A Scottish photographer has become entangled in a bitter legal battle with The National Trust over “artistic nudes” he shot inside one of their castles.
Howard Kennedy insists the furor surrounding the nude shots he took of 25-year-old Rachelle Summers at the castle is now causing his business and professional reputation irreparable damage, whilst also claiming he had the correct permission to shoot the series.
The 15th-Century fortress known as Craigievar Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and is said to have been the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Following the shoot, Kennedy and his wife Karen offered the prints for sale worldwide. It wasn’t until four years later that the images came to the attention of Gabriel Forbes-Sempill - the daughter of Lord Sempill, who gifted the ancient monument to The National Trust in 1963.
Following the complaint, the Trust has denied granting Kennedy permission to shoot the series of photos. Their statement included the notion that they “would never sanction photographs of this nature, especially at a location that is regularly visited by families with children." They insist there’s no evidence to suggest permission was granted for a photographer to shoot nude images at the venue. That may be due to the fact - by Kennedy’s own claims – the shoot was arranged on the back of an oral agreement. Kennedy is adamant he acted correctly to the best of his knowledge and even paid £200 in rental costs for the space, but has no paperwork or emails to back it up. He is now suing the Trust for £50,000 ($66,600) in libel damages after his business allegedly nosedived.
The barrister’s statement on the case reads:
The present action concerns the circumstances surrounding Mr Kennedy's attendance at one of the National Trust for Scotland's properties, Craigievar Castle, in Aberdeenshire, on 23 February 2012, where he took a series of nude photographs of a model for commercial purposes.
Mr Kennedy's case is that he entered into an oral contract with NTS photo librarian, John Sinclair, on 21 February 2012, for the express purpose of shooting nude photographs of this nature.
He further contends that NTS staff were fully aware of the specific nature of the photoshoot at the time, including via the oversight of at least one female member of staff, who is said to have supervised the photoshoot throughout, either in person or by way of CCTV.
The National Trust for Scotland disputes this factual case.
The case is scheduled for a later date.
Lead image credit: Adam Derewecki
[via the Mirror]