. Mann's third collection, Immediate Family, released in , featured her three young children posing nude in various surreal, disturbing images.
Not disturbing because they were spread eagle or anything, but because the looks on their faces captured their lost innocence and the emotions of knowing their whole childhood would come crashing down with the start of puberty. These images led to many religious and right-wing groups condemning her work and calling her a child pornographer and pedophile.
Many conservative critics boycotted galleries in which her work was featured and tried to stop her public showings. Despite the controversy caused by Mann's unique family photos, she went on to win countless awards, including Guggenheim and National Endowment for The Arts Fellowship.
As her children have grown up, Mann has switched to photographing landscapes of the south, which are surprisingly even more naked and dreamlike than her previous works. From Hitchcock's classic film noir Rearview Mirror to "True Detective" magazine, true crime has always been a popular subject. For Peter Sotos, writer and publisher of "Pure," it was an obsession; and not a very healthy one at that. Sotos began publishing "Pure," a transgressive 'zine that took an often disturbing look into the minds of serial killers, rapists and child molesters, in the mids.
Known for its extremely detailed and graphic descriptions, along with sketches from controversial English artist, Trevor Brown, "Pure" also featured prose depicting the rape and mutilation of little girls often from the point of view of the perpetrator.
In , Sotos became the first person to be convicted for owning child pornography in the United States. Three years before in , Sotos was arrested by Chicago police after being brought to the attention of Scotland Yard who somehow stumbled upon a copy of "Pure," while raiding a graverobber's apartment. This particular issue of "Pure" featured a xeroxed image taken from a real child pornography 'zine called "Incest 4. Thinking Sotos must be involved in murder, or at the very least some sort of child sex ring, Chicago police were notified and began a nine-month surveillance of his apartment.
During a raid of his apartment, they finally found a hard copy of the 'zine, in which the photocopied image had come from. After his arrest, Soto was put through numerous psychiatric exams and everyone was convinced he was guilty of something very wrong, but weren't quite sure of just what.
During this time, Sotos received support from many unlikely sources, including Steve Albini, famed producer of albums by Nirvana, PJ Harvey and The Pixies, who actually let Sotos live with him during his three-year trial. After the trial, Sotos continued to write his disturbing prose and even joined seminal British power electronics collective, Whitehouse-an infamous group known for their misogynist, nihilistic views. In addition to helping the band record, he also completed several tracks of spliced together soundbytes of former incest victims turned drug-addicted prostitutes, rape victims and family members of murdered children.
While what Sotos does can be considered gratuitous and sadistic, the recordings speak for themselves. Although Sotos and Whitehouse have recently parted ways for unknown reasons, Sotos still continues to work. While nothing quite reaches the level of the content found in "Pure," Sotos' new work Selfish, Little: The Annotated Lesley Anne Downey, is a book documenting the infamous s rape, torture and murder of the year old by lovers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
Many critics have argued that this is Sotos' best work, because it not only gives unique insight into the Moors Murders, but can also be seen as a startling psychoanalysis of Sotos himself. With the recent resurgence of serial killer fandom, including the Academy Award winner, Monster, original copies of "Pure" have become collectors' items, going for hundreds of dollars for just one issue.
In response to this newfound fame, Sotos has released the content from "Pure" in several books, that can ironically be found in even the most mainstream bookstores in the US. In the next edition of Controverse, we will examine several more cases of the child exploitation in art. Arts and Entertainment. More Information. Contact Us. Advertise With Us.
Apr Hofstra Chronicle. By Mita Tate Whether it be taking photos of half-naked children in suggestive poses, viewing late night television shows featuring live abortions, writing misogynist stories depicting rape and torture of young girls or eating babies for the sake of performance rituals, using children for the sake of art usually equals some sort of controversy.
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