Updated: Aug 8, 2020
For the Landings 2020 offline exhibition (which is 27.7.-3.8.) I decided to do something quite unusual – a hidden exhibition!
The very same exhibition but in an online form can be found here: https://www.lucie-photography.com/post/week-8-landings-2020
Doing photography outdoors is a great adventure for me sometimes. Hence why I would like my exhibition to be in the same spirit of the photo shoots – adventurous and fun.
So what does a hidden exhibition mean? Well, I placed 4 pairs of my photographs (A6 size) somewhere in a specific area in Nottingham for people to find them. Like treasure. The area I chose is a place/route where I like to go and think about photography.
At the back of each pair is going to be a short info about me and a backstage story about the photo shoot. I will also add there my contact details created specifically for this exhibition so people can share their experience with me.
Besides photographs, I will print out a few introduction lists with information about the exhibition and rough directions where to look for the photographs. These introduction lists will be also placed across the same area as the photos, however, in more obvious way so people can notice them immediately.
Preview of the photographs, Route of the exhibition, Introduction Lists
Setting up the exhibition
The ideal outcome would be if people get engaged, are able to find the photographs, have fun and are respectful by not damaging or keeping the photographs. Perhaps someone might contact me and say they enjoyed it.
However, knowing that humans are only humans it is best to assume the opposite. But it would be great to be nicely surprised.
I also need to take into account that some people might find my photographs offensive – they are nude photos. I did a research and in case of a complaint I am going to cover myself with the fact I have done nothing illegal. Freedom of expression:
Freedom of expression is a UK common law right, and a right enshrined and protected in UK law by the Human Rights Act(1) , which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.
The most important of the Convention’s protections in this context is Article 10.
ARTICLE 10, EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent states from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
It is worth noting that freedom of expression, as outlined in Article 10, is a qualified right, meaning the right must be balanced against other rights. Where an artistic work presents ideas that are controversial or shocking, the courts have made it clear that freedom of expression protections still apply. As Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Court of Appeal judge, explained: “Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.” (Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions, 1999). Thus to a certain extent, artists and galleries can rely on their right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to receive and impart opinions, information and ideas, including those which shock, disturb and offend. Even though I do not consider my nude photographs shocking or obscene it is sensible to admit it is my subjective opinion. Somebody else might find them inappropriate. Therefore I continued with my research. As is seen above, freedom of expression is not an absolute right and can be limited by other rights and considerations. While the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police have a positive obligation to promote the right to freedom of expression, they also have a duty to protect other rights: to private and family life, the right to protection of health and morals and the protection of reputation.
The courts have defined “deprave” as meaning to make morally bad, to debase, to pervert, or corrupt morally, and “corrupt” as meaning to render morally unsound or rotten, to destroy moral purity or chastity, to pervert or ruin a good quality, and to debase or defile.
Outraging public decency has two elements. First, there must be a lewd or disgusting or obscene act that outrages minimum standards of public decency as judged in a contemporary society. Second, the act must be in public view, accessible or within view of the public so it is capable of being seen by at least one person, and it must be in the presence of two or more people, regardless of whether they actually witness the act or are outraged by it.
If the works or performance can be construed to be of an extreme sexual nature or to advocate the use of weapons, drugs or violence, or likely to cause public outrage then the artist’s right to freedom of expression may carry less weight .
Under Section 4 of the OPA, the court would need to consider, on the one hand, the number of people they believe would be depraved or corrupted by the work, the strength of the work’s tendency to deprave and corrupt, and the nature of the depravity and corruption depicted.
Based on the above article I am assuming that even if somebody finds my photographs indecent I should not be prosecuted because they are not advocating use of drugs, weapons or violence and they are not pornographic or of an extreme sexual nature.
My photographs are art and their purpose is to please the viewer’s eye. But that depends on the viewer. I will write a follow up article to update about my experience with the offline part of the exhibition.