I very much enjoyed your summer edition [PhotoMedia, Summer 2008]. It was my first time seeing your magazine. The images and print quality were outstanding.
One thing that did not please me were Peter Kaplan's images of the nudes perched in dangerous places ["Top of the World," page 30].It is all right for Mr. Kaplan to risk his life, but placing models in danger for the whim these photos express is just depressingly irresponsible. It would be different if the models were experienced metal workers or climbers, but there was no indication of that in the article.
No artist wants restraints, but I would say there is very little of value in anything lacking the concern for human life. Even in the age of "Jackass: The Movie," art remains nothing if not a testament (on every level) to the judgment of the artist as a human being.
There probably are occasions when a photo is worth the ultimate sacrifice, but these nudes don't offer anything aesthetically or editorially that meet that standard. Mr.Kaplan should consider pulling them from his portfolio and refrain from shooting more, unless he would like to do portraits of himself hanging nude from structures.
Maybe he could dangle from the Eiffel Tower or the Space Needle. ... At least he would get a kudo or two for comic relief.
— Royal Mason, via e-mail
The editor responds: The models who posed for Kaplan's nude images were there on a completely voluntary basis; many were Kaplan's personal friends. At no time were the models put "in danger." They were under constant supervision from Kaplan and his assistants, all of whom are experienced climbers who practice the same rigorous safety procedures as ironworkers.