Saturday, November 20, 2010


My post the other day got me thinking about working on putting up some of my photographs... and working on my photographs... and my OCD kicked into high gear in a major way. I can literally sit ALL DAY and work on something if I get really into it. Nothing will pull me away, not having to go to the bathroom, not pain, nothing. Not even having to go somewhere else (this is what gets me into trouble). Anyway, I got really obsessed and decided I just HAD to put up my new "movie" series. Below are some samples:

Soooo, I got all excited to put this all up on my website. And I did. And you can see the whole thing here:
Don't worry, it's not attached to anything yet!

There are 4 movies involved thus far: Carrie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Mommie Dearest, and Ghostbusters. So yeah, I get excited to put these things on my website. It's not like I ever sell prints or anything so I don't know why I bother. Maybe one day I suppose. I am thinking about getting a better printer. I would LOVE to have a gallery show... or to pitch my photography to a small press or something. I don't know.

Okay, I'm slowly getting to my point here! I used to put everything up on my website without a care. Then I started doing school visits. Then I started noticing that kids were going to my site. Then I started noticing that I was getting popular. Eeek. I recall a while ago that a nice librarian warned me that a B&W photograph I had on my site had a bad word in the background. I quickly removed the photo the minute I got home!

So. Are these photos too much for kids? In Carrie she doesn't actually have real blood on her - in the scene kids dump paint or cows blood or something on her at a school dance and she goes home and soaks in the tub. But yeah, in my photo it looks gross. So is it bad to have it on my site? If the answer is yes, what if I put up a disclaimer in front of the section or a warning?

This is hard for me because I really have a lot of artistic passions and I want to display them all. But how to do it? Or rather, how to safely do it?



alvinaling said...

Hmm. This is a tough call. First of all, I would say yes, the "bloody" photos aren't ones I'd want young kids to see.

I have another author I work with who has been writing mostly YA, but has a younger book coming out, and she's considering creating a new website for the younger stuff, because she doesn't necessarily want children reading her blog, necessarily, or reading about the older stuff. Of course, they probably will find it anyway, but I don't think it's a bad idea to separate out your children's content from adult content in some way--either on a different website, or perhaps a clearly marked link that will at least give parents/adults an indication of the content and not be browsing with their kids and click on it accidentally.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine Tomie dePaola posting that image of Carrie on his website?

Me either.

Nikki Shannon Smith said...

You have some great photos, and I love all kinds of art, but as an author, mom, and fourth grade teacher, I would have to say that the bloody pix are a bit much for kids. I like Alvina's idea of a separate website or a link that says "for my older readers," or something that gives a heads-up. (I have actually seen that on author websites.)

Sometimes while I teach, I project author/illustrator websites from my computer onto a large screen. I would be pretty horrified if I accidentally projected Carrie for my whole class to see. There could also be fall out from parents. A warning is a really good idea!

My two cents.

Meghan McCarthy said...

Hmm, yes, a projection of that could be really bad! I see that now. Do you know of a specific website or two that you could direct me to as examples so that I could take a look? I'm just unsure how to deal with this. I feel like I have to split myself into 2 different people and a lot of times it's really hard for me to do!

As for Tomie de Paola: I can't imagine him doing most of the things I do or him having a website that looks anything like mine so no.

The flip side is that if you turn on the TV you'll see a million times worse and in fact all of my photos came from movies that played on TV. But I know, I know, I wouldn't want my name attached to anything bad.

Don't schools block YouTube videos? I should just make a video out of all of my photos - really a photo that changes and put it on YouTube and back on my site so that kids in school can't see it.

Grace Lin said...

Meghan, a lot of people have separate websites for certain books--didn't you have one just for "aliens?" I don't think it would be that much of a stretch for you to have a separate site for photography with a link on your blog. Or just a different page where the link to it says "Personal Photography (not advised for kids)."

Dav Pilkey and many other authors have sites that split-- his says something like "boring adult stuff" and the other link goes to fun kid stuff. And his boring adult stuff isn't even controversial, it's just the bio stuff that he doesn't think kids would be interested in. I don't think it's splitting yourself into two people, it's just showing your personality has different facets.

Meghan McCarthy said...

Well let me ask this: does it matter if I just have a new page with a warning or an actual link to a new site? Paying for a new site every year costs a lot of money and it would essentially do the same thing! The advantage of a new site is that it can get a new web address. I did that with aliens because it's - IF I really wanted to sell photography, it would be nice to say - or some such, but I don't think I'm there quite yet.

Kristin said...

Meghan, I'm commenting as a reader, a fan, and a mom. I'd do something to keep the two separate - I like the different web address idea, but I also understand the cost. As for the warning, I could see one of my kids just clicking right through it. And I am afraid two of the images would bother one son in particular (therefore interrupting MY sleep. ha.)

That said, you are a wealth of creativity, I'm sure you'll come up with something. It can't be too far off from authors that write in different genres or under different names.

One last thought is to have a flickr page for starters. That's free.

Good luck!

Nikki Shannon Smith said...

The most recent author I can think of that had to deal with that is Jessica Burkhart. She writes a tween series (Canterwood Crest), but is venturing out into YA. Burkhart is an alias, and she has decided to use her real last name, Ashley, for her YA books. Her site changes often, and I just looked at it, and the initial warning she had is gone. First she gave a heads-up about the two names and genres associated with them. Then, one link (I think her Facebook) said something like "For my older friends." Now, she has a link on her home page to her YA blog. She also has a "multi-media" button which goes to her trailers on YouTube.

Most schools have gotten pretty savvy about blocking out inappropriate things. A children's books website will not be blocked out, giving everyone access to everything. BUT, many schools may have YouTube blocked, so that may be a way around it. At one point, my students COULD get onto YouTube, but I haven't tried it lately.

I think if you have a YouTube/multi-media link that clearly says for adults, or "to be viewed with a parent" or any other warning, you'll be okay. Either the adults will screen it out, or the kid will be in trouble for viewing something that was clearly marked!

Good luck, Megan! I hope to have this problem myself one day, when I am published in both PBs and YA! :) (I have pondered this issue myself, and am using Nikki Shannon Smith instead of Nicole Smith, because when I googled my name I got a giant image of a naked breast. Most combinations of my name yielded VERY adult images. Gotta keep the kiddos safe!)

Meghan McCarthy said...

Hmm. I could pay for 2 different websites, but the minute I link to one from the other, paying for separate ones is just meaningless. I guess I was looking for advice for how to phrase things, etc. because I don't want anyone to think that when I say "for adults only" or whatnot that I DO have porn on there or something equally awful! gosh, adults would be afraid to click too! I know when I see warnings like that a lot I just won't even go there for fear that I'm going to see some sex act. So how on earth do I let people know that it's not like that, that it's photography of non-sexual, non violent matter? It's fake blood and gore, yes, but that's the extent of it.

I suppose I could give up on this whole thing of mine and just not post any of them and keep them to myself. I guess when I create something I just have this need to put it out there. I'm not even sure why. Artists always do that: they create, put it out there, and then cringe when they wait for the critique. Kind of dumb when you think about it.

thank you guys for the suggestions. I don't want to scare any kids or give them nightmares. I loved gore when I was little but was scared of a henry roussseau poster in my room. My parents had to take it down because it gave me nightmares. go figure.

Nikki: you have a bad predicament! Someone had bought a long time ago (that's why there's a dash in mine) but never used it. I had this huge fear that they were going to do something like put porn on it and I worried about that for a long, long time. What does an author do when there is another person's name out there who does just that? Yikes!

Actually... the more I look at that yellow photo, the more I can see how creepy it is.

Laura Ludwig Hamor said...

Why not exhibit and sell your OTHER work on etsy? It is very very inexpensive, you will have that web address to promote it.
Sophie Blackall cells her editorial art and prints on etsy.

Diana London said...

That's great that you're looking for input from others. Although I'm no expert on principles, I would have to wonder a few things about any child seeing those images. First, what do those images teach young girls about societies attitudes about violence towards girls and women? What does it teach young boys about what's okay to do to a girl or how to treat a woman - even if it is "just pretend?" There has been an alarming increase lately in the number of images, books and movies and tv shows that show women getting raped, murdered or otherwise abused. We could use less of the violence against women and more examples of men showing a proper respect for women and girls. This reminds me of a book called "Alex Opalstone and the Window of Heaven's View: Life 101" by TM Meek. I read the free chapter's preview and couldn't stop reading! It's about a thirteen year old girl who helps protect others from bullying and shares money with poor kids at lunch. She even imagines how God blesses us in our times of need (the chapter about the unseen angels helping out in a car accident is a must read!) Whenever the book finally gets published, I'll be one of the first to get it in my hands! Check it out (if you haven't already heard of it and read it). So far it's excellent with no signs of disappointment!

Meghan McCarthy said...

Well, they are all from different movies. the "blood scene" is from Carrie. Carrie doesn't get raped or abused or anything like that. she gets made fun of at a school dance and gets pigs blood dumped on her. The photo is of her in the bathtub washing it off. she gets revenge on everybody and that's what the movie is about. It's not a rape/abuse movie! It's Steven King thing. I'm not taking any photos of any movie like that! I'm doing photos of crazy movies. Mommie Dearest (the mom is nuts)... stuff like that. So I think you have the wrong impression. I mean, obviously if people just see the image by itself they may get the wrong impression so I'll have to explain that it's from the movie. I was very picked on in school so I sympathise with Carrrie.

Etsy is a good idea! I may just try that and see what happens.