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Mandatory reading for ALL Photographers
Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 12:12 PM on 12.01.06
->> Though I am not sure if this guy is guilty or not, but it looks like the government is going to make and example of him. We all could be caught in the some time of the other .Take a look at the article :
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 12:40 PM on 12.01.06
->> I'm going to jail. Here's the photo to prove it:

The kid on the right has a sneaky grin on his face. If the right prosecutor gets the wrong idea about that mischevious look, I am ruined forever.

You are right, Marvin. We probably all have a photo or two like this that could be "Exhibit A" at our trial. Between this and the recent case of shadow = cleavage from a previous thread, maybe we should all raise our prices for photos involving children in order to offset the increased potential for being PROSECUTED. Hospitals have been rasing their rates to offset the rising costs of litigation, and people still go to the doctor. Maybe we should follow thier lead and let our clients bear the increased cost associated with the risk.
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George F. Lee, Photo Editor, Photographer
Honolulu | HI | USA | Posted: 1:23 PM on 12.01.06
->> What can I say? The Amerikkan (yes, with a "k") Taliban ARE here. Cheerleaders in burkha's, children hidden away...........

See you all at prayer time.

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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Fashion Heights | OH | USA | Posted: 1:36 PM on 12.01.06
->> What's an "unlawfully racy pose". I mean, I can assume what one would be but when did body contortions/configurations become unlawful?

Whatever the case may be; I'm no longer photographing batters adjusting themselves.
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Marie Hughes, Photographer
Fremont | CA | USA | Posted: 1:39 PM on 12.01.06
->> I'd be more worried about shots of kids in youth sports that show the crotch. This is inevitable in the sports I shoot and since that article says:

"Until a 1994 case called U.S. v. Knox, judges interpreted that language to mean either images of nude minors or of minors having sex. In that case, however, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended that definition to include videotapes of girls in leotards, and upheld Stephen Knox's conviction on child pornography charges."

That means if I want to be safe, I need to go through hundreds thousands of shots of gymnasts on my site and make sure none are suggestive. (The photographers are supposed to chimp those out but there isn't always time.)

I actually have had problems with a suspected pedophile who hangs around my booth at skating competitions and looks at all the photos of the teenage girls and lingers on all the suggestive ones. Because he's doing it in public, I know about him (and at one point talked to the police about him) but I have no idea how many of his clones are using my web site (and others like it) to get their jollies.

Does this mean we're going to eventually be prosecuted because our web sites will be considered a "magnet" for pedophiles?
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 1:42 PM on 12.01.06
->> I don't have enough information to have on opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Pierson or even if he deserves to be charged, but I think the C/Net article is really jumping the gun at claiming that this issue is something "new" and may perhaps redefine child porn laws. The article states "In a federal indictment announced this week, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Pierson, 43, of being a child pornographer--even though even prosecutors acknowledge there's no evidence he has ever taken a single photograph of an unclothed minor." But if you actually read the NYT article that's linked to in the C/Net scare piece (a good article, at that: ) you'll see that clothing has not been a defense against kiddie porn charges since 1994. The C/Net author doesn't really explain how this case is really all that "new". Go read the IHT/NYT story if you want ALL of the details on this issue, and not just the "Sky is Falling" hype.
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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 1:47 PM on 12.01.06
->> No more photographing under aged cheerleaders performing their flying splits or high leg kicks, girl gymnasts, or figure skaters wearing "oh those short skirts" striking "unlawfully racy poses"!

Thomas, men adjusting themselves isn't part of the law suit. Grin.

I think the DOJ's prosecutors needs to explain what they are thinking?
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 1:54 PM on 12.01.06
->> "Does this mean we're going to eventually be prosecuted because our web sites will be considered a 'magnet' for pedophiles?"

Marie, if you look at the NYT article I mentioned, the "Dost" and "Knox" standards would look at how you market and position the images and not simply if pedophiles would like them. If you're not advertising the photos with sexual overtones like some mentioned in the NYT article then you should be in the clear.
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Bill Miller, Photographer
Thousand Palms | CA | USA | Posted: 2:38 PM on 12.01.06
->> Here is another article from MSNBC.
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 2:44 PM on 12.01.06
->> OK, for those are afraid that the DOJ minions of McChimpy Haliburton Bushitler are gonna bust your door down for a couple photos of a cheerleader or an under-18 female swimmer on your web site, you might find some of these details of the allegations will help keep the ghost of John Ashcroft out of your anxiety closet. Funny how the C/Net article didn't bother to mention the level of supposed envolvement that Pierson had with the other's indicted and gave the impression that we're talking about a few photos.

"The Indictment alleges that from December 2002 through April 2005, Greenberg, Libman, and Webe Web, conspired with Pierson to use minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that conduct. Specifically it is charged that Greenberg and Libman established a purported “child modeling” website business under the name Webe Web Corporation (Webe Web). The business operated using three primary internet websites: a central website, an advertising website, and websites for each individual child “model.”

Webe Web’s central website represented to be “a website to promote models ages 7 thru 16 and their photographers.” On the central website a “gallery” or “previews” of 15-21 photographs of various underage female children could be viewed for free. If the viewer wanted to see additional photographs, he would click “Join” and subscribe to the “models” individual website where he could view approximately 100 photographs of the child. The typical cost to view each individual child’s website was $25 per month to subscribe and $20 per month thereafter.

Webe Web promoted subscriptions to these individual sites through its free advertising website. Babble Club allowed members to receive a “free sample” of images of the children. It encouraged the purchase of subscriptions to individual child websites, and hosted discussion boards/groups which were devoted to each individual child’s website. Babble Club members made postings to the discussion boards, which included comments on specific images they liked, the type of clothing and poses they liked, and poetry written to the photographed child. Certain members posted expressions of fondness and devotion for a photographed child. Most of the Babble Club members were adult men who were not affiliated with the modeling industry.

After a viewer “subscribed” he could view numerous photographs of the individual child which were not accessible on Webe Web’s central or advertising web sites. These individual sites were similar in domain name style with the child’s name followed by model. In order to encourage continued monthly subscriptions, Webe Web would regularly update the photographs posted, and delete older photographs. Webe Web had groups of photographers under contract that supplied images, and in return received a percentage of the gross subscription fees generated at the various sites."

"Specifically, the indictment alleges that in 2002 Libman and Pierson began communicating about this business venture. During 2003, Pierson sent children’s photographs to Florida from Alabama which depicted sexually explicit conduct. These images were subsequently used to create different individual child websites for Webe Web in 2003. In December of 2003, Pierson received a “profitability detail statement” from Webe Web outlining his 2003 profits generated by the individual childs’ websites.

In 2004, Pierson again sent children’s photographs from Alabama to Florida which depicted sexually explicit conduct. These images were subsequently used to create additional individual child websites. During 2004, Pierson received monthly statements which detailed the number of subscriptions to each of the individual child websites, the gross income of each site, and his cut of the proceeds. He also had numerous conversations with the defendants regarding the updating of images, drop in subscriptions, issues with postings or banners, and suggestions on how to conceal dates of his pictures when discussions on Babble Club regarding a date were posted that could hurt sales on the site. Pierson’s photography accounted for a substantial portion of the images of children posted by Webe Web."

The Feds' case may be full of holes, we'll see, but if this was the basis for the indictment I can't see how, especially given the successfully prosecuted cases pointed to in the NYT article, that the indictment is "ground breaking" in any way.
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Curtis Clegg, Photographer
Belvidere | IL | USA | Posted: 7:02 PM on 12.01.06
->> Thanks a bunch Geoff, your post really helps put things into perspective.

One thing I'm not clear about is the statement in the second article of the C/Net aritcle that says "until recently, he ran a business called Beautiful Super Models that charged $175 for portraits of aspiring models under 18." Does that mean he charged the "models" (i.e. the girls' parents) to produce these portfolios? If so, I cannot see holding those parents blameless. The whole "prosti-tot" industry of child beauty pageants (ala Jon Benet Ramsey) is creepy to say the least.

Isn't ironic that "In 2002, Rep. Mark Foley announced a bill called the Child Modeling Exploitation Prevention Act that would effectively ban the sale of photographs of minors. But under opposition from civil libertarians and commercial stock photo houses like Corbis, it never left committee. (Foley, of course, is the same politician who resigned in September after disclosures of inappropriate conversations with a teenage page.)"
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JohnPaul Greco, Photographer, Assistant
Waukesha | WI | USA | Posted: 8:54 PM on 12.01.06
->> Well,....the child super models dot com site came up in a discussion not long ago on another website I was on, and someone posted an interview with the owner of the site,... I believe he was one of the indited people mentioned,...(not a surprise).. and basically, he denied contributing to people who may have a tendency to molest children. It appears to me that those types of folks are the targeted audience by the samples of photos I saw.. and hope to never see again.. He us a Guy With a Camera,...and a sick ####!

I've heard descriptions of other photos on his site that members have to pay to see,....and heck,...I wonder if the FBI is watching to see just who is paying to see that content... I hope so..

As one who photographs models for portfolio books & comps, some of them are children who are accompanied by their shoot a child "model" in a tacky pose or having them doing "simulated stuff" in the first place is so "verboden"... you just don't do it if you are a serious professional..

I'd like to see what those photos looked like that Jeff took, do I can make my own judgement,..however, I am afraid to.. I don't want some over zealous Federal DA coming down on my tail end for looking at pictures like that,...besides, I can do without that type of media coverage..

If however, the photos are IMO, sickening.. Let them fry or Hang 'em high!

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Scott Rovak, Photographer
St. Louis | MO | USA | Posted: 9:11 PM on 12.01.06
->> I went to the site in the article and if you look far enough into the site you can get to some of the galleries. If I had a daughter that was posed that way I would cut the guys balls off! If these girls' parents are allowing their daughters to be posed this way, then they should be liable also. My wife is a talent booker and she sees young girls comps and portfolios al of the time and when she saw these photos she freaked, it is not border-line child porn, it IS child porn. You don't take photos of under age girls with their legs spread like that and call it serious modeling.
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 2:04 PM on 12.02.06
->> Curtis, if you look at the article that Bill posted above I think you'll get a hint at how Pierson collected a lot of his material...

" interviewed the woman whose complaint triggered the investigation of Pierson and Webe Web, who agreed to talk on the condition that neither she nor her daughter be identified.

She said she naively answered an online advertisement for preteen models several years ago so that her then-10-year-old daughter could begin to build a portfolio.

She and her daughter drove to Pierson’s home studio, where they met the photographer, his wife and the couple’s 12-year-old daughter.

“They seemed like perfect people,” she recalled. “They said she would have a Web site so that people looking for models would offer her jobs.”

The woman said that everything seemed on the up and up during the initial visit, which included some test shots of the girl wearing different outfits, so she signed a contract.

But on the second visit, she said, Pierson kept her out of the studio, asking her to remain in an adjacent room where she could see him but not her daughter.

“He said it makes the models nervous,” she said.

The woman said she sat chatting with the photographer and his wife during the daylong shoot and had no inkling what was going on until she walked into the studio when Pierson had left the room for a moment and saw her daughter wearing only a thong and a halter top.

“That feeling is a feeling I don’t wish on anybody,” she said.

The woman said that she and her daughter were frightened to leave because Pierson had earlier displayed a handgun he kept in the house, so they endured several more hours in the studio.

“I said ‘We can’t do this,’ but my daughter said she was scared to leave and let’s get through this and then we won’t come back,” she said. “It was really hard.”

Once they left, the woman said she “went straight to the FBI” in Birmingham and told them what Pierson had done."

So, he charged the parents $175 for some "portfolio" photos, tried to isolate the kid from her parents, and then get some "extra" photos the parents don't see. I gotta admit, the handgun was a nice touch on Pierson's part.

However, some parents are perfectly willing partners in the venture. The first time I heard of these sites was a couple of years ago when Dateline (or another news magazine) did a story on very young models and interviewed the mother on one aspiring model. Her daughter wasn't making it in the "normal" modelling world, but she was raking in money through her own private subscription modeling site. The Mom rationalized that the money was for her daughter's college expenses and she didn't use her real name on the web site to keep the perverts at bay.

John Paul, feel free to go look at the photos. Contrary to what the people at C/Net may want to make you think, the feds haven't shown an interest in causual visitors. As long as you aren't running such a site, supplying the photos, or knowingly letting your kids participate in the photo sessions, or a paying customer of these sites, then you can relax. If you want detailed descriptions of the types of photos we're talking about, go read the articles attached to this thread... but basically, think "8 year olds in thongs and halter tops and kiddie wet T-shirt and pantie contests".
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 7:59 PM on 12.02.06
->> yikes. I know we all probably read this thread and started worrying about a witch hunt. I'm not saying anyone is innocent or guilty but HOLY CRAP!!! I went to the google site and was astonished at the poses some of those kids were in and the clothes they were wearing. some of those girls looked to be eight or nine years old and were in poses I've seen grown women do in, in gentlemen's club's (I know thats an oxymoron). folks lets face it what in the world is the point of that stuff except for some friggin perverts to enjoy? if you don't agree with me that's fine, just explain to me what redeeming value an eight year old in a skimpy halter top, mini skirt, high heels holding onto a brass pole has. I'm listening. explain it. I have an open mind here.
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Nathan Gray, Photographer
Anderson | SC | USA | Posted: 8:27 PM on 12.02.06
->> I agree with Chuck. If a grown man makes living off of photographing child super models in suggestive poses and is posting them on a website called something is a little fishy and should be questioned.

I'm not saying all those who take pictures of teens and children models are creeps. Sometimes thats part of the job. But its how you present it. None of the pictures were shown on the page of the link so I don't what the photos looked like. But if Chuck said they were too suggestive then I think he should be stopped. I don't think any of us should be worried about being prosecuted if you arent doing anything wrong.

Yeah, sometimes you get a crotch shot in gymnastics and/or cheerleading. I think most people understand that is part of it and why its never been an issue before. Fact is that this guy is probably a perv and gives photographers a bad name. If anything we should be glad he got prosecuted so dumb a** photographers like him don't reflect poorly on us as a profession.
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Thread Title: Mandatory reading for ALL Photographers
Thread Started By: Marvin Gentry
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