Lingering Controversy 
The "Porno Pictures" of Shireland

I will bet that a week doesn't go by that I don't get an e-mail from someone who brings up the photographer that was arrested on the Shireland grounds for taking "porno pictures".  After considerable searching, I was able to track that photographer down to obtain the other side of the story.  The photographer wishes to remain anonymous, but provided me with some of the pictures taken and this narrative of what really happened:

I am the photographer who was involved in the incident that now seems to have become an urban legend. I feel no need to defend myself or justify what we did. It is actually quite amusing to me how this story has been exaggerated. At the request of the owner of this site, I have relaying the actual facts of the incident.

I used to go out to Rockford quite a bit from the Chicago area, and I use to pass Shireland all the time. About 4 years ago, I actually stopped by and explored the land. This was before "No Trespassing" signs were posted. I found the land not only fascinating with it's dilapidated buildings and remnants of Shireland, but I also thought the land itself was very eye catching. I have been a photographer for 30 years (glamour, fashion, artistic, and figure photography - not porn) and realized this would be a great location to do a shoot at. I am always looking for locations to do unique nude shoots at, and the land and buildings at Shireland presented a very interesting contrast to the beauty of the nude female.

I told a model I had worked with before about my idea, and she was immediately interested. I went out about a week before the shoot to scope it out again. The land now had "No Trespassing" signs on it, but it was still easily accessible simply by stepping through the gates.

We went out on a Saturday afternoon and freely walked around and shot in just about every corner and accessible building on the land. We shot very beautiful artistic photos and did some work with light and shadows - nothing that could be construed in any way as porn. We were pretty much doing our very last shots when 2 troopers drove up. It turns out someone that leases the land from the owners was fishing in a pond there and saw us and called the sheriff's office. It was about an hour from the time the call came in and the time they arrived. The troopers were actually very nice once they learned what we doing and that were not vandalizing anything. They explained they get called out regularly to the site and that there had been a great deal of vandalism recently. They actually attempted to talk the man into not pressing charges but he insisted to, as he put it, "Make an example out of us."

We were charged with Criminal Trespassing, and nothing else. We made a first court appearance to enter a plea, which was not guilty. At our second appearance, the complaining witness didn't show up, and the state's attorney asked for a continuance because the witness was in Wisconsin working and couldn't get back for the court date. The attorney stated the witness was definitely interested in pressing the charges. At our third appearance, he was a no show again, and the charges were dropped. This was about 6 months after our arrest.

I have no problem admitting we broke the law by trespassing and have no malice against the troopers who arrested us. They did what they had to do and were very nice to us. They actually seemed a little annoyed that the guy wanted to pursue the charges. I feel pretty confident that the witness never intended to show up, and just pressed the charges to try to scare us. All in all, it was a minor nuisance, we have great story to tell,  and we got some amazing photos.

That is pretty much it - no porn shots, no porn movies, no snuff films, no Satanic cults. It is actually quite amusing to me how much this relatively uninteresting and quite harmless incident has grown into the widely exaggerated stories it has. It's actually kind of fun to be part of an urban legend.

(After reviewing the dozen pictures I was sent, I tend to agree with the description of "tasteful nudes".  It is just like playing "telephone" when we are kids: start a story and wait long enough and it can turn into just about anything we want it to be. Ed)