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Author Topic: The Lolita Affair  (Read 64860 times)
NikosR
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« on: May 16, 2007, 03:07:28 AM »
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http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/lolita-affair.shtml

Well put, Michael.

I might disagree with lots of what you say in your site, but I must say you handled this matter perfectly.
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Nikos
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2007, 04:20:25 AM »
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The motto of the British Order of the Garter sums it up - "Honi soit qui mal y pense" - evil be to him who evil thinks of it.

An amazing furore when you consider the vast amounts of pornographic images available at the click of a link on the Internet.  In this bigger context, Lolita is quant.

The Lolita picture is a nice portrait but I'm increasingly feeling the Michael's deepest artistry is not vis-a-vis people, but rather with abstractions of natural forms.
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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 04:30:01 AM »
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When I first saw this image my immediate reaction was, that cyan piece of cloth shouldn't be there. The photo would be more interesting without it.

I don't often criticise Michael's photos, but I think the presence of that piece of cloth is a definite flaw.  
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wakeboy
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2007, 05:15:47 AM »
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the fact that i dont even know where the original post was posted is kinda annoying so i cant even put an opinion across.. apart from the fact the photo title is not bad, i wonder how many moral police swear or cuss.... is that not bad as well... the photo is a photo, infact probably one of the most viewed now...controversy sells....
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David Anderson
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 05:24:25 AM »
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If you want offensive misogynistic porn look no further then the R&B/Rap music videos aimed at young people on main stream TV - most of them make me cringe and I'm no prude..

The Lolita photo is for from offensive..
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oronet commander
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2007, 05:32:39 AM »
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I saw the picture several times without even thinking about its title or what it shows, but to my amazement today I've learnt about the affair  

Well, what could I say? Many people with too-shallow skin nowadays...
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Please excuse my language, since English is not my mother tongue
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Slough
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2007, 06:07:03 AM »
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I suspect the girl is simply posing for a portrait with no intent to be sexually provocative.

But I do agree that the photograph is completely anodyne. The most I can say is that the artlessness of the child has charm.

In the UK it is not possibly to photograph children that you do not know, due to the current 'moral' atmosphere. And most everyone drives their children to school due to fear of kiddy fiddlers. It's madness.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2007, 07:24:24 AM »
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Quote
When I first saw this image my immediate reaction was, that cyan piece of cloth shouldn't be there. The photo would be more interesting without it.

I don't often criticise Michael's photos, but I think the presence of that piece of cloth is a definite flaw.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117829\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

With that kind of reaction, even tounge in cheek, about a child, and with that title specifically suggesting a sexual connetation again with a child, I can see where they are coming from.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 07:41:43 AM by pom » Logged

sinclsw007
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2007, 07:31:09 AM »
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I'm astonished that no-one here has an issue with the use of a term that entered the language because it originally referred to a 12-year old girl in a work of fiction that has sex with a middle-aged man.  The fact that the bowdlerised subsidiary meaning has gained a common currency doesn't alter the fact that that meaning derives entirely from the orignal meaning, and anyone who uses it can expect - and deserve - a tough time from anyone familiar with the original meaning who asks them what they really meant.

Would you caption an anonymous middle aged man as Humbert Humbert, and would you think he would be completely happy about it?
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framah
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2007, 08:29:14 AM »
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What amazes me even more is that the book came out in 1955 and the movie in 1962!!!  52 years ago!!

How much longer do we have to wait for the neanderthals of the world to actually evolve?

Just get over it. It's still just a word and a photograph.  As soon as I saw the image I was thinking the same thing Michael was when he titled it. She was hamming it up for the camera and that's what little girls often do at that age.  

Just for the heck of it... if not Lolita, then what would you have titled it.
Anyone??    
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Stuarte
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2007, 08:33:26 AM »
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I certainly don't have a problem with it at all.  I have a 12-year-old daughter (and two sons, 11 and Cool and I'm certainly not keen on her having sex with anybody of any age for a good few years to come.  But she does strike kittenish poses in the photos that she herself takes using Photobooth on the iMac.  

"Lolita" doesn't belong to Nabokov any more than Scrooge belongs to Dickens or Catch-22 belongs to Heller.  They're steereotypes that are used in our culture as shorthands.  They're used without deep, extensive reference to the source text.  Humbert Humbert is not used as a stereotype.

It's quite right that our societies have become more vigilant about the exploitaiton of children and the casual acceptance of sexism.  But we shouldn't lose a sense of proportion that informs mature judgment in a world where hundreds of thousands of women are coerced into the sex trade which in part feeds the petabytes of pornography infesting the Internet.
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RomanJohnston
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2007, 08:45:50 AM »
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Stay the course.....

I have already responded to many threads about this in DPReview......and telling the people outraged by this that this isnt about the little girl...or the title...its about them. (which stands true for MOST morally outraged people)

THEY are uncomfortable with the title....

Changing it would not help the girl......nor will not changing it.

If they want to elicit change in this world...I invite them to buy a ticket....visit the town or village where the girl lives and make their changes there.

Wagging a finger at you for their own look in the mirror is amazingly simple minded.

Roman
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sinclsw007
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2007, 08:58:12 AM »
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I don't believe the elpased time since the publishing of the book is an issue; it isn't arcane in the literary sense or in the social issues it covers - if anything, its relevance is greater today, unfortunately.

I also don't see that Scrooge or Catch-22 are anywhere near as loaded in their implications to be sensibly used in comparison.

Per the red herrings that have been introduced in place of argument - I have no problem with the picture, it seems as harmless to me as it apparently does to everyone else who has commented.

And lastly, I have no problems with Michael's motives either - I just think it is unrealistic in practical terms to use a term loaded with such a background and affect surprise at the misunderstanding and controversy it generates.

PS  Oh, and good luck to all of you relying on wikipedia entries rather than original source documents  !
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Pelao
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2007, 09:02:36 AM »
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Michael

Anyone who knows you, personally or through your site and other media, would be aware that the art in the photograph is your passion.

Perhaps we need moral police, but if so it would help if they were competent. Police will look at all the evidence before judging whether or not to recommend prosecution (in this case, persecution).

I suppose the same people will now discover your gallery from Bangladesh and harass you for exploiting the (relatively) poor people there. And you had better brace yourself for an onslaught from the 'Happy Feet' fans, because your Antarctic trips exploit penguins......
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Pete JF
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2007, 09:25:32 AM »
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I don't think that the photograph in question is "art". It's much more of a snapshot. Nothing really brought to that picture by the person behind the camera (IMO) Everything there, is delivered by the young girl.

This thing with naming photographs, especially images like this? Most of the time, slapping a metaphorical name on a photograph is Sophomoric. Usually, when I see an image with a name like this on it, I throw up a little and wonder why the author is so involved in trying to make me see what he was thinking. It takes a lot of the fun out of experiencing a picture and the word pretentious comes to mind in a big way.

 In this case, I'm stunned that the "Lolita" choice was made. Michael, I can't believe that you were, as you said, "completely astonished" when you recieved a backlash from this. What did you expect? You ought to be spanked just for yielding to the temptation to give this image a  name other than "young girl in so and so village"..do you really feel that you needed to hold the audience's hand so tightly?

Very very very rarely does an image beg for a name..when it does, it had better be a good one, or, one that tries to send the audience in a, perhaps, ironic or otherwise direction. I wonder what this girl's mother or father would have thought of this choice of a name? Perhaps they would laugh..maybe not though, you might be chased through the jungle by a guy with a machete.

So, why does this image need an arty name? If some of the audience wants to bring some sexual provocation to the image then that's their business. If not, why force the issue? Do we really need to encircle our images with names that bind them as some particular thing?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 09:30:39 AM by Pete JF » Logged
wtlloyd
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2007, 09:27:52 AM »
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I don't find the subject sexually provocative, but the self-conscious yet naive pose struck instinctively does make the photo interesting for it's human universality. The title is apt.

How many who comment have actually read Lolita, or anything else by Nabokov, for that matter?

The smothering of our life experience with powerful modern media has many effects, but perhaps the cruelest is that when a cultural reference is made, the majority will think they have understood it's meaning.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2007, 09:33:34 AM »
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I also took part in the unbelievable discussion on the DP Review site and this is what I said (under the title "PC Gestapo rides again"):

"The word Lolita and its associated definitions and connotations, do not imply a statement on subjects character, but a statement of fact. In other words, it is descriptive, not normative or judgmental. It is Mr. Reichmann's right to see the world though his own eyes and interpret what he sees in his own way. If the first impression he had was that word, so be it. He could be right or he could be wrong, but he has the right to be wrong (known as freedom of speech).

One of the roles art has is to provoke. Mr. Reichmann did provoke us to think about the word and the image, the circumstances and societies, morals and dilemmas. And for that I am grateful to Mr. Reichmann and his art."

Reading Michael's subsequent reply I found it interesting that he raised the same issue, the provocative role of art.

I find it appalling that we have to defend the very concept of freedom of speech years after the fall of Soviet Union, and even in countries that served as beacons of that freedom for the rest of the world. Apparently, "freedom haters" are not limited to Taliban only.  
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Slobodan

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Pete JF
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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2007, 09:40:24 AM »
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You guys really think that this particular image is art?
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Nemo
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2007, 09:47:13 AM »
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There are a lot of things to be said about Photography and Art.

Art is a medium for transmitting things that cannot be expressed by regular means. You can "explain" a true Art work only until some point.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2007, 09:47:34 AM »
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Quote
I don't think that the photograph in question is "art". It's much more of a snapshot. Nothing really brought to that picture by the person behind the camera (IMO) Everything there, is delivered by the young girl.

Ok... are we now back to discussing is photography art at all? Because in almost every photograph, "..everything there is delivered by.. " the subject in front of the camera. Or you are saying that only manipulated photographs could qualify as art? And does one need to manipulate the subject, or just the photograph of the subject, or both, to be considered artist?
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Slobodan

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