Australia's arts community has defended a photographer whose exhibition of images of naked children was shut down.

Police shut down Bill Henson's installation at a Sydney gallery before it even began due to complaints about frontal nudity in the photos of 12 and 13-year-olds, according to a Sky News report.

Some critics declared the images were pornographic.

The country's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd even described the exhibition as "absolutely revolting," adding that the photos were without artistic merit, reported Sky News.

Police have been considering whether to bring charges of indecency against Henson.

But playwright and theatre director Michael Gow has hit back by attacking the PM, saying his statement was at odds with a message he gave at a major meeting last month involving leading members of the arts community.

"Among the many cliches endorsed at the 2020 Summit was the one about art... being provocative and challenging," Gow wrote in a letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Now that some art has provoked, what has happened? The Prime Minister who invited us to Canberra has questioned the abilities and credentials of a major Australian artist."

The former director of Canberra's National Gallery of Australia, Betty Churcher, described Mr Henson's work as "breathtakingly beautiful" and said there was no suggestion of pornography in the photos.

"In this day and age, we are going far too far in the wrong direction of censorship," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Will we end up being so censored that there's nothing left for us to contemplate?"

Click here to read more on this story from Sky News..