Oz women say their nude pic is art after photographic competition ban

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Sydney, Aug 7 (ANI): Two Australian women have fought back after a charity run contest decided to remove their topless picture from the competition because it was considered inappropriate.

The Wesley Mission charity has been accused of censorship after blocking the "tasteful" photo of the two women from winning a prize in a photographic competition backed by the City of Sydney.

Four of the five judges in the charity's MyPlace-MyFace contest are believed to have chosen the photo of the women, pictured on a hotel bed, for a second-place award.

But the chief judge was told this week to find a replacement because the mission thought the picture inappropriate and wanted it removed from the contest.

The photographer, Isabella Melody Moore, saw nothing improper about her picture and said blocking it amounted to censorship.

"Nudity is shown all the time in photography. It's an art ... It is disappointing because I would've liked my photo to be shown," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted her as saying.

Moore, 24, said her image, Bibs Hotel, was not meant to have sexual overtones and she and the friend pictured were not lesbians.

"Nudity is natural and it's real ... we're just lying there next to each other," she said.

Her friend, Amy Tuxworth, 23, said blocking the award was ridiculous and unfair.

"It's what art is - being able to express yourself. And that photo represents nothing but friendship and fun ... It shouldn't inhibit a decision. Would it change if we had tops on or something?" she stated.

But after the mission issued a statement defending its decision and leaving unclear whether the contest would go ahead after attracting more than 200 entries, the City of Sydney said it would.

"Wesley Mission supports the spirit of the photographic exhibition but cannot support the display of such photos in a church building," a spokeswoman said.

And a public exhibition of finalist contest photos at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre in Chippendale would continue as planned, but without Wesley Mission's involvement.

"We will be exhibiting the photo in question because, as per the judging panel, we were supportive of that picture," a Sydney council spokeswoman said.

The Australian Centre for Photography, represented on the judging panel, said before the council's intervention that it believed in freedom of expression and blocking the photo called the contest's credibility into question.

The winners will be named at the exhibition opening on August 17. (ANI)

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