Models – Please be safe
Normally I post about my shoots but today I want to reach out to fellow models and other girls looking to get into modelling. Your safety is very important! This is aimed at newbie models but also available to experienced models.
In the past month I have felt quite alarmed reading about the bad experiences other models have had lately. Mostly, this is mainly something only newbie models tend to worry about. However an experienced model has come fourth to reveal what I can only describe as a horror story.
In the past month, I have heard about two shockingly bad bondage shoots where the “photographer” ( and I use the term loosely ) has taken advantage of the model and even put her life at risk. Another where the photographer has finally been convicted 2 years after the assault, and last but not least, a photographer has been outed for his volatile behaviour towards his models and make up artists.
Over the span of my modelling years I have been very fortunate but I take no risks, one might say I am over careful but would you really risk your life for a couple of great photos or a few hundred quid? What is your life worth to you? OK, so perhaps not all dodgy photographers are rapists or murderers, or even sadists exploiting the model scene to find his unwilling pray but it could still be a day from hell.
So I would like to outline a few points in basic common sense – because I know we all take risks and cut corners from time to time.
The Reference System:
When a photographer first contacts you, check his references! If he has none, ask to contact models he has previously worked with ( …and no, I do not mean accept his word that she said “he’s a really great guy” or even a copy and paste or screen shot – these can be faked ). If he refuses to provide you with suitable references, don’t arrange to meet with him unless you can take a chaperone who can stay in the same room. I had a photographer once ask if my chaperone could sit in the car outside the photographers house, I said no – a lot can still happen behind a locked door.
OK, so this photographer has stacks of great references – good sign? ( well some of the bigger names have gotten in trouble for bullying and abuse ) a lot of negative references are sometimes not left ( possibly the model is ashamed, frightened or sadly doesn’t want to lose paid work. There are many reasons why this could be ) take time to email the models who left those previous references – most are only too happy to help out, so don’t worry.
The photographers references all came back singing his praise? Start planning your shoot 😉
Now when I am planning my shoots I ALWAYS insist the conversations are all held on Purple Port. This means if anything goes wrong or he turns nasty you have proof and Purple Port can handle the matter accordingly. Some photographers will ask you to chat via WhatsApp, text or even on the phone ( now I am not saying don’t do this but keep in mind if he says anything inappropriate its harder to prove, screen shots can be doctored and phone calls are your word against his ) As a rule I won’t Whatsapp or text to discuss the shoot as I like everything in writing and in one place – simply because I am forgetful LOL!
If during your messages or phone calls he is inappropriate or you just get a gut feeling, trust it and either explain you feel uncomfortable and want to bring a chaperone or you would prefer to cancel. Most decent photographers will totally understand and want you to feel safe.
Set your levels, and make those levels clear. You don’t need to explain why. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.
If you are shooting at the photographers house or a studio, ask for the address – tell someone this is where you will be on said time and date.
Same applies for the photographers phone number.
If you are shooting location, ask where? This can be a tough one so I share my location with a few friends on my phone and tell them I am off on a shoot and can they keep an eye on me. Still, get the photographers address though, just incase.
If you’re anything like me and you always have your phone to hand, take a photo of his car registration. I even take photos of the location, most of the time the photographer is in them, although I didn’t plan it that way.
On the Shoot: ( Hopefully its going great, the photographer is a laugh and the hours are flying by and the epic shots are flowing )
Some models have said “ Oh he seemed respectful in his emails but on the shoot he was awful”. Inappropriate behaviour could be anything from making snide remarks, insults, bullying, pressuring, level pushing, asking for sex, name calling and other forms of belittling – that’s just the verbal stuff. In this situation, pack your stuff and leave – his behaviour is unacceptable!
It is not a photographers right to touch you, they must ask permission to move a strand of hair or adjust your dress ( in most cases I have no issue with this level of contact but many models do – photographers please check it’s OK first ) Keeping this in mind – grabbing, groping, slapping the bum or putting his hands where they should not be is a huge violation and definitely time to pack and get out!
Never agree to do a bondage shoot, rope shoot or anything that involves you being tied up unless you have a chaperone with you . Plus, all Shibari and suspension should be done by a professional rigger, not the photographer. Always insist on a chaperone!!!
If on the shoot he was inappropriate in any way, leave him a negative reference and report him.
Violence or sexual assault should be reported to the Police straight away.
Assuming the shoot went well ( ..and I really hope it did ) thank him when you get your photos back and leave him a good reference. Most of us really value our references! 🙂
A few additional points
If you are under the age of 18, the photographer needs parental consent for you to model for him. It’s also highly advised to take a chaperone and any decent photographer will insist on this.
It is illegal to photograph a model under the age of 18 in any sexually explicit or provocative poses, lingerie, sheer, topless, or nudes and photographers have no right to ask this of you if you are under the age of 18.