Maiden Voyages: October 2023

My apologies dear readers for being so late. I have just been so exhausted the past few days but now I have a moment to cover a few items. And apropos to the work needed to run this site …

The Pigtails Job Fair: I have been thinking about this for a while. With all the contributions of readers and well-wishers, I have felt for a long time that this site needs to be a community project with a watchful editor to uphold our high standards and keep us out of legal trouble. There are many ways readers can volunteer their time so that interesting items can be shepherded to final publication. This month I will be establishing a job page that will give readers a more specific idea on our needs so that we can increase publication rates. Believe me when I say that we have a huge backlog of items that just need a little attention to complete. Therefore I expect to announce this dedicated job page in next month’s ‘Maiden Voyages’.

About Photo-Lolicon Collections: I understand readers’ enthusiasm about getting access to the more rare images produced during the Photo-Lolicon era which, due to legal concerns, are no longer generally available on the open secondary market. For those of you interested in purchasing or trading in hard-copy titles, I will endeavor to figure out a way to put you in touch with others who wish to sell or trade or know of the lesser-known secondary markets that occasionally sell these items. Be advised that Pigtails in Paint is not in the book business but as a favor to some of our readers, I can try to do some match-making so that you can build or liquidate your collection with other trusted collectors. In pursuit of this, I will be establishing a member-only page with artists (many already listed on the ‘Artists by Name’ page) along with pictures of the covers of their known publications so you know what has been produced out there. Obviously we will be depending on readers to inform us of anything we missed. Many of these items have been scanned over the years and have been made available to the public in the form of torrents and other peer-sharing applications. Unfortunately, these get shut down form time to time and there is no consistency about where to find works from a particular artist or what even exists out there. Also, as I have told many readers, Pigtails cannot ethically engage in this image sharing directly because it might expose us to too much legal risk. Not all materials have been vetted as to whether they represent legitimate girl-idol material or if they might be regarded as pornography in many nation states. With respect to this, I would be happy to entertain ideas on how these digital collections might be safely archived and appropriately distributed to interested parties. I remind readers that because Pigtails is a journalistic forum, it is safe to share items of interest with us so long as the items are not illegal material. I will inform you when a Photo-Lolicon publication page has been established so members can peruse and educate themselves on the scope of this genre.

Mysterious AI Community: With the advent of Large Data Models, generative AI images have started to become available to the general public. This has obviously led to an explosion of experimentation, including effort to “trick” (jailbreak) the application into producing images that are banned such as triggering violent scenes and most forms of nudity. I tried featuring some on this site, but it is just too much. A reader has come forward about a place where producers of AI images of little girls can congregate making it easier for the public to keep up on what is out there. The person who runs these mysterious communities goes by the handle Bericbone. His main site includes links to all his social media and the communities he started. They utilize a novel new decentralized social network called “Session”. The largest AI one he started has over 1200 active users. Berichone is apparently a huge supporter of freedom of speech and tasteful art featuring little girls.

Maiden Voyages: September 2023

I’m having a little trouble getting motivated this month. -Ron

Image Collections: I would like to take the time to let our readers know that it is not our policy to share image collections with those who request them. There are copyright concerns involved and the last thing we need to do is run afoul of the law in that regard. We publish a sampling of images for a legitimate journalistic purpose and are grateful when others share with us to make this possible. If you want to request images relevant to a particular post, make your request in the comments section and perhaps another reader will be gracious enough to respond. And if someone offers a download of a collection, please take advantage in a timely manner. Most downloads are time-sensitive and may require a password provided by the uploader.

Children’s Plight for Freedom: In an earlier ‘Maiden Voyages’ post, I mentioned a documentary about an effort in Haiti to overcome the practice of human trafficking, especially of children for the most nefarious purposes. The man involved in this project, Paul Hutchinson, not only operated in Haiti but the international trade generally. He collected enough footage of his efforts to share them on The Jordan Harbinger Show. A film documenting the greater scope of these activities—Sound of Freedom (2023)—has recently been released to high acclaim.

Album Cover Collection: One of our readers has discovered and shared a site with an extensive album cover collection featuring mostly naturist children. Many of these items were featured on Pigtails before, but many have not. These images feature both boys and girls.

Life in the USSR: In a recent episode of Bruce Carlson’s My History Can Beat Up Your Politics shared a few anecdotal stories about life in the Soviet Union. The Gorbachev era was especially confusing for the KGB and other law enforcement because of the push for more freedoms and the rule of law. Diplomats and spies were in a special position of having access to so-called corrupt Western culture in the form of books, audio recordings and film. Sometimes these things were collected without the knowledge of one’s own family—for their own protection. But a few allowed their children access to this contraband. In one case, a child was careless, having brought one of the books to school and was reported. The authorities raided the house and confiscated this extensive collection. The usual procedure was to destroy the materials and put the offender in prison, but these were strange times. Due to convoluted political forces in country, the collection was actually returned—all except two films: a gang film that was considered too violent and the other was Pretty Baby considered too pornographic!

Random Images: Full-Body Exposure

My apologies for the provocative-sounding title; I just couldn’t help myself. The exposure being referred to is sunlight. The prevalence of rickets increased after the advent of the Industrial Revolution but it was not until the early 20th century that the connection was made between this disease and a deficiency in Vitamin D. It was also learned that the human body produces this nutrient when exposed to adequate sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Although it is common practice to simply provide supplements in pill form, some people are unable to metabolize this nutrient in this form and sunlamps are sometimes needed. This technique was quite popular in middle of the 20th century, especially for children of more affluent parents or in a clinic where multiple children could be treated concurrently.

A reader provided a link to a photographic collection featuring images of this sunlight treatment. Browsing the images, one can see that these examples come from many countries in more northerly latitudes such as: the Soviet Union, Germany, UK, Canada and the US. Undoubtedly, other northern countries were also represented. I would recommend perusing the many examples that can be found with the above link including vintage advertisements for the lamps and treatment.

(Photographer Unknown) – From the Bundesarchiv, Berlin (1940)

Random Images: 1944 Liberation of Paris

This submission from a Pigtails reader shows a scene of a German sniper attack during the liberation of Paris during World War II in 1944. US Army photographers were on the scene to document these events. The credit given in the caption indicates the name of the senior officer of the No. 5 Army Film and Photo Section, Army Film and Photographic Unit, Captain E. G. Malindine, but Lieutenant Handford and Sergeant Hardy were also part of this unit and so it cannot be determined who captured this particular shot. The explanation for this image being submitted is the apparent heroism of the adults attempting to protect the children by surrounding them.

Capt E G Malindine et al – The Liberation of Paris 1944 (August 26, 1944)

The original photo is part of the War Office Second World War Official Collection. The attached comment states:

As Gen. de Gaulle arrived at the Notre Dame, German snipers opened fire. These photographs show scenes during the incident as Parisians fled for safety. The General and his staff were unhurt.

Maiden Voyages: August 2023

Your Nickname: Understandably, many readers of this site prefer to write comments and articles under an alias. Many of you have requested that a nickname appear when making comments. Members can do this themselves by logging in then selecting ‘users’. Your profile should appear. Under ‘nickname’, you can enter a new name and then just below it, select that new nickname under ‘name appears as’. From then on, your alias will appear when you make comments.

150 Years of Photographing Children: A reader came forward with an interesting link to a project dedicated to the photography of children from 1865 to 2023. Some of the names will be familiar but many will undoubtedly not be. Images are categorized by date, by artist name or by theme.

Nude in the News: One of our Russian readers gave me a lead years ago about a newspaper that actually requested pictures of naked children from its readers to publish. I planned to do a post on this because a website actually posted the relevant images. Now there is a new site with a little more detail about the context of this promotion. Because these images were scanned from a newspaper, they are of low fidelity, but still one can get a clear idea of the range of ages, poses and props in the photographs submitted. In addition to extensive details about this story, this website has pages covering numerous portrayals of nudity with a number of items clearly gleaned from Pigtails. I am told that many other leads came from this site which focuses on female underage nudity and makes a special point of only sharing examples which are not lascivious.

Brooke Shields’ Attitudes: After reading the post on Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby starring Brooke Shields, a reader did some additional research which I thought would be of interest to others. I have appended this material to the end of that post. We also received a nice testimonial from that reader which I reproduce here:

In the first instance, I am writing to compliment you on your splendid website, which I have followed for some time now. I enjoy seeing the beautiful artwork and reading the thoughtful and well researched articles. You tackle topics that are often neglected and avoided by others. Your dedication and resilience in keeping the site going in the face of attacks from a number of quarters is also really commendable. I’m sure it can’t have been easy, and you must have had dark days of doubt. I hope you will be able to continue.

Follow Up on Goebbels Children: I did a post based on a Graham Ovenden poem regarding the group suicide of the children of Joseph and Magda Goebbels during the defeat of Nazi Germany during WWII. A reader did a little digging and offered more details which were appended to the end of that post.

Digging into Divine Forms: A woman who runs a web page was drawn to our site in the course of researching Azuma Itsuko. One of the discoveries was that the books of this artist were published by Sanrio Co., Ltd. who also publish the famous Hello Kitty materials. The Sanrio fan page can be found here.

On the Store Shelf: I have often wondered about the models—babies, toddlers and very young children—on the packages of diapers, training pants and the like. Are these real people? Or a photo-realistic rendering of an artist? I ask these questions because I imagine that being known as a diaper model might attract ridicule later in life and one would not want images of oneself on the packages in the local store. Well, it appears that these are images are of real people and I came across a story of a little girl being filmed while discovering her image on packages in a local store. Perhaps these name brands are responsible enough to move on to other models after a little while, but now there’s another problem: now that this video is on the internet, will this girl ever be able to genuinely put her past behind her? Or will she continue to harbor a kind of strange pride about this stage in her “career”?

Random Images: Admiring a Little Dancer

A reader submitted an interesting photo of two girls admiring a statue. The sculpture turned out to be a bronze casting of Edgar Degas’ (1834–1917) La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years) originally sculpted in the early 1880s from an unusual combination of media. Beginning in 1920, bronze casts were made of this remarkable piece and now appear in various museums and private collections. This photograph was taken at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. This casting was made sometime after 1936 and was acquired by the museum in early 1977.

Photographer Unknown – Two girls admiring Degas’ Dancer (after 1977) (monochrome)

For some reason, the monochrome form of this photograph was submitted. In the course of researching this image, the color version was also found.

Photographer Unknown – Two girls admiring Degas’ Dancer (after 1977) (color)

Random AI: Kitschy Child Portraits

After an initial post demonstrating the use of AI to produce images, a number of readers made their own submissions. This one is from February and I am just now getting to it. In certain ways, these images are impressive, but in other ways there is something off about them. I am mentioning the month of these submissions because the technology is purportedly improving all the time.

This submission is from someone calling herself Nikolina. She set up an Instagram account named kitsch_portret_ai to display her efforts. Her interest is in vintage nostalgic-looking images of subjects who are  “glitzy and gorgeous”.

What struck me the most about this first image is not that this girl has no hair on her head, but that the skin mottling seems a little off. It appears the AI is attempting to simulate the texture of skin but does not understand the natural distribution of pores and freckles in real human beings.

The hair on the last two examples is quite convincing and consistent with Hollywood glamour. But these were clearly not constructed from whole cloth but copied from a specific example used to train the algorithm. In the past few months, lawsuits have been filed from writers, photographers and other artists claiming that AI text and image generation can be shown to come from specific sources and constitute copyright violations requiring compensation.

Random Images: Rare Tintype of African-American Father and Daughter

A reader contributed this beautiful image. It was sourced from the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and has few identifying details except it is from the 1870s (catalog number 94.521). The original tintype would have been a negative and so was converted into the form you see here. An image like this is rare because it comes from the era of early photography and quality portraits of African-Americans would have been especially rare because of the cost at a time of disenfranchisement so soon after the official end of chattel slavery in the US.

Untitled tintype from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art collection(1870s) [94.521]

[Strictly speaking, the relationship between the man and girl portrayed here is purely speculative. -Ron]

Album Covers: Bijelo Dugme

Translated as “White Button”, Bijelo Dugme was perhaps the most important band in Yugoslav rock. Since Yugoslavia was a non-aligned state equally open towards the Eastern bloc and the West, it was able to absorb musical influences like rock ‘n’ roll. The band would appear in local festivals in the region including the Italian San Remo festival which aired on television.

Although interest in rock waned in Yugoslavia by the 1980s, there was a real resurgence with Bijelo Dugme, a group from Bosnia led by international music star Goran Bregović. As was the case with many of their contemporaries, they had to publish four successful singles before they were given the opportunity to record an album. Their appeal most likely came in combining Bosnian traditional music with prog-rock. Unusually, their LPs were as popular as their singles and record companies started to understand that rock albums were a viable commercial product. This likely opened the doors for the next generation of rockers to publish their own labels, culminating in the 1980s boom of Yugoslav rock. The album shown here was from a live performance on April 5, 1981 at a club called Kulušić in Zagreb. This was their last performance of a tour starting in 1980 called Doživjeti stotu (Live to Be a Hundred).

Bijelo dugme – 5. april ’81 (1981)

Bijelo dugme – 5. april ’81 (1981) (CD cover)

The album cover was designed by photographer Dragan S. Stefanović who held a photo session with the daughter of actor Mladen Jeličić. The girl was wearing a grownup’s robe and high heels but she started taking her clothes off when she needed to use the potty. Stefanović continued shooting and three of those ended up on the album cover. During that time in Yugoslav history, no one gave a second thought to such images. The later mix of US puritanical influence and reestablishment of the Catholic religion in Croatia, required that the CD version be released omitting the middle image.

Research for this post came from a devoted reader and was only edited down to the current length to cover only the most relevant aspects of the album. You can find more on this band and the album here, here and here. -Ron

Random Images: Bernard Hoffman

Bernard Hoffman (1913–1979) was an American documentary photographer. Most of his work appeared in an 18-year period in Life magazine starting in 1936. Most famously, he was known as the first American photographer on the ground after the dropping of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. Hoffman left Life in 1951 to improve photographic technology by establishing Bernard Hoffman Laboratories. Most notably, the lab was asked to process the famous Kennedy assassination footage. He retired in 1973 but stayed active running photography workshops—along with his wife Inez—until his passing.

Bernard Hoffman – Bored schoolgirl in Maine (1942)