The Age of Innocence is a 1995 photography and poetry book by David Hamilton. The book contains images of early-teen girls, often nude, accompanied by lyrical poetry. Images are in a boudoir setting and photographed mainly in colour using a soft-focus filter, with some shots in black-and-white.
The book is one of Hamilton’s most popular titles. According to the Los Angeles Times, the book’s images are “thought by thousands of critics and consumers to be socially acceptable, even wonderful.” Likewise The New York Times stated the book received critical praise. Outside of art critics however the book has been criticised. A journalist from The New York Times described the book as “the essence of icky…”, and similarly opined that “The author could certainly be considered a dirty old man.” A journalist from Time stated he was both amused and repelled by the book, calling it “as campy as it is creepy”.
The book is available for sale on Amazon.com, and in bookshops around the world. Whilst the book has not been deemed illegal in any jurisdiction, the nature of the pictures within it have caused debate over what constitutes child pornography in both the US and the UK.
David Hamilton (15 April 1933 – 25 November 2016) was a British photographer and film director best known for his photography of young women and girls, mostly in the nude. His signature soft focus style was called the “Hamilton Blur”, which was erroneously thought to be achieved by smearing Vaseline on the lens of his camera. It was not created that way. Hamilton’s images became part of an “art or pornography” debate.
In October 2016, French presenter Flavie Flament accused him of raping her in 1987, when she was 13 years old. In November 2016, French magazine L’Obs published anonymous accounts from three other former models affirmed to have been raped by Hamilton. Hamilton issued a statement threatening legal action against his accusers and claimed that he did not do anything wrong. On 25 November 2016, he was found dead in his Paris apartment by apparent suicide.