A JUDGE from last year's Bundaberg Arts Festival says he is disappointed at the organising committee's decision to ban nude photography from the 2014 exhibition.
The changes to the festival program came after visually-impaired artist Dennis Mealor had his photograph of a naked woman withdrawn from last year's event.
Festival president Wendy Francis said nude photography was not appropriate for the "bring-the-family" exhibition, held at the Civic Centre in September each year.
"Our house, our rules," she said.
"The community, by and large, expects a standard and that's the standard we maintain.
"If anyone has any problems with it, please feel free to have your own exhibition."
Are you offended by nude artwork?
This poll ended on 21 June 2014.
Yes! Nudity has no place in an art gallery - 6%
I'm only against it if it's crude - 22%
No, nudity in art is nothing to be ashamed of - 51%
Nope, the more naked the better - 20%
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
But Paul Beutel, a well-known Bundaberg photographer who held the first nude exhibition at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery in 2005 and was also a judge at the festival last September, was disappointed by the move.
"When it's done properly, there's no way (nude photography is) offensive at all," he said.
"It's someone's hang-ups and prejudices getting in the way of letting other people make an informed decision for themselves."
Mr Beutel, who has a semi-nude photograph in the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, said omitting nude photography from the schedule was "lowering the quality of their festival".
"Bundaberg artists and subjects are fine to hang in the National Portrait Gallery, but not in the local Arts Festival - something's a bit wrong," he said.
Following last year's controversy, a nude-only exhibition was held at Dirty Linen Art Space, at the end of March.
Gallery owner Christine Turner said this latest move by the Arts Festival committee was a form of censorship.
"It's a little bit disappointing because photography particularly is a very strong area in contemporary art," she said.
"It would be a shame to see anything undermining that."
Mrs Turner said about 200 attended the opening night of Just Nudes.
"There are a lot of people who really see the benefits in having that kind of exhibition," she said.
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