Friday, October 22, 2010

Controversy regarding Peter Coulson image

To our friends/fans/followers and the masses, those who love/like us and those who don't.


Please take the time to read what I have to say and feel free to comment as Eva said, I invite the discussion.

This image/flyer was prepared in Melbourne by C.R.Kennedy the importers of Hasselblad and Bowens, who we have done business with for over forty years, (myself personally for 16 years). Peter Coulson had 4 images that won him the title of Canon AIPP Photographer of the year 2010.

There has been 4 invites prepared to go out four times and this was the first. The image chosen to be the first one going out was chosen by the head of CRK's advertising dept who is a woman, and has been with CRK for over 20 years and is a respected member of the CRK team.

Further background I would like people to know, is that this was a paid commercial job by comany Raven shoes, which they loved and used in their business. There is a further story about the image and even a shot with a profile of a woman with head in toilet (throwing up) after a long day at the races and naked but still in her fancy shoes. This image and other images of Peter's were in a four page story in the current issue of Prophoto magazine (www.avhub.com.au). I have the story in pdf if anyone wishes to read it and I am more than happy to send it to them if they email or call me.

None of this excuses the fact that we should have thought - "will this image offend anyone?" before sending it out. We had a flyer prepared by one of our suppliers, they asked us to forward it on and we did so. To protect our client base from receiving unwanted emails, we put our address on as the RSVP instead of CRK so it stayed with us.

The truth is this is a CRK event which we are proud to support as CRK have been supporting the Australian photographic indusrty for over forty years. Both CE and CRK sponsor many photographic events/workshops. Also this is a FREE event that only requires a RSVP (no entry without).

Please understand that there is often more behind an image than shown. Art directors, the company that commissions the work all play a part in the completion of an image.

Camera Electronic are not here to censor anyone's work and the fact that AIPP awarded this imagery is for them to comment and I will be asking them to do so, sometimes you have to give people the chance to comment rather than immediatley comment on how this is another good reason to avoid them.

I would like to apologise for any offence that may have occurred from the recent flyer/invite on our social media. We appreciate this image may have touched on some sensitivities. At times we can also be de-sensitized to images as there are so many we see every day, so please understand that we will continue to support this event as we see it to be beneficial to the photographic industry however recognizing the concerns that some have with the previous flyer we have removed it and will re-post another image supporting this event.

Saul.

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19 Comments:

Blogger Kingsley said...

Saul and CRK

I do not take offence at the image. See you at the event.

Kingsley

October 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many were offended. Here's just a few of the comments regarding the image used: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=440996195935&set=a.425879135935.205813.590075935

October 22, 2010 at 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a difference between censorship and simply poor taste. I am sure most can easily see that having the three associations of a woman together with alcohol in a compromised position won't end well. If it was selling alcohol rather than shoes it wouldn't get past any censor.

October 22, 2010 at 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Erica said...

I am not at all offended by the image. I quite like it actually!

October 22, 2010 at 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erica...Serena? Past WA AIPP President by any chance?

October 22, 2010 at 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Jennie Nayton said...

Hi Saul,

I am glad you wrote this - there has been quite a fair bit of talk on Facebook about it. I must say that without knowing the background of the image it looks like sexual violance and degradation. I can understand why you forwarded it but I think CRK should have thought a bit more carefully about it first, I also have to wonder about it gaining any awards - to me this sort of imagery is a throwback to the 80's and I would rather our culture as a whole did not display images of women this way.

cheers Jennie

October 22, 2010 at 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Jennie, i agree. You mention that you wonder how the image gained any awards...this particular image actually contributed to Peter Coulson winning the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) 2010 Professional Photographer of the year. By the AIPP not only supporting but awarding such an image has just confirmed the views of many professional photographers who refuse to become members of such an institute.

October 22, 2010 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this justification is a little....or a lot in fact, sketchy. You seem to think that because many large companies support this type of representation that there is then justification.

It is quite sad to see that there are also women who do not take offence to this type of representation. Indeed society has become 'desensitised' or indoctrinated to accept that it is ok to represent women in this degrading and derogatory positions.

It saddens me as an educator who is constantly trying to instil morality and respect into my male and female photography students when photographing people, when other large institutions support this kind of negative sexual objectification and degradation of women.

Advertising has a responsibility which is very serious, it informs society of the way in which it is appropriate to behave. If this is what our children are seeing in the media I am very concerned for the next generation.

It seems problematic to me on so many levels which astounds me others do not take offence to.

1. The woman is faceless and without an identity. A sexualised object.
2. She is naked and in a vulnerable position with her behind in the air, basically taken from behind by whoever wishes to approach.
3. She is obviously intoxicated and oblivious to her situation therefore not able to give consent. Have we not seen and heard enough about date rape and women being drugged and taken advantage of in this manner.
4. She is in high heals but nothing else, a very simplistic and basic technique of the porn industry, here used for consumerism.
5. There is a glass of wine involved, implying that she is in this position due to intoxication.

I think that this photographer must truly be misogynistic as I have leant more recently he also has images of dismembered women in quite sexual poses. Freud had a name for this condition but I am not a psychologist so I won't diagnose.

I for one will never ever find anything interesting or appealing about Raven shoes, it seems in fact, that they are trying to sell shoes to perverted men with erectile problems.

October 22, 2010 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Betty Friedan said...

Bravo Saul for opening up this discussion. A long awaited conversation that needs to be addressed.

How about an open forum inviting academics and members from AIPP?

October 22, 2010 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE PATRIARCHAL DOMINATION OF WOMEN'S BODIES THROUGH ADVERTISING

October 22, 2010 at 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote this the other night before the blog was taken down. I appreciate the guts of CE putting the blog back up and instead opening it to discussion. Bravo for that at least:

---

Yep this is a fair call. Whats with PRA and now Camera Electronic buying into these bullshit images to sell tickets to their events? There wont be a 'professional' photographer in attendance, just a pile of dodgy camera club old men if this is the image used to sell.

Let me give a frank male perspective. Is she fuckable? Indeed. Does the image belong on a poster to be used to advertise how a professional photographer works? I don't think so. No more than Bill Henson should have represented his last major exhibit with a nude provocative underage girl which had little to do with other images in the series.

Maybe the image had some place within the context of other images in the series? Who knows. In this case though its a deliberate act of trying to be edgy and failing badly. Its only made worse by the smug grin of a stereo typical advertising photographer I have never heard of and who no one will remember given another ten years. Poor choice guys and god you are going to cop it sweet from the public for this one! 5 bucks says the blog is not up and running by tomorrow morning.

----

Its an interesting topic. See, I don't find the image degrading and I think its unfair for some people to push their own sense of morality onto others. Hell, I find the image a turn on! Would I be just as happy to see a man in that pose. Yes for sure! Or tied up, or dominated by a woman or anything else because I like fetish. That does not make me sick or twisted or derogative towards women. Thats does ridiculous and insulting.

But as I said in the previous post...Well, Camera Electronics are using the images OUT of its original context and suddenly it does become just another sex selling event. If the image ever had any integrity by using it as a poster you have sterilised its power. Its like someone doing an advertising jingle of a famous once beautiful song. Its been sold out. You get my drift, or maybe some of you dont.

October 22, 2010 at 11:43 PM  
Anonymous Robert Sastre said...

Sexual Objectification of Women 101

Academic scholars say that the objectification of women involves the act of disregarding the personal and intellectual abilities and capabilities of a female; and reducing a woman's worth or role in society to that of an instrument for the sexual pleasure that she can produce in the mind of another.

Although opinions differ as to which situations are objectionable, some academics see objectification of women taking place in the sexually oriented depictions of women in advertising and media, women being portrayed as weak or submissive through pornography, images in more mainstream media such as advertising and art, stripping and prostitution, men brazenly evaluating or judging women sexually or aesthetically in public spaces, and the presumed need for cosmetic surgery, particularly breast enlargement and labiaplasty.

Scholars argue that women have historically been valued mainly for their physical attributes. Some feminists and psychologists argue that such objectification can lead to negative psychological effects including depression and hopelessness, and can give women negative self-images because of the belief that their intelligence and competence are currently not being, or will never be, acknowledged by society.

The precise degree to how objectification has affected women and society in general is a topic of academic debate. Such claims include: girls' understanding of the importance of appearance in society may contribute to feelings of fear, shame, and disgust that some experience during the transition from girlhood to womanhood because they sense that they are becoming more visible to society as sexual objects; and that young women are especially susceptible to objectification, as they are often taught that power, respect, and wealth can be derived from one's outward appearance.

Pro-feminist cultural critics such as Robert Jensen and Sut Jhally accuse mass media and advertising of promoting the objectification of women to help promote goods and services and indeed shoes!

Is this too complex for this type of forum? I agree with a previous post, how about arranging a seminar on this topic?

October 23, 2010 at 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Giselle said...

Wow.. what a bunch of completely closed minded individuals.

You'd think that in such a visual and artistic medium such as photography we would be instantly attuned to the weird and wonderful. Considering it is a form of artistic expression and we live in a society where we supposedly have freedom of speech.

I'm a female and I am not in the slightest bit offended by the image. Quite the opposite, I find the execution very clever, tied together by colour, lighting and the alluring placement of the female form.

I also find it really hilarious how people are proceeding to call it a 'boring' image.. if it bores you so.. why do they take so much time to comment and ridicule it?

Lighten the fuck up people seriously.

btw The fact that it's caused so much controversy between a typical backwards perth community (what a surprise) just shows that it's done it's job ;) Well done!

October 23, 2010 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is this too complex for this type of forum? I agree with a previous post, how about arranging a seminar on this topic???"

I dont know about it being to complex but it looks like feminist diatribe cut and paste from a 1980's text book which is boring and passé. Come on, do you really think that this is how women see themselves? Have you been out to a cafe or a hip bar or nightclub or have you been living in a self repressed cupboard for the last decade? You are so out of touch about how many women approach the world and their own sexuality which is just proven by the last female post.

(From the guy that made the post talking about Henson) Lets call me Edward.

October 23, 2010 at 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Giselle said...

Btw Thank you Camera Electronic for this different and inspiring event. I've been following Peter's work for a few years now and was very happy that AIPP picked someone with such artistic vision.

Good to see not another long exposured landscape or nature photographer down, I sincerely thank you!

October 23, 2010 at 10:35 AM  
Anonymous robert sastre said...

this is image is certainly not different or inspiring..this type of crap has been going on since representation was possible, as far as artistic vision...why is this not in an art gallery?

Instead it is acknowledged by the AIPP, another high end boys camera club who makes huge amounts of money from peoples' need to have their egos amongst other things stroked. How much is membership?? and that folio you HAVE to buy to present your work??

I have indeed been out to bars, cafes and nightclubs. Sadly the image in question is in fact referencing an actual event. The races where women have been seen behaving this way.

October 23, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giselle, I am not typical of the (perth?) Perth community or indeed typical of any Australian community as I was not born here and have an international past, that you could not even be able to imagine.

I am certainly not using my freedom of speech to insult your "backwards perth community" as you put it, because I think there is very reasonable criticism about this particular photograph by most intelligent and well known people of today, people who happen to be in Perth at this time or live here and most of them are artists, thinkers and intellectuals in many fields.

Personally I find the photo in question objectionable in more than one sense and having seen the rest of the work from this man, I strongly dislike everything about it(here using my freedom of speech)and will not ever assist any of his seminars, exhibitions or anything else where he is represented.

But as you are a free agent, you can admire, pose or make a cup of tea for Mr Coulson, because the rest of the world does not really care what you do or what you think.

October 23, 2010 at 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Peggy said...

Some may admire the photo for its cleverness or technical expertise,or its sheer attention-grabbing or money-making ability. I despise it for its degrading and exploitative use of a woman's body to sell a product. I often feel despairing that my granddaughters are growing up bombarded by these kinds of images. You can use the old excuse of freedom of expression, but the photographer/artist needs to be mature enough to balance that with responsibility to the community in which she/he lives, surely.

October 24, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Ernest said...

To : Anonymous.
Don't you hate that Advertising where a. mother prepares a healthy lunch
for her daughter? Just to sell it to the public? It portrays that she belongs in the kitchen. Right?
Do you see evil where ever you go? I will tell you what people hate most...
People hate opinionated individuals who hide behind a
"Anonymous" cover .
No need to rubbish someones work. And you are not the moral police here.
If you like it say so, if you don't, don't look at it.
The judges at the AIPP had the last word.

October 25, 2010 at 7:42 AM  

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Controversy regarding Peter Coulson image

To our friends/fans/followers and the masses, those who love/like us and those who don't.


Please take the time to read what I have to say and feel free to comment as Eva said, I invite the discussion.

This image/flyer was prepared in Melbourne by C.R.Kennedy the importers of Hasselblad and Bowens, who we have done business with for over forty years, (myself personally for 16 years). Peter Coulson had 4 images that won him the title of Canon AIPP Photographer of the year 2010.

There has been 4 invites prepared to go out four times and this was the first. The image chosen to be the first one going out was chosen by the head of CRK's advertising dept who is a woman, and has been with CRK for over 20 years and is a respected member of the CRK team.

Further background I would like people to know, is that this was a paid commercial job by comany Raven shoes, which they loved and used in their business. There is a further story about the image and even a shot with a profile of a woman with head in toilet (throwing up) after a long day at the races and naked but still in her fancy shoes. This image and other images of Peter's were in a four page story in the current issue of Prophoto magazine (www.avhub.com.au). I have the story in pdf if anyone wishes to read it and I am more than happy to send it to them if they email or call me.

None of this excuses the fact that we should have thought - "will this image offend anyone?" before sending it out. We had a flyer prepared by one of our suppliers, they asked us to forward it on and we did so. To protect our client base from receiving unwanted emails, we put our address on as the RSVP instead of CRK so it stayed with us.

The truth is this is a CRK event which we are proud to support as CRK have been supporting the Australian photographic indusrty for over forty years. Both CE and CRK sponsor many photographic events/workshops. Also this is a FREE event that only requires a RSVP (no entry without).

Please understand that there is often more behind an image than shown. Art directors, the company that commissions the work all play a part in the completion of an image.

Camera Electronic are not here to censor anyone's work and the fact that AIPP awarded this imagery is for them to comment and I will be asking them to do so, sometimes you have to give people the chance to comment rather than immediatley comment on how this is another good reason to avoid them.

I would like to apologise for any offence that may have occurred from the recent flyer/invite on our social media. We appreciate this image may have touched on some sensitivities. At times we can also be de-sensitized to images as there are so many we see every day, so please understand that we will continue to support this event as we see it to be beneficial to the photographic industry however recognizing the concerns that some have with the previous flyer we have removed it and will re-post another image supporting this event.

Saul.

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