Random Thoughts

Couple sues over bath time photos of their children

Written by Gail Bjork

Maybe it’s time to keep your young children fully clothed when you photograph them at bathtime.

Stop taking bathtime photos!?I am not easily left speechless, but this news story initially knocked the wind out of me. It is a story that every parent of young children would be aware.

Family photos dropped off at Walmart

According to news reports, a family dropped off 144 family photos for developing at a Walmart store in Arizona. Among the photos were a few pictures of what the parents considered innocent snapshots of their three children playing around during and after a bath. Some of the photos showed the children naked.

The Walmart photo developer saw eight photographs of the children that she found shocking. She then turned them over to police. According to the police report, photos were of the children in provocative positions with their private parts exposed.

Accusations against the parents

The parents were accused of sexual abuse. The children were taken away and put into child custody where they were examined for sexual abuse. In addition, the parents were placed on a sex offender list and the mother was suspended from her job.

A judge ruled the pictures harmless.

The parents are now suing Walmart and State authorities.

Heated discussions

Lots of heated discussions about this matter are being discussed and debated in photography and other online forums. Here is a sampling of what is being said:

  • Photo labs can’t be hindered from reporting possible child pornography.
  • Innocent people shouldn’t be afraid to develop their family and vacation photos.
  • A Walmart photo technician should not  judge photography.
  • Walmart shouldn’t be sued. The authorities who took the children into custody and placed their parent’s names of a sexual offender list should be sued.
  • A child pornographer isn’t likely to take photographs to places like Walmart for developing. Innocent parents taking innocent snapshots would.
  • It is irresponsible to put nude pictures of your children into the hands of a Walmart employee. The parents are fortunate the employee called authorities instead of distributing them online.

It is not my intention in this article to state my position on this situation, though I have one based on available facts. My intention is to inform others about this situation, so they think twice before dropping off family photos at photo developer.

Oh, and remember to keep your young children fully clothed when your photograph them at bath time.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.


  • The employee at Walmart should take a lot at their family album, there are probably tons of pictures of him or her at bathtime of the same nature. Ridiculous, anyone who has a family would know that these pictures are innocent and mean nothing.

  • Parents should not have to dress their child for bath time pictures, that is silly, the fun of bath pictures is to catch them naturally.
    Employees working the photo section need to be educated in specific standards as to what is good or bad.
    The authorities need to stop over-reacting.