Sunday, May 18, 2008

Topless teen OK, board says

AUSTRALIA'S literature classification has given the green light for photographers to take pictures of naked under-age models after backing down on an investigation into a fashion magazine.

Last week, the Classification Board said it was investigating Russh Australia for featuring a 16-year-old girl topless in two different fashion shoots.

Zippora Seven featured in the provocative 18-page editorial fashion spread alongside a 15-year-old model, Levi Clarke.

Russh justified the pictures from 45-year-old Sydney photographer Derek Henderson by using Chanel No.5 bath gel in the most revealing image.

After deliberating, Classification Board director Donald McDonald said: "The board has now considered the matter and

is of the view that this publication is not a submittable publication and therefore does not need to be classified."

The most provocative of the images was shot at Sydney's Sebel Pier One Hotel in March, gratuitously depicting the pair sharing a bubble bath nude, with Seven topless and Clarke's eyes closed as if he has passed out. In the foreground are four bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne.

Both the Sebel and Moet have distanced themselves from the magazine shoot, saying they don't condone under-age drinking or nudity.

The Classification Act prohibits the depiction of nudity and sexual activity of people aged under 18.

The board's decision concerned Federal Youth Minister Kate Ellis, who has called on the modelling industry to show stronger leadership.

"The sexualisation of children and young people in magazines and advertising is disturbing," she said.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin was consulting on the development of a national child-protection framework, she said.

"But the modelling industry must also show leadership to protect young people from exploitation in the industry," she said.

But Russh last week continued to defend the shoot, which was inspired by supermodel Kate Moss and actor Johnny Depp when they dated in the 90s.

"The motivation for these images was the celebration of the human form," said Henderson.


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