I Turned Myself Into A Butt Naked Adult Baby

Let me paint you a lovely little picture. A ginger man, in his mid 20’s. It’s a photograph posted on an Instagram page. He is completely naked. The image is cropped somewhere between the shaft and the pubic bone. No graphic nudity is displayed. Those pesky nipples are on display but they are male nipples so they are a-ok.

Is It Art… Or Is It Porn?

Nestled neatly in the crook of his arm, is a smaller version of himself. Still nude. Curled up like a baby. Suckling at his own breast, you can see his pert buttocks.

I created this composite photograph as a bit of a giggle to post on Mother’s Day one year. It was well received on social media, it was shared multiple times and was one of my most commented/liked images I had ever posted.

Adult baby
Image: JJ Maher

“You have been banned for 48 hours and your profile is under review. If at the end of the 48 hour period your profile still contains images that are not fitting with the guidelines of [social media website redacted] your account will be terminated. There will be no correspondence entered into.”

“How rude” I thought to myself. I worked damn hard on that image. I thought it was a bit of a joke. It didn’t contain anything the breached the guidelines of the website. It was on the edge but I made sure not to go over.

Alas, this particular image was simply too obscene. In the years of posting nearly naked women and men I had luckily never tripped into the domain of having images reported or taken down. I had finally found the line in the sand.

It cost me exactly $250.00 to find out that the law in Australia is barely comprehensible when it comes to the creation of pornographic material. I consulted with a lawyer only to be told we don’t really know.

It turns out, you need to submit every image/video/publication to the Australian Classifications board at your own expense. Wherupon it would be reviewed and rated. Australia does not have an X rating. An R18+ rating will greatly hinder your ability to legally display/advertise your work anywhere online.

Hence I have never sold, marketed, distributed any of my artistic works beyond private, 1 on 1 client basis where the individual in the photographs is the one purchasing them.

I have been creating art for a decade and I have never sold a single piece.

… well not in the traditional sense.

So does that mean what I do must be pornography?

I don’t depict graphic sexual acts, I rarely if ever see genitalia in my work, and even then it is never represented in a graphically detailed depiction. I have always used shadows and angles to protect my subject’s decency and yet I am gun shy to begin selling my work on a larger scale.

Why?

You see, the media particularly loves to tear photographers to pieces. Is there a new scam, a new scandal? Sure all the time, is the person a lecherous, filthy and perverted person who owns a camera? Yes?

Then they will be portrayed as a leading industry professional and as a representative of the field as a whole. Maybe I am just biased to noticing these articles in the media because I am in this industry but I have always had the “avoid the witch hunt” mentality.

So is it porn?

If you search the term “porn” on google. You will see definitely examples of porn. I myself was quite shocked when I found out last week that there was hardcore depictions of sexual acts freely available on the internet. It was definitely much further past the line than my own work but does that move the line or simply mean that there are extreme versions of everything freely available and adults can choose themselves where they draw the line?

I myself simply drew the line at penetration. If nothing goes into anything else, then it simply must not be porn.

(This was the best legal advice I could get.)

Ok, so is it Art?

I used the example image I discussed at the start because of a few key features. It is a work of digital composition utilising a high end DSLR camera, expensive studio lighting equipment and expensive editing software.

I used years of experience operating all of this equipment, along with knowledge of artistic styles – borrowing from Rembrandt for the light positioning to create an unusual image.

So, there was an artistic vision and an artistic execution, the piece was intended to invoke a response from its audience.

I had followed the rules in creating a work of art.

I had followed the rules and guidelines set by the medium I wished to distribute this work of art, freely to the common man.

I was judged harshly by the heavy hammer of justice.

So… Is it art, or is it porn?

I guess it’s both. Personally, I don’t think it’s either.

Author: JJ Maher is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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