| BOSTON, April 26
BOSTON, April 26 Social media company Instagram
pulled photos by U.S. photographer Imogen Cunningham promoting
an exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, saying they violated
decency standards, even as parent company Facebook Inc
faces criticism for users' live videos of murder.
At issue were posts of 1920s black-and-white photos by
Cunningham depicting close-ups of a naked women's torso, which
turn the body into an almost abstract shape, and a 1974 photo of
Cunningham at the age of 91 gazing around a tree trunk at one of
her favorite models, who is shown nude.
"This startled us," Karen Haas, the museum's curator of
photographs, said in a phone interview on Wednesday. "Here is
this artist who has been dead for a long time, who had this
seven-decade career, who fought the fight to have photography
considered as fine art along with her contemporaries so long
ago, and we felt this fight was long since over."
The 140-year-old art museum is one of the largest in the
Instagram took down two of Cunningham's images: "Triangles,"
depicting a close-up of a woman's breast, and "Sunbath (Alta on
the Beach)." It also removed Judy Dater's 1974 "Imogen and
This comes as social media companies are encountering
criticism after users posted live videos of violence. This week
a Thai man broadcast himself killing his 11-month-old daughter,
and earlier this month a man posted a video of himself murdering
an elderly man in Cleveland. Both videos were posted to
Facebook officials did not respond to a request for comment
Instagram's online guidelines say the service does not allow
photos depicting nudity, even if they are "artistic or creative
in nature," and that it prohibits "some photos of female
nipples." The site says it does allow photos of post-mastectomy
scarring and women breastfeeding, as well as of paintings and
sculptures depicting nudity.
The Boston Globe first reported the controversy.
Cunningham, who lived from 1883 through 1976 and is best
work for her 1920s close-ups of flowers, is regarded as a
pioneer in American photography.
Like other museums, the MFA regards Instagram and other
social media platforms as a way to attract visitors and expand
their educational reach, said spokeswoman Karen Franscona.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)