Sunday, February 7, 2016


Many readers of The Leica Barnack Berek Blog are aware of its presence on Facebook (here) .   I regularly post links to the articles on Facebook as well.  Unfortunately, this is not without restrictions.  Facebook’s approach to nude art is, to say the least, archaic.  My presence there, and along with it the presence of the LEICA Barnack Berek Blog was recently threatened with being banned if any nude art would be shown in the future.  Subsequently I have refrained from that and only shown altered images that comply with Facebook’s rules.  That should by no means be misconstrued as agreement with those rules.

                                                     Original                                                 Facebook sanitized version

Historically, the human form has fascinated artists probably more than any other subject. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the same fascination has extended to photography as well.

While photography has generally been accepted as a valid art form, photography of the nude to this day is struggling with that recognition.  People are very quick to point to nude images being harmful to children, but then fail to come up with a valid answer.
I definitely reject the assertion that any of the images published on this blog are potentially harmful to children. We are talking about the human form here, not some pornographic distortion of it. Why is it that photography is always handled differently in this regard than other forms of art. Is anybody requesting museums to post warning signs for their exhibit’s that show images or statues depicting the human form? Are such sculptures in public places required to do the same? I am a member of MIA, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I regularly see groups of school children visit the place, as a matter of fact, they regularly have a special children’s day. There are no restrictions as to which areas of the museum are open to the children, including the photography exhibits. Apparently there is no potential harm to children in a museum or in public places, yet nude photographic art is still widely rejected.  Why?


Are these images objectionable?
Should they be banned from Facebook?

I have never been able to get any satisfactory answers if these rules by Facebook extend to other forms of art as well.  Is it permissible to show a picture of Michelangelo’s David, or of the Venus de Milo?


Objectionable images?

From a recent Matisse exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of art.

I must emphasize that the key word here is art.  Many of the great photographers have produced fine art nudes like Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Helmut Newton…, just to mention a few.  Of course, just as with other art forms, some like Robert Mapplethorpe or Jeff Koonz, for instance, have pushed the envelope by producing images that are questionable to some, but such work should not be generalized and held against other serious photographers.

How much out of touch Facebook's policies are
is further underlined by the fact that the above mutilation
of the original Venus de Milo is perfectly acceptable.

As it stands right now, I could not write an article about any of the above mentioned artists and show any of their nude art on Facebook.  Their unilateral rejection of nude art is disturbing, not only to me but to many other members of Facebook as well.


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  1. Thank you enthusiastically for your no-nonsense argument - I couldn't agree more!!

  2. once I studied the "pathologia sexualis" by Krafft Ebbing. Such an attitude is a good example for a puritane Psychopathology

  3. I am glad you wrote this article. You expressed rather eloquently what I have been thinking for quite a while already.

  4. This has been discussed in the past, and I don't recall any comments that were in favor of Facebook. I guess they rather cater to the puritanical dimwits among their members than to display an attitude that fits into the 21st century.

  5. I certainly see nothing objectionable on this blog. It seems that some people have difficulties to distinguish between art and porn. Must be the result of living in a rather puritan society. As far as depicting nudity in public, places like the Sistine Chapel and just about any rococo church should be added to the discussion also because based on Facebook rules, it cannot be shown because it depicts nudity.

  6. There is a long list of examples. For instance, Lady Justice is often depicted nude or with her breasts exposed. This has been done for centuries. For example, Lucas Cranach the Elder created a painting called "Gerechtigkeit als nackte Frau mit Schwert und Waage" (Justice as a naked Woman with Sword and Scales). It is displayed in a museum in Amsterdam. To my knowledge, nobody has ever been harmed by viewing this piece of art.

  7. Strange rules indeed. its a pity FB doesnt hold the same "high standards" when it comes to publishing "trending" comments from internet trolls claiming to have political or ethical insight fueled by talk radio and cable news! They are disgusting, full of hatred and intolerance! Instead they come down on man's eternal obsession with light and the human form. I wonder what zuckerberg and his hooded sweatshirt brigade thinks of Courbet's L'Origine du monde?

    1. I totally agree. I find it disturbing that pictures and videos depicting violence are totally uncontrolled by Facebook as well. I wonder which is more harmful to kids?

  8. Answer is to stop posting to Facebook... Indeed, stop using it altogether, I have managed to get by without it and Twitter.

    Mr. Jobs was afflicted with similar puritan mores too if I remember correctly.

    RSS rules.