Posted on photography

It's considered the most controversial photograph ever taken!

     Garry Gross was an American fashion photographer who specialized in dog portraiture. In 1975, he took a collection of pictures that would become the most controversial in history. The photographs show a ten-year-old Brooke Shields nude. She is standing and sitting in a bathtub, wearing makeup, and covered in oil. The pictures were taken with the consent of her mother, Teri Shields. At the time, Garry Gross was working on a project titled The Woman in the Child, in which he wanted to reveal the femininity of prepubescent girls by comparing them to adult women. The series was first published in the magazine Little Women, and then in Sugar and Spice, which is a Playboy Press publication.

     In 1981, Brooke Shields attempted to prevent further use of the photographs, but a U.S. Court ruled that she was bound by the terms of the contract and more surprisingly that the images did not breach child pornography laws. In 1992, American artist Richard Prince, who is famous for his reproduction work, purchased the rights to the pictures. He recreated the picture and called it “Spiritual America.” In 1999, Prince’s version sold for $151,000. Three years ago the print was removed from the Tate Modern gallery in London, England. In response Gary Gross said: “The photo has been infamous from the day I took it as I intended it to be.” He was disappointed by the removal, but not surprised by the Tate’s decision.

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