Nan Goldin: It's ridiculous that we treat child nudity as a problem

Share
Related Topics

Perversity is in the eye of the beholder. Children are born without a fear of sexuality or a fear of their own bodies. That fear is imposed on them. Children are sensual beings, they touch and they like to be touched. It's the adult who sometimes takes advantage of this situation.

It's not about what the children in an image are doing and there's nothing sick about a nude child. It's so ridiculous we treat this as a problem in society. It's one of the joys of life, the human body.

My little nephew grew up in Scotland and when he'd visit America with his parents, he'd run around the beach naked and people would be incensed. The more we are around nudity, the more it is demystified and the more we realise that the body is beautiful.

Pornography is another issue altogether. I used to work in Times Square and a lot of the people who worked in a bar there were sex workers who made their money from being in porn magazines. I would say the difference between pornography and art is that (in the first instance), children are abused to act out adult's version of their fantasies. Child abuse is all about power and I am not encouraging anyone to have a relationship with someone under-age.

Last year when I had my exhibition at the Baltic, the assistant director called the police and said there's a piece, here that you might not like. The image was of two little sisters belly-dancing. They decided to belly dance for me, I didn't set anything up. They were acting completely naturally. Afterwards I got a letter from the parents of the girls I photographed to tell me how much they had enjoyed the images.

But even respected publishers are now afraid of using that image in a book of my work because they think it could prevent its US distribution.

Art can't and shouldn't be regulated by the state. Politicians have nothing whatsoever to do with art or artists except to become anonymous collectors if they choose.

Nan Goldin, 54, is an American fine art and documentary photographer based in Paris

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher, full time supply role, Isle of Sheppey

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job: Our client school is lo...

ICT Teacher, full time supply role, Isle of Sheppey

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job: Our client school is lo...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
In this handout provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida in space. The robotic arm of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2 is seen at upper right. According to reports, Arthur has begun moving steadily northward at around 5 kt. and the tropical storm is expected to strike the North Carolina Outer Banks  

Thanks to government investment, commercial space travel is becoming a reality

Richard Branson
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week