Artist: Shelagh Howard

Medium: Photography

Censored By: Tumblr

Date of censorship: May 2020

Was there notification of removal? If so, what was the reason given?

Against community guidelines, nudity.

Was there the opportunity to appeal? If so, did you appeal and what was the response?


What, if any, were the consequences of the removal for you? 

Emotional distress, loss of potential income, exclusion from a significant event.


This work, part of a new series, ironically, about censorship, was juried into a prestigious photography festival in Toronto at the Londsdale Gallery. Due to the pandemic the show went online. I have largely stopped displaying my work on social media due to frustration at the censorship rules that seem to be disproportionately directed at cis women, women of color, and the LGBTAQ+ community, so had been thrilled to have it in this gallery show. The gallery used Tumblr to present the show online and we were forced by Tumblr to censor my work for it to be included. Having committed to never again mutilate the female body to conform to censorship, now I had to, or have it left out altogether. Instead of mutilating the nipples, I censored the images with words, but it seems to me they look even worse. After all of the work and costs involved in printing and framing the work, the fact that a bot has forced me to censor has me frankly beside myself.

Artist Website:

Artist Instagram: @shelaghhowardart