Maiden Voyages: August 2015

Beloved Photographer Dies: I was just informed that Wyatt Neumann died on June 11th from a motorcycle crash triggered by a brain aneurysm.  From what little I learned in my research, he had courage, wit and a zest for life.  It is clear that those who knew him will miss him deeply.  Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.  [added 150804]

A New Voice: As most of you have noticed, a new writer has joined us. When Lily C. first wrote to Pip, he got the strong feeling that she offered an important fresh voice. Pip and I are both pleased that she has agreed to contribute posts to this site. Her first effort regarding the novel The Clan of the Cave Bear has gotten a lot of notice and I know we all look forward to her future endeavors.

Wish List: The Wish list has been working only so-so. Given the number of readers that visit this site, I expected to have gotten more leads. I did get a few though, so thank you. I have reorganized the Wish List page by categories because I know people tend to be more knowledgeable in one area or another. First will be the artists listed alphabetically, then books, comics and finally films. That will make it possible to focus on one particular section to see if we have made new requests. Once the list gets long enough, we will establish separate pages for each category.

Dropbox: Pigtails in Paint has a Dropbox account so the exchange of materials needed (files up to 2GB) for upcoming posts can be done with relative ease and anonymity.

Little Orphan Images: Last month, I decided I needed some help identifying the artists of some random images. The problem with the internet is that casual publishers of these images do not identify them. They are images that strike me as important or show the kind of skill worth mentioning on this site. There are only three, but I intend to add a lot more.

Growing Pains: Pigtails in Paint is like a little child and is growing in spurts. We are reaching a point where we need a dedicated server. That is being arranged, but it will cost more money. There is good news and bad news about this. First the good news: because of the dedicated server, it will be possible at some point for people wishing some protection from unreasonable censorship to be hosted by our server. And the bad news: maintaining such a server costs more money so we will need to bring in money from readers and other supporters. A PayPal account will be established for donations/memberships. We are currently brainstorming ideas for incentives that can be offered to those who contribute.

Cabinet Cards: I know you have all seen a multitude of cabinet cards for sale on the internet. However, they do not come with much commentary or background information. One of our contributors informed me of an excellent site to visit that actually goes into more depth.  See also this.

They Have to Start Sometime: An associate found a cute video about the art of Flamenco dancing. About 5 minutes into the video, you can see some little girls practicing.

Nice Girl Images: A fellow blogger informed me of someone who linked to his site and has is showing off a lot of nice girl images. The site is in Dutch but well worth translating.

Creepy Lyrics: I was also given a link to a site that put together a list of songs with lyrics that would certainly make many people cringe today. They were or are all popular songs with catchy tunes, so what does that say about our culture? Were the old days better with a greater latitude of expression or is today better, now that we don’t express such disrespect to young people? Were they innocent expressions of fantasy or brainwashing to put ideas in the heads of young people?

Legal Briefs: Chris Madaio has been generously using his knowledge as a paralegal to educate us on the vagaries of law. However, due to his conviction, he has been subjected to aggressive censorship triggered by watchdog groups. The latest indignity is having his Facebook account shut down. This is remarkable since that social networking site tolerates a hell of a lot. I thought it would be more interesting here to share some of his ideas for filing a lawsuit against the company (and one particular watchdog group) for this perfunctory termination.

Madaio had been on Facebook since early 2014, using it solely to contact old friends in Italy and sending them some of their pictures from the 1970s through ‘90s. Has says 95% of them were pleased and he also used the site to publicize his photo site and paralegal site, hoping also to get some contract engineering jobs. In about June 2015, the local Parents for Megan’s Law (PFML) informed the local Sex Offender Registry (SOR) officer about his account. Because he’d never caused trouble with the local SOR officer, he was called in to her office to update the records. In the beginning of July, his Facebook account was disabled. A message indicated that he was “ineligible for an account”. The company hasn’t responded yet to his complaint generated through the Better Business Bureau. In mid-July he called the local PFML and while never expressly admitting to initiating the Facebook action, it was obvious they knew all about him.

Here are the legal issues—bear in mind that the legal basis of these causes of action have not been confirmed and are only speculative questions at this time. Perhaps Facebook is in Breach of Contract and/or violating Madaio’s First Amendment rights. There is a clause restricting convicted “sex offenders”, but he has operated the account for over 1.5 years without complaint. Since he believes PFML is directly responsible, he is looking for ways to tie that organization to his legal action. He also wonders if he can compel PFML to produce documents showing they were involved.

Naturally, attorneys are reluctant to take on this kind of case pro-bono and attempts to contact the ACLU in the past have gotten no reply. Without financial backing, he will have to muddle through this process on his own with uncertain results. He is motivated by the thought that all his work might be invalidated in the public’s eyes because of a 2006 conviction not directly connected to his photographic work. It would be one thing if he were guilty of child molestation or assault, but he was convicted of possessing child pornography (on his computer). On these grounds, it would be hard to make a case that Madaio is some kind of danger to children and limit his access as a precautionary measure. After all, a Facebook page is easy enough to monitor if someone really thought there were something sinister going on and Pigtails would not be taking up space here by offering these updates otherwise.

Badge of Honor: Wyatt Newmann

I discovered the incredible story of photographer Wyatt Neumann I felt had to be shared to expose the ignorant nature of an uninformed and, frankly, brainwashed populace who would verbally condemn a father for images he shared online of his young daughter.  Even more noteworthy is Mr. Neumann’s response to his attackers—fighting back with grace and facts and with the very images he was so maligned for posting.

The Safari, NYC - (untitled) (2014)

The Safari, NYC – (untitled) (2014)

“These compelling images of children, taken by their father, have been scrutinized and censored by conservatives who deemed them pornography. Along with the images will be the statements made by these people, people who hide behind the cloak of Internet, attacking real people from a veil of anonymity. This work unintentionally documents censorship in the Information Age, an issue we are just beginning to understand.”  -KP Lawless, Safari Gallery

“In my photographs, some people see innocence and beauty, while others see only sexual victimization and violence. It’s an interesting lesson in the power of fear and fundamentalism, and the aggression that it can spawn. It’s also a mirror that we can look at and see ourselves looking back. It’s a chance to decide how we want to view the world, and to decide what kind of world we want to create. For ourselves, our futures, and the future we leave for our children.”  -Wyatt Neumann

Wyatt Neumann, (Untitled) (2014)

Wyatt Neumann, (Untitled) (2014)

Learn more about this story in this Huffington Post article and from The Safari Gallery in New York which exhibited his work using one of the narrow-minded comments he received as a badge of honor: “I feel sorry for your children.”

Particularly moving is a short video on YouTube about Mr. Neumann, the knee-jerk hysteria that ensued and the support which came from other families with children.

[September 23, 2014] A number of readers expressed an interest in seeing more of the Neumann images and another was kind enough to offer a selection from the book.  With each image I will state Neumann’s comment, then the rude comment published in the book, then mine.  Neumann’s handle is #dadlife.  -Ron

Neumann: here you go: a not-so-rare sighting of not-so-elusive wild stella in her not-so-natural habitat. (at Navajo Nation, AZ)

Commenter: One photo where his daughter was crouched naked on the highway in the middle of the desert, looking like a feral cat.  The look on her face is disturbing.

Me: What I find disturbing (and I think I can speak for Rousseau as well) is that some grown-ups are so spiritually bereft that they cannot enjoy and appreciate the animal spirits of very young children.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (1)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (1)

Neumann: Swan Song.

Commenter: It’s not just his daughter he’s exploiting, either. He has one of his son where he’s throwing him up in the air, naked, with his penis flying.

Me: Unmitigated Joy. (and a great shot to boot!)

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (2)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (2)

Neumann: everything good in the world lives within the eyes of my children.

Commenter: Every good thing you are and every good thing you do is cancelled out by the fact that you exploit your children.  You truly have no right to do this to them.

Me: Every good parent should be lucky enough to have such a tender and candid shot of their child.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (3)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (3)

Neumann: definition of true happiness: driving down the highway with all the windows rolled down, cranking “out of the blue” by julian casablancas and singing at the top of my lungs to my screaming and giggling baby girl… ❤❤❤

Commenter: He’s such a passive aggressive little diva.  #dadlife? More like #douchelife

Me: It’s called being irreverent (and more unmitigated self-expression on Stella’s part).  We could use a little more of that in our society.  Shouldn’t he at least be given credit for securing her properly in a child seat?

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (4)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (4)

This image appears with no text and falls on the copyright page.  I’m surprised there was not some comment condemning this community for allowing a half-naked child to be in their midst.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (5)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (5)