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Wyatt Neumann is a photographer and a father. In 2014 he took his two-year-old daughter Stella on a cross-country road trip, photographing their journey along the way. Neumann captured sunsets and cornfields and, of course, Stella, often donning one of most two-year-old girls’ two favorite ensembles: a princess dress and nothing at all.
Neumann was determined, somehow, to turn all the hate directed his way into something beautiful. Rather than ignoring the criticism lodged against him, he created a new series in which he juxtaposed the hateful comments with the corresponding images he maintained were innocent. What he created was a photography show that presents both sides of the moral debate, allowing each visitor to interpret the images individually.
The title of the subsequent exhibition, “I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR CHILDREN –- The Sexualization of Innocence in America,” was in part inspired by an online comment attached to one of Neumann’s works that read: “The whole thing is sickening and I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR CHILDREN.” The exhibition examines the attacks launched against his photographs as well as what he sees as a segment of contemporary culture, thriving off shame and censorship, that incited such attacks.
"When I decided to do the show I was so upset and I was like, You know what? I think this is beautiful," Neumann continued. "I’m going to show these to the world the way that I saw them when I took them. I’m going to put them in beautiful frames on beautiful walls in a beautiful gallery."