Famous photographer - anyone having his books risks arrest
Hamilton's naked girl shots ruled 'indecent'
Chris Warmoll, GUARDIAN 05-06-23
David Hamilton - the photographer whose images hang in the US Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall and the Royal Danish Palace - has had his multi-million-selling images of young, naked women and girls officially branded as indecent in a landmark British ruling. Anyone owning one of his coffee-table books now risks being "arrested for possession of indecent photographs", following a ruling at Guildford Crown Court.
The case revolves around Stanley Loam, a 49-year-old auditor from Walton on Thames, Surrey, who was charged with being in possession of 19,000 indecent images of children - the biggest ever haul by the county's force. Loam claimed he had a genuine interest in artistic material, and that the images in his collection by Hamilton were freely available in books sold by websites run by WHSmith, Tesco, Waterstones and Amazon. Loam said he thought they were not indecent, but lost his defence.
Prosecutor Simon Connolly told the court that Loam's home was raided as part of Operation Ore, after receiving a tip-off from the US Postal Investigation Service. He argued that the images, including those by Hamilton,
The court heard the images seized were of the lowest indecency rating - category 1. Speaking after, DC Simon Ledger, of Surrey Police, said:
Whether Hamilton's images are widely available or not, he suggested, they are clearly unlawful.
Hamilton's photographs have long been at the forefront of the "is it art or pornography?" debate. Glenn Holland, spokesman for the 71-year-old photographer, who lives in St Tropez, said:
On Tuesday, WHSmith said it was withdrawing one of Hamilton's books - The Age of Innocence - from sale on its website, following a discussion with London publishers, Aurum Press.
Correction 1: Letter to the Editor
Correction 2: The Editor speaks
The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Tuesday July 12 2005:
In the article below [the original article is re-printed], we [the Guardian newspaper] say that the books of the photographer, David Hamilton, were declared indecent in a "landmark ruling" at Guildford crown court. This was not a landmark ruling. The defendant had pleaded guilty to specimen charges and this fact was accidentally edited from the original story.