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Old Feb 23, 2005, 5:50 PM   #1
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I was just wondering, if it is illegal in the US to take photos of people under the age of 18 in the nude, why do I often times see photos of infants in the nude? What are the laws involving nude photography?
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 6:05 PM   #2
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This is probably not the place to be asking this question. I doubt if we have too many qualified law professionals present. Also, the laws may be different from state to state.

I suggest you contact legal counsil in the state where you are planning such photography and learn what the laws are.


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Old Feb 23, 2005, 6:17 PM   #3
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Good Point.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 6:40 PM   #4
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johncudd wrote:
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...illegal in the US to take photos of people under the age of 18 in the nude, why do I often times see photos of infants in the nude?...
I don't think that an nude infant (i.e. baby that was just born) is the same a a nude 12-13 year old.
That's just my opinion.

Brad

P.S. This is also just my opinion, but takeing pictures of nude CHILDREN under 18 seems a little perverted, or pornographific. I hope I am wrong, and that this is not beyond art.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 8:34 PM   #5
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Don't get me wrong here, I am not considering photographing anyone nude. I was reading Newsweek today and I saw that the front cover had an infant on it, and that is what sparked the question. I completely agree with you brad. The question was just really a debate type question.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 8:38 PM   #6
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I'm not a lawyer, but if you are thinking of shooting any kids other than your own, you are likely asking for trouble. And even if they are your own kids, if you show the photos to *ANYONE*, you are asking for trouble.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/ma...stew-m20.shtml
http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...l/1/index.html

And on the other hand:
http://p066.ezboard.com/fjaedasfinea...picID=11.topic
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Old Feb 24, 2005, 7:08 AM   #7
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I believe the legality basically comes under the extremely vague definition of whether or not the image is "pornographic", which unfortunately as you can see from the posts above is so open to personal opinion that the most innocent of pictures could get you in trouble.
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Old Feb 24, 2005, 8:24 AM   #8
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Although I know a little bit about this area (studying sex crimes and the First Amendment in law school and for my job) I just want to reiterate that this is not legal advice and if you have specific questions, contact a lawyer in the state or territory in which you live.

With that, taking photos of nude children is not generally in and of itself illegal. In fact, many "art" photographers have had to fight very hard for their nude, but nonsexual, work. What makes child porn porn is the patent display of the child's sex organs or the child engaging in sexually expllicit acts. For example, 18 U.S.C. 2252 prohibits anyone from transporting in interstate commerce (the "jurisdictional nexus" to make this a federal crime) a visual depiction that "involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct." See also New York v. Ferber 458 U.S. 747, 764, 102 S.Ct. 3348, 3358, 73 L.Ed.2d 1113 (1982) (defining child pornography as "limited to works that visually depict sexual conduct by children").

Of course, these definitions may or may not affect other types of scenarios (for example, dad takes nude, but nonsexual, pictures of his daughter and publishes them, mom, who is divorced from dad, requests court to modify custody order because what dad is doing is harmful to child and not in child's best interest... etc) and the line of whather a picture may or may not include sexual conductmay be a very close one. But I hope this at least answers the question in a general sense of why bathing babies pictures are OK while early Traci Lords videos are not.


Edit: As the links provided by BillDrew note, just because the statutes define the activity in a particular way does not mean that prosecutors won't try to prosecute it (or that overanxious film processing employees won't unnecessarily turn you in).


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Old Feb 24, 2005, 8:38 PM   #9
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perdendosi wrote:
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... just because the statutes define the activity in a particular way does not mean that prosecutors won't try to prosecute it ...
Likely it won't get to prosecution. The first thing that is likely to happen, and happen real quick, is that your kids will be taken away. Or if you have taken photos of other people's kids, those folks will receive a visit from some very serious officials asking a whole bunch of questions. Once someone has raised the flag of possible child pornography, unless it is clear to a one-eyed wombat that the photo is art or a happy-snap, the bureaucracy will be in action.

Prosecution and jail may be the worse that can happen, but I wouldn't want to deal with all the things that can happen that are less than that.
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