Controversy After Aussie Photo Contest Censors, Then Uncensors, Birth Photo


An Australian photographer has succeeded in having her work reinstated to a prominent exhibit, after authorities initially pulled the graphic image of a baby seconds after birth for being “too confronting.”

Adelaide photographer Victoria Berekmeri specializes in documenting a child’s arrival into the world, from maternity through the first few weeks as a newborn.

That includes detailed photos of the child’s birth, such as her prize-winning entry in South Australian Professional Photography Awards:

The photograph at the center of the controversy

The birth photograph at the center of the controversy

The image was included in a display of the winners at the Adelaide-based National Wine Centre, until several visitors complained about it. The image was withdrawn without advance notice to Berekmeri, whose complaints on Facebook about censorship attracted widespread support from clients, fellow photographer and more.

The mother of the baby in the photo also started an online petition protesting the removal, chiding the Wine Centre for its “need to censor such a natural and beautiful moment in mine and my family’s life. ”

The protests worked, and the picture was rehung in a few days, albeit with a translucent cover and a warning sign:

Berekmeri took to Facebook to share what the photo now looks like

Berekmeri took to Facebook to share what the photo now looks like

“I understand people’s comments but at the end of the day, it’s a public venue and while some people find it a fabulous photograph, others find it a bit confronting,” Adrian Emeny, general manager of the Wine Centre, told Adelaide’s Herald Sun.

(via Herald Sun)

Image credit: Photograph by Victoria Berekmeri

  • Alex Minkin


    I find a lot of things ‘confronting’. I don’t ask someone to remove it so that others with my sensibilities won’t be ‘confronted’. I move on. Nobody is forcing me to look at something I don’t want to. I know Australia has gone all nanny-state on us, as opposed to ‘shrimp on the barbie’ and ‘killing dingos with my bare hands’ but come on, this is ridiculous.

  • Tom Waugh

    I agree. Just post a discreet notice by the entrance to warn people that their delicate sensibilities might be outraged.

  • gochugogi

    If a person finds images of a child birth “confronting,” I shutter to think how difficult and painful it is for them to face the realities of daily life.

  • AdminHarald

    Step back from the pixelated photo and watch what happens. And I think the photo is great.

  • Bob

    So, mankind has evolved. We do publish photos of death , but will not those of birth.

  • Lauren

    How can the final act of bringing a human being to life disturb people? This is how you were brought into this planet…

    How does someone that finds this photo disturbing stand to watch the news for two minutes? Yikes. Talk about delicate sensibilities.

  • nik.C

    What is the matter with people? It’s ok to watch violent and gory movies, but a beautiful ( if a little surreal if I recall my own sons birth!) moment like this is too much? No, seriously? They need to get a grip! This is life, not the airbrushed realms of the Kardashians and their reality sucking likes!

  • markuan

    Come on guys, as humans we are stupid, we like or we can stand “killing someone” pictures (and we call them war photography for example) and we can`t see a picture of the born of a new life. RIDICULOUS!!!

  • Friv 10

    I find that period, the photographer was so good.

  • John

    Jut because people are offended doesn’t mean that they are right.

  • rilokiley

    Childbirth and pregnancy are both absolutely disgusting to me. But as a photographer, the photo is very well done. Just because it’s nasty to some people, doesn’t make it necessarily offensive. We see pictures of death all the time, (which is easier to stomach, quite frankly) but we can’t show pictures of birth? Yeah…that makes sense, America.

  • jaznzimages

    That is an amazing image I wish I had taken it. I bet the mum and her family will love it forever

  • Ivan

    What on earth does this have to do with America?

  • David Ivie

    America? This took place in its entirety in Australia

  • Michael Thompson

    Why should it have anything to do With ‘Murica?

  • Adam Cross

    “too confronting” what a load of crap. and a translucent cover with a warning sign is absolutely disgusting, they should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Adam Cross

    we’ve had photos of death, bomb victims and machete mutilations and I can’t say I’ve ever seen any level of censorship that is as bad as the censorship of this birth photograph, strip a woman nude and have her breasts on show but a birth!? hell no! what absolute imbeciles.

  • Grethe Rosseaux

    Okay I will be the first one to say that I find pregnancy and childbirth (as well as the resulting infant) absolutely, completely and totally repulsive and disgusting, but like a previous poster said: the photo is very well executed and very powerful.

    I just don’t understand the outrage, especially because from what I can tell, the complainers are the very same people who post and share photos of tortured and mangled animals and people on Facebook “to raise awareness”, which in my opinion, is much worse and much more upsetting.