Australian police shut naked child photo exhibit

Thu May 22, 2008 10:04pm EDT
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By Michael Perry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A photographic exhibition in Sydney of naked 12 and 13-year-old children, closed by police only hours before its opening night, has sparked a heated debate over whether adolescent nudity is art or pornography.

Police on Thursday night closed the exhibition by Australian photographer Bill Henson which features photographs of naked children, saying they were investigating its legality.

The show includes large photographic prints of topless girls.

"I think they're revolting. Kids deserve to have the innocence of their childhood protected," Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told local television on Friday.

"I have a very deep view of this. For God sake let's just allow kids to be kids, whatever the artistic view or the merits of that sort of stuff. Frankly I don't think there are any."

Child protection advocate Hetty Johnston said the photographer and exhibitor should both be prosecuted.

"You can call it anything you want, but at the end of the day, these are images of naked adolescents," Johnston said.

"We all have a responsibility to look after children. Putting naked photos up there on public display in a gallery ... and even on the internet is just totally betraying our duty of care to children," Johnston said.   Continued...

<p>Australian policemen load photographs onto a police truck after removing them from a gallery in Sydney May 23, 2008. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz</p>