On Reichmann's 'Lolita'

Started May 16, 2007 | Discussions thread
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guttaperk Regular Member • Posts: 331
On Reichmann's 'Lolita'

My own reaction to the photo and its title was not positive, but my reaction to that reaction stands in contrast to some people here.

Disclaimer: I live in a developing country; this colours my response to these issues.

I did not like the photograph on first viewing, nor do I like it now. It struck me as being a photograph of a sexually immature young lady mimicking aspects of provocative behavior that would would still be questionable in someone five years her senior. I would not have taken that photograph, but it did not occur to me to question Reichmann for doing so.

I did not like the title, either. Since the primary character in 'Lolita' is not the titular character, but her obsessional paedophilic lover, my first association with the title was to briefly wonder whether it was a reflection of Reichmann's photographic fascination with the subject of the picture.

I looked again at the photo, still didn't like it, and moved on.

On reading the responses on this forum to the photograph, both positive and negative, I am struck by the degree of assumption and presumption. Reichmann's thoughts, feelings, attitudes and intentions are assumed by those criticising him, in a manner that I would find highly offensive if I were he. Like the title or not, find it offensive or not, I staunchly state that such assumptions are inappropriate, and I find Reichmann's bristly response entirely understandable under the circumstances.

I also note that some here seem to be presuming to be offended on the girl's behalf - which is arguably dishonest, and itself demeaning to the young lady in question. Don't speak for her. Don't speak for her culture. No-one has elected you spokesman. Be honest about your own pornographic associations- which are quite understandable in themselves- and don't clothe your offense in dishonest, paternalistic mistruths.

13 years old is a young age to get pregnant, from a biological point of view. The sexual organs are newly matured, and there is high risk associated with pregnancy at that age. Further, the commonness of teenaged pregnancy in developing countries is usually a simple function of poverty, and not as strongly rooted in culture as some seem to think, what with their comments about shagging at age six.

Whatever the cultural norms, whatever the regional habits, 13 is a precocious age for pregnancy, just as a 45 year old is an advanced age for pregnancy whether or not everyone is doing it.

That neither excuses nor defends the title; it was shallowly if not inaccurately chosen, as Reichmann himself admits; chosen with no thought whatsoever as to complex cultural associations thousands of miles away from the location of the photograph's capture.

To recap, I think that the photograph and its title are valid art, if not exempary art; I think that disagreement with the title is valid, but the assumptions and presumptions of some critics are invalid and offensive; and I do think that some of the posters need to take a deep breath and take a step back.

Thanks for reading,


'The camera can photograph thought. It's better than a paragraph of sweet polemic.' Dirk Bogarde
-adrian charles-

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