The term “Lolita” was first coined as the title and character in the 1958 novel by Vladimir Nabokov, centering around a precocious schoolgirl subsequently seduced by an older man.  The novel was controversial for its time, but perhaps not nearly as much today.  Unfortunately, in the age of online porn and instant gratification digital photography, the term has been used to identify/label young children as young as toddlers, exhibited to groups of adults who are sexually gratified by such imagery.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 85mm F1.2L USM  @F1.4  1/500th  ISO 400

 

 

I struggled with the title so don’t summarily condemn me.  The title means “severe criticism of the Lolita subject in general.”  I chose this subject this week after reading several more news reports about local photographers being arrested and charged for photographing children in public places such as city parks, beaches, and playgrounds.  Real issues we as photographers face.

 

The term “Lolita” was first coined as the title and character in the 1958 novel by Vladimir Nabokov, centering around a precocious schoolgirl subsequently seduced by an older man.  The novel was controversial for its time, but perhaps not nearly as much today.  Unfortunately, in the age of online porn and instant gratification digital photography, the term has been used to identify/label young children as young as toddlers, exhibited to groups of adults who are sexually gratified by such imagery.

 

The ease with which such images are captured is stunning, but as photographers I don’t need to tell you that.  However, it’s this ease which is allowing such disgusting websites to fill their galleries with unsuspecting and defenseless children.  And the parents are outraged!  I am too as I’m sure you are.

 

 

Photographs as innocent as school pictures are often lusted over on such websites.  Images we’d normally make copies of and proudly share with friends and relatives.  But now they’re being used at the lowest order and as parents we’re angry!

 

Canon 1ds Mark II, 135mm F2L USM  @F2.8  1/5000th  ISO 200

 

Photographs as innocent as school pictures are often lusted over on such websites.  Images we’d normally make copies of and proudly share with friends and relatives.  But now they’re being used at the lowest order and as parents we’re angry!

 

So lo and behold ANY photographer, especially with an expensive and capable looking camera, anywhere near our children.  We no longer assume the images will be used for the innocent reasons of the past, we now KNOW they’ll be viewed by some disgusting hairy old man while masturbating.  Yet, obviously, we really don’t know that at all.  We’ve just been conditioned to think these things through the reading of news stories both on television and on the internet.  My guess is it’s a form of social engineering by concerned entities designed to encourage us to better safeguard our children.

 

I’d also guess such assumptions would be wrong the great majority of the time.  Still, we don’t want to even think about that one time we’d be right.  It’s this sort of subject.

 

 

It used to be a photographer would go to a public place where children are known to be present, and practice their photography skills while making nice pictures.  After all, young children do make very pleasing photographs.  However, these days you’re likely to be arrested or at least questioned while doing so.  Many public areas have signs posted saying “NO PHOTOGRAPHY” which is most often ignored for parents with cameras while being enforced by scary guys with big cameras.

Nikon D100, 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S VR  @F5.6  1/50th  80mm  ISO 200

 

 

It used to be a photographer would go to a public place where children are known to be present, and practice their photography skills while making nice pictures.  After all, young children do make very pleasing photographs.  However, these days you’re likely to be arrested or at least questioned while doing so.   Many public areas have signs posted saying “NO PHOTOGRAPHY” which is most often ignored for parents with cameras while being enforced for scary guys with big cameras. 

 

The problem with this logic is the pedophiliac creeps who are into Lolita often have children, or are teachers, or priests, or sports coaches.  Because of their Lolita preoccupation and pedophilia tendencies they’ve worked their way into such positions.  Since I’ve been guessing already, I’d guess Lolita pictures are much more often captured by such people than your professional or enthusiast photographer.

 

What can we as photographers do about it?  A number of things.  I think a positive appearance, a clean neat appearance appropriate for the venue, is the biggest thing you can do.  Second, try to be in the company of a female assistant or family member.  Third, don’t act creepy.  Smile, be outgoing and introduce yourself and have your cards ready to hand out.  Tell the parents you’ll be posting your pictures on your website and if they see one they like they can email you.  The card with your information is empowering to parents, and will go a long way towards making them feel comfortable with you.  Fourth, have a good reason for being there.  Maybe your child is also at play, maybe you’re testing a new lens or technique, but have a plausible reason.

 

 

In this day and age none of the above is a guarantee, I can only tell you it works for me.  Sometimes I’m hired to capture children at play, or to make photographs of them in the park.  It helps if the parents are working with me and people can see this, but sometimes the parents want candid’s of them playing with their children so your relationship with the parents isn’t apparent.  Fine, you might be approached and questioned or even insulted in a backhand sort of way.  NEVER get angry.  Just smile, approach the person in doubt, and introduce yourself while providing your card.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS USM  @F2.8  1/500th  ISO 400 (Captured by student during workshop)

 

 

In this day and age none of the above is a guarantee, I can only tell you it works for me.  Sometimes I’m hired to capture children at play, or to make photographs of them in the park.  It helps if the parents are working with me and people can see this, but sometimes the parents want candid’s of them playing with their children so your relationship with the parents isn’t apparent.  Fine, you might be approached and questioned or even insulted in a backhand sort of way.  NEVER get angry.  Just smile, approach the person in doubt, and introduce yourself while providing your card.

 

I wish I could tell you things will get better, but I think they’ll only get worse.  I fear we risk arrest and even physical confrontation in the worst circumstances.  Which is why I think we all need to follow the above steps, or whatever steps we feel will help, and help photographers take our reputations back.  If you suspect another photographer is a creep, and as photographers you’ll recognize creeps more accurately, then speak up and question the person.  Call the authorities if you’re convinced.  We need to do all we can to protect our children, and our reputations.

 

Until next time..

 

 

I wish I could tell you things will get better, but I think they’ll only get worse.  I fear we risk arrest and even physical confrontation in the worst circumstances.  Which is why I think we all need to follow the above steps, or whatever steps we feel will help, and help photographers take our reputations back.  If you suspect another photographer is a creep, and as photographers you’ll recognize creeps more accurately, then speak up and question the person.  Call the authorities if you’re convinced.  We need to do all we can to protect our children, and our reputations.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 85mm F1.2L USM  @F2  1/250th  ISO 400