Photoshoot mythbusting

A few years ago, I was mostly shooting attractive and rather undressed models. I now find more satisfaction in shooting journeys and personal moments, but as a straight male with a taste for contemplation, I once in a while enjoy shooting a beautiful girl. Let's be honest, it's also a great way to drive traffic to this blog (honestly, why did you click in the first place?) and I don't happen to have easy access to kittens. But it also makes people around me very curious... so today, I will answer the questions you always ask me face to face:
  1. How do I find models and what happens next?
  2. What do my acquaintances think of female nudity in my pictures?
  3. And finally the one question from my male audience: do you get laid a lot? That is seriously the number one question I get, and I am a market oriented kind of guy.
Ah ah, I totally lured you in here :) You are weak. 

How did I happen to shoot nudity? 

At the very beginning, I mostly shot friends or colleagues I got along with, portraits only. I am very grateful for the incredible amount of time they gave me, especially because they had me when I was learning tons and frankly, not at my best. They know we they are. 
One of my friend, a fearless lady, ask me if she could pose naked for me. She did it to tease a boy she liked, and I very much believe for her self esteem, which is a good and very common reason why women ask to pose for me. Because we didn't want anyone we knew to recognize her where she worked (being a free minded woman doesn't imply that you are professionally suicidal), pictures ended up being quite low key, discret, and focused on her shapes rather than her face. Those pictures got a lot of success, among men and women, for different reasons...



The male audience comments could be summarized in those terms: "I'd hit that + nice tits + did you bang her?" I'll address that later, I've got to work on my suspense skills. So from males, almost never a comment on composition, framing choices etc. The worst part for me was this comment I got one day: "I should really buy an SLR and start doing that". This is awful for the following reasons:

  • That is insulting to the models, as it implies that any expensive camera gets them naked, as if they can't resist their  own vanity & your wealth. 
  • It was insulting to me because that guy was just assuming that my pictures were just the fruit of owning an expensive camera, and that he could do the same. 
  • Finally, it showed that some men still think, unconsciously or not, that if a woman is naked in a room with a man, she automatically will want to shag him. Some have a lot to learn...
I did have few nice photography related remarks from men, mostly good photographers who could see what I was trying to achieve.

The female audience however surprised me.  I was first a tad bit ashamed to show them my work, by fear of being misjudged as someone who objectifies women. I later realized that the most positive, photography oriented and fulfilling comments came from women. They were complimenting my work for picturing them in a way they found faltering, and I ended up having countless shooting proposals, which is why I haven't had to paid a model for a long time. I was very happy to see that the female audience wanted to be pictured the way I do it, and soon realized that ladies only were providing useful feedback.

I now live in a new city where I know fewer people than in Ireland, so I seek models on portfolio sites too. This is how a shooting normally happens:
  1. A friend asks me to shoot her, or I ask her. The other option is I go on a site the likes of modelmayhem.com, and contact a model.
  2. We discuss shooting conditions by email: do you want a right release contract, do you want to bring a friend, are you comfortable with nudity etc. 
  3. Then I send examples of what I'm looking for in terms of mood, or shooting technique
  4. We agree on time and place, and price if it is a paid job, all by email
  5. I meet the model on shooting location (sometimes in a bar for the more cautious ones), we usually chat about the weather for 5 mins.
  6. She pulls from her bag the clothes she brought for the shooting, we chose what to start with, and we just get to it.
  7. When done, I ask for time to develop the film and scan the negative, and I send only the best pictures.  Some paid models don't care, they only want the money, some do it for the pictures, some want both, it's always different. 
  8. Few of them I saw again for shooting, less became friends. Most of the time we never met again.
Some ask me how we you get from "hello" to "can you please get naked?". First of all, it is all agreed prior to meeting, so usually the model just...gets naked after 5 mins. It sounds weird I know. I usually look away like a idiot, which is dumb because I'll stare at her thru my camera for 2 hours after that, seeking the best way to capture what I like about her. I do it because...my mummy taught me to be polite I guess.

Sometimes, it's just happening strangely. Take those pictures for example (that I love):




I met her in a store where she worked. I immediately thought: "that girl as such a unusual but beautiful look, I'd love to shoot her". Since I was with my girlfriend, I dared to ask as she would not think I'm hitting on her. She said yes and a few days later came to our place. I was shooting her in the bedroom, asking for nothing specific, and she innocently took off her top...I did not ask for this, we never really talked, I never asked for her motivation to pose in the first place. She showed the pictures to her boyfriend, who liked them, and I never heard of her anymore.

Other times, the model came with her mum who was forcing to pause as a FHM pin up when she clearly hated it. Didn't go well. I also had twice ladies going full nude although we agreed on portraits only, to later tell me that I can keep but not use the pictures, that they are only for them. Pretty lame when you spend 100$ of film and a day of processing... I could never post those of course, keep in mind an email is worth a contract in many countries so respect your commitments. Of course if I knew if was a order for personal shots, I'd have charged them.

The one lesson  here is: ask everything and anything before to clarify. No one want to feel surprised on tricked in a situation where they feel vulnerable.

How do my friends and acquaintances react to it?

Most ladies, as I said, liked it. I'm sure some despise it but they never tell me. In some cases they were suspicious about my intentions towards the model but the appreciated the work (yes there is a full day of work after shooting). When they are critical of my shots, it's never about the nudity, it's more often about my narrow vision or lack of evolution. Rightfully I must admit.

Most guys...well you know already. A lot of male colleagues are very interested, judgmental and envious at the same time. They make classy remarks full of implication such as "still doing nudy pictures?" I love those, condescending moral judgment with a subtly disguised request for boobies.

My true male friends made the effort to get interested in the photographic aspect of things, they display a healthy mix of appreciation for the opposite gender combined with a little photographic analysis of the image.

My family... well I don't have much and my mum couldn't care less as long as I treat my lady right.


Finally, the one question to rule them all: do you get laid a lot?

To be truthful, this is often formulated as such: "wooow nice cans, did you bang her? Got her number?"
Yes I do have her number, we've met...and really? You think you can just call and be like "hey, I'm that guy you've never heard off, but since you pose naked, I assume you don't need to know more for use to bang right?" Yeah try that, tell me how that goes.

Well dear readers, here is the answer you have been waiting for: yes, I bang most of them. Sometimes at the same time. We just have random orgies where we never use protection. Also se often black out on crack cocaine so i'm not too sure, but I do believe there was once a poney in the batch. Then I make videos and show it to my Grand' Ma who applauds while summoning Satan in goat blood. Great fun.

For those of you who don't get sarcasm, the answer is: no, I don't get laid via photography. Here are the reasons why:
  • For most of the time I have had a girlfriend.
  • Models who pose to make a living don't give a damn about you as a man, they expect decent behavior, payement and goodbye. Nice pics are a bonus.
  • Models who pose as a way to work on their self esteem, or as a personal treat, don't flirt with you. They flirt with their reflection in the camera. It's a thing between them and...them. 
  • Being naked in the presence of a man does not imply desire. Otherwise it would be a mega orgy at the beach every summer (at least in France). 
  • If I paid, or even more if they volunteer, I have a lot of pressure not to fuck up, so I stay focused.
Has anything ever happened with a model? Yes. It would have happened in a bar if not after a shooting. It happened because there was mutual attraction. Modeling had little to do with it, appart from being the reason for meeting in the first place. I won't unveil my personal life, but in 10 years shooting, that happened probably...twice? Much much less than what happened when simply going out. And no, I won't tell you which ones.
So if you are in for the action, I'm not saying it can't lead to that. If you try real hard...but still, save your money, go to clubs, online dating sites or parties, you'll get laid a lot more and mostly, you'll stop polluting that field of work with you behavior.


Conclusion

I want to close this topics with two points:
  1. There are 59 pictures on my portfolio as it is. 7 of them display nudity. Do you have an eye filter that prevents you from seeing the rest? 
  2. I once looked for men to shoot. When I asked guys that are not models, most freaked out, as if it was some cheap gay move on them. On the other hand, gay men where quite comfy with the idea, and often volunteering, without seeing imaginary hook ups everywhere. That's very funny how the average straight male is full of opinions on naked female models, but very very few would have the balls to pose naked. Why you ask me? I guess...the values of the old fashion all powerful male probably exist to hide a form of discomfort. We conveniently put all the pressure of physical attractiveness on women, so we wouldn't have to deal with it ourselves. The old white dominant male relies of social status and money. Once you've had the balls to pause naked for a female photographer, you may have a more interesting opinion to share. 
I hope that satisfies your curiosity ! I am not offended at all by such questions, just a but tired of answering them instead of talking actual photography. 

1 comment:

  1. PetAuJus40002/26/14, 3:33 PM

    Only 2 in 10 years ! I gonna sell my DSLR and buy a guitar ;)

    ReplyDelete