Here's a new defense of naked photos by a politician. "They're art," says upstate New York Democratic county legislator C. Stephen Eckel, who also works as a photographer and has taught photography. Eckel, who last week yanked a pair of full frontal shots from his own website, calls the controversy over the photos a distraction. "“They have to resort to these lowdown, slimy tricks. This is just a low attack to put my stuff from an artistic portfolio to be used to smear me," Eckel tells the New York Post. "My integrity as a photographer and as an artist is strong and powerful, and my integrity as a county legislator is strong and powerful."
But his GOP rival Tony Micciche shoots back: "I don't see how anybody can not question the judgment of someone who puts something like this up on a website, especially where there's no safeguards for children to be protected from it." It's the first time there's been a flap about the photos, which were taken and posted 11 years ago when Eckel was getting his MFA. WHAM-TV reports the shots were "presented as art," and Gawker calls them "pretentious." What the public thinks will likely be obvious in tomorrow's re-election vote.