snapshots and observations

Thursday, 14 June 2012

nude bike protest thing and ideas on censorship

on saturday i was strolling along piccadilly when i saw a load of cyclists heading
my way. not just the normal type of cyclists either. no, these were some sort
of nude protesting cyclists.

i took a load of photos of course but i was wondering what the right thing to do
was with regards to censoring them... you know, hiding the nude bits.

here are a few photos anyway and my ideas on making them safe for blogging.

ok, i didn't censor this one at all. but should i have done so ?
i left the lady in the centre with her top bits showing but was that an ok thing to do ?
i'm not sure. i mean maybe top bits are ok ? she seems happy enough to be showing
and maybe it's ok if it's in a protest and on a bike ?

i didn't do anything with this frame either. it all seems good apart from
the bloke on the right using his phone as he's cycling.

ok. with this shot i used a mosaic on the front bits of the three blokes
as i think the front bits of blokes are a bit of a no-no, even in a cycle protest.
but should i have used a mosaic mask over their faces too, to protect their identity ?
i also used a mosaic on the lady's top. i don't know why i felt it necessary when i didn't
use one on the first photo, but it just seemed like the right thing to do.

no mosaic on this lady though. maybe because she's further away ?
because her top bits are kind of hidden anyway so it's just a dark dot on 
a pale colour rather than you know... boobs ?

i put a mosaic mask over front saddle bit of the bloke on the right .
but should i have put a mosaic on his backside ?
i didn't do anything with the girl in the centre or on the left because they are looking
 away from camera so kind of censored or anonymous anyway.

here i ran the mosaic over the bloke on the left as his bits were a bit unsavoury,
but i think the centre bloke and lady are ok without any mask. don't you ?
film buffs might recall sigourney weaver by looking at this photo by the way.
right ?

all front bloke's bits censored. fair enough ?

just the bloke who shunned his helmet censored here.
as a side note... interesting footwear choices. one bloke barefoot,
another wearing cycling shoes with long socks. hmmm...

here he is again. obviously the lad behind him needed a little bit of censoring.

showing my inconsistency i put a mosaic mask over this lady's top bits and bottom bits.
however, the three men behind and one on the right i didn't feel they needed any
censoring, but was i wrong ? should i have put a mosaic mask over their lower hair ?

no problem with the tiger except that he's wearing ballet pumps.
the old guy on the right though was hung like a tiger so needed a bit
of a mosaic.

here i'm thinking that if you're covered in body paint you're not naked.
so, i left the girl at the front untouched. plus her face is cropped off so she's 
keeping her anonymity. i did however put a mosaic over the boobs of a girl
in the background.

what's the bum rule ? should i have censored or is this acceptable ?
what i do find unacceptable is that they are blocking a box junction
which made it difficult for the cars coming down piccadilly to turn into
half moon street.

i'm afraid i felt it my public duty to protect the modesty of prince william.

i moved to a new position which meant i was a little closer to the cyclists.
i don't know why but i felt it was necessary to disguise this lady's top.
i also had to disguise the bloke's bits.
but by now i'm wondering what's the mosaic rule ?
should i have used a heavier mosaic ?
is this censorship enough or is it a bit rude still ?

luckily her arms saved me the trouble this time and i used a slightly stronger mosaic 
on the bloke and the two in the background.
the people on the bus are quite funny in this shot.

mosaic masks all round on this shot, but i'm still wondering what the ruling is
with lady's tops. and also thinking i might have been better using a black
block over her top rather than a mosaic. also should i have used a black block across
her eyes to hide her identity or does that not matter as she was out there cycling
in the altogether on one of london's busiest streets anyway ?

i had to mosaic the front bit of the bloke from madness of course.
the girl's boobs though... to be honest, i think i felt it necessary to censor 
them because they were so close. 
looking back through these photos maybe i decided i would
censor boobs when they are close-up but not when they are far away ?

any comments on my censorship of these photos are welcome
( and sensible ones will be published )

please don't get lippy. it's not like i went out looking for nudity. 
these people just cycled where i was walking and you know i always take 
photos of anything interesting that i see on my weekends.

the photos are like everything else on my blog... just me showing you 
a few snapshots and observations. it's just that on this occasion there was 
a lot of nudity and bad cycling involved.


  1. an sensible (maybe) opinion: I think that because they were out there in the all together and hardly going to be surprised to be photographed that there shouldn't be a need to censor anything.
    However, as it's your blog... it's your rules. what you feel comfortable with is the right thing.

    a flippant opinion: it was a bit of a sausage-fest, I'd have cropped the lot out!

  2. Mary Whitehouse14 June 2012 at 10:31

    Good god!

  3. there's got to be a gag about "half moon street" to be had, given the subject matter...?

  4. rules addendum 1 - all man parts should have a mosaic automatically - just don't need to see this
    rules addendum 2 - all men wearing long red socks should have their faces disguised to protect their identity - really don't need to see this

    p.s. nice to see the actress from the opening scene of goldfinger is still around...

  5. picture 1
    that's not how it's steered...

  6. Your censorship seems somewhat random. Why are you censoring at all? Who is it for?

    If it's the people choosing to cycle nude through London whose modesty you want to protect, I think that bird has already flown. At best, blurring their faces seems the most effective solution for protecting them from embarrassment or ridicule.

    If you are protecting your visitors... from what, precisely? Does anyone using the Internet not know what a pair of boobs looks like (and what will happen if they find out)? More precisely, will they be irreparably damaged by a pair close up, but unaffected by a set further away?

    I'm not sure it helps anyone. Unfortunately, I think it hurts.

    If you censor something, you make it 'wrong'. You take away the innocence and reinforce the idea that the bodies these people have (and by extension those of your readers) are unpleasant or damaging to look at. It's redundant to point out that the majority of bodies available for viewing on the Internet are not displayed or used in a manner from which we might want people to take inspiration. Censoring these varied, beautiful, freely given views of real people squanders a small opportunity to rebalance this.

    I don't mean to come on all heavy, but to the (probably minor) extent to which it's important, I disagree with the route you've taken, and you asked for feedback!

    You have an opportunity here to normalise people's bodies in the view of visitors to your site. This isn't porn or other salacious content; it's more likely to raise a smile than anyone's hackles.

    The most common complaint you see for things like this is from people who say that they can take it, but *other* people will be upset and therefore "something should be done". This is hogwash. No one will be scandalised by your pictures (only by the idea that perverts can cycle round London, tackle-out, with impunity, running the risk of scarring passing children for life - also rubbish, of course, children need to be taught to find nudity repulsive and then it *causes* body image problems rather than solving anything).

    Stand up for these brave people's right to express themselves free from clothing, free from shame and free from mosaics. I think it will make the world a better place.