Is child nudity in art ever pornographic?


Professor David Isaacs, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. Fax: +612 9845 3421; email:


In 2008, police raided an art gallery in Sydney just prior to the opening of an exhibition of photographs by the famous Australian artist and photographer Bill Henson. The images depicted naked 12- and 13-year-old children. The photographs were seized, although later released and Henson was never prosecuted. This prompted vigorous debate about censorship. In this article, a paediatrician and a Fine Arts Honours graduate argue that censorship laws regarding the depiction of children in art are needed but only to protect children from exploitation, not to protect the public from being corrupted by viewing pornographic material.