One of the best artists of alternative nude (non-pornographic) art, Philip Warner — popularly known as Lithium Picnic — is being forced to sell off his photography equipment and even his studio so that he can defend his right to express himself through his art. A claim that he has no right to photograph his friend Apnea and other models has been brought down on him.
“We know we are in the right and we won’t give up or go away until we are able to live our lives freely and unmolested,” says Apnea in her latest update about the situation. But they are facing a cruel foe.
“Spiritually speaking nothing cleanses the soul more than disproportionate retribution,” Sean Suhl, the owner of Suicide Girls, wrote on his blog (see his complete quote in the comments at this link). You and I know that is false, and that it is an affectation of character that the owner of Suicide Girls should be ashamed of. It is an affectation that is guiding his actions as he tries to destroy Lithium and Apnea.
It comes down to this: Lithium Picnic honored the letter (but perhaps not the spirit) of a non-competition agreement with the Suicide Girls, and he will likely win the legal challenge once it is heard — but the owner of the Suicide Girls appears to be hoping to end Lithium’s livelihood by simply overwhelming him, burdening him with protracted costs of defense until he has nothing left.
There have been gallery shows and the like in Lithium’s benefit, to keep his spirits up and scrape up enough funds to retain his lawyer, but more needs to be done. I did a small part by asking Wired to write about this case (fingers crossed; I got a reply from the columnist saying she will check into it). It seems the alt community is well aware of this struggle, but perhaps if it can reach even more people Suhl’s tactic will be exposed. Perhaps Suhl will even have to repay Lithium for the harm he has done. If you know the editors of any arts sections of any liberal papers, ask them to write about this story.