In the past I have ranted on about some of these photography workshops going on around the area. I have attended a few. Some were very organized or started out organized and then sort of fell apart… when you have a zillion people and schedules and a lot of bright shiny things pulling your attention this way and that, it can become difficult. Even with those, I feel I did gain something. I gained knowledge of scheduling, lighting, posing, personalities, networking. In the end I came to a point where I thought I would just not participate as much and continue to do my experimenting right here in my own studio.
For the most part, I like what I do and where I do it. I feel comfortable. All of my stuff is here. One of the ongoing thoughts and/or challenges has been to see just what different things I could produce right here in the very same 10′ x 10′ or so spot on planet Earth. I’ve shot men, women, kids, plants, burning forks, smoke, broken things and much more. I take whatever info I get from one shoot to the next and hope I can improve something or at least come up with some formula to create a standard type of shot I can use over and over again without wondering if it might work.
All of that said, I know I can always do better and that there are a ton of individuals out there who do a lot better work than I do. There could be a bunch of reasons for this… better equipment, better knowledge of how things work. These will all come in time if I continue to dabble with photography… maybe.
I’ve never felt like I was anything special doing this. I’ve never wanted to suggest I was better or knew more than someone else. I usually just try to make something that looks good and see if it causes any interest. I can look back over things I’ve shot and see where I might have improved. I also know that wherever I am at this point, better things are ahead but I am not there yet. This is the place in this post where things change and get uglier. Ready? I will make an attempt to be diplomatic, make a point and not name any names for now.
Over the last year or so, maybe more, it has come to my attention that a couple of the people I’ve worked with have had less than stellar encounters with one particular photographer in the area who runs photography workshops on a regular basis. I don’t know him, I have never met him. Looking at his work it appears as if he had better images 5 and 6 years ago but instead of improving, they’ve gone another direction. In discussing this with two completely different female models who don’t know each other, both have related to me the very same story.
The guy holds photography workshops. He has built up a network of photographers around the area who will attend these. In theory, and I suppose in reality, it works and is not a bad idea if it would work as they are advertised. Shooting an experienced model in some studio location and having someone to oversee or mentor an inexperienced photographer through it is a way for that inexperienced photographer to improve their skill level. Arranging for a photographer to pay for this time and training is a way to generate income for both the model and the person holding the workshop. Sounds good. Sounds like it might work and it probably does… as he continues to hold these on a very regular basis. It is my understanding that the guy is retired and/or this is his main thing to do. He has time to hunt people down. He has time to discuss the grand possibilities with potential models as well as many hobby photographers.
Somehow, communication is started. Either the model has contacted him or he has hunted a model. In order to see if a model might have the right stuff for one of these workshops, he will arrange a private pre-shoot. Sounds okay… kind of makes some sense. It IS good to know a person and how they tick. This is not exactly the way things are going to go…
You can’t bring an escort. He puts it this way: “Escorts are welcome to drop you off, meet me, check out where you’ll be shooting, and then come back after the shoot to pick you up. Great shoots are great because an intimate bond forms during the shoot. Best intentions aside, an escort inhibits both artists on some level – even if it’s minor – dousing that special spark that can make a good image great.” The two models who have related the story to me were alone, no escort. He suggests that models traveling though the area check him out and adds: “I may be able to organize a paid shoot or workshop for you with some reasonable notice. These are usually held on Sundays. I can be of help in getting some additional paid shoots for you and I can occasionally offer accommodations/ meals in my home for a few days if we are going to work together. I do expect the courtesy of your setting aside time for a personal shoot of reasonable length while you are here (2-3 hours) . I expect this to be treated as a priority early in your stay; not a short “quickie” the day you are leaving. If I am holding a group shoot or workshop for you, I am happy to provide references of other visiting models that have stayed but I insist on a “drama and diva free “zone.“
Evidently, the home is in a state of disarray along with a powerful smell of cat urine. After having had long phone and e-mail conversations with a potential model which lay out the plans for the shoot – including ideas, wardrobe, themes and such – things devolve. The model shows up and all of those ideas that were planned kind of fade away. What replaces those plans are nude “hands on” shots that go on for hours. It was described to me as “having it down to a science.” First, he’ll tell you why your images suck and why you suck as a model. He is there to rescue you from that shit you’ve been doing prior to knocking on his door that day. You may have the potential to make a lot of money modeling… but you’ll have to do it naked. You’ll have to pose “up to Playboy” or “up to Penthouse” style in order to make it in “the industry.” You’ll do what he suggests because he is this old fucker who has all of the experience and just the right kind of bullshit to make you think you should listen to him. Yes, this is kind of uncomfortable, hearing how you are a piece of shit but maybe if you get through this and follow his lead better things will be just around the corner.
Now that you’ve been mentally beaten down and intoxicated by the pungent smell of cat piss, you’ll do just about anything. When he suggests that you climb up on some piece of furniture and pose nude with your legs spread open, you are still thinking he might have a plan. He does. It is just not what you were thinking. He wants to shoot you “wet.” Wet? Yes… and he’s more than willing to help you get there. Out comes the lube or oil which is liberally applied. If you can’t take it from there, he will help you himself.
You thought you were coming in to catch a break, to get a lead on something better and maybe, just maybe make some extra cash modeling. Now you have this creepy old fuck fondling your junk. Those images of yourself modeling – even if you were thinking sexy Maxim, Playboy or whatever kinds of shots – are now nothing more than picture after picture of your oiled up twat. You have been violated.
Hours go by. Shots are taken. You may even get some of those back… but they look like shit and nothing you would ever want to really use. He will go on to the next person and the next person after that.
I don’t quite understand how this continues to go on. I know there are some people out there who are quite attractive and don’t mind one bit displaying the goods. I also know there are some very vulnerable people out there who will fall victim to what this guy has “down to a science.” Whenever we read posts about creepy GWC’s, we never really hear much more than an impression… we know they are out there but fail to nail them down and really identify them. They give a bad name to anyone else out there who is actually trying to improve on their glamour or nude photography work. People do have to start somewhere and usually those early images are not the quality they will be later with more experience. Having someone out there who can really help you to improve as a model or as a photographer is a good thing. The way this guy is helping you is not a good thing.
Several years ago, I was shooting a girl here in the studio. At some point during whatever conversation we were having she mentioned that she was trying to get her sister or cousin or someone to start modeling. She described how she had explained to this other person that you must do whatever the photographer tells you to do. That was where I stopped her and sort of suggested that she was out of her fucking mind. You don’t do whatever some photographer, or anyone else tell you to do. You don’t. You have limits and boundaries. You should have had communication prior to the shoot that laid out what was going to be done. Odds are that you are in reality not much more than an average person in looks and ability. One or two pictures of your naked ass are not going to catapult you into the main stream media. It is unlikely that YOU will be on the cover of Vogue or in any large publication. If you were thinking that you getting naked was going to get you there, you were wrong. If you were taking the advice of someone else suggesting that this is what you need to do to make it in the industry, they were wrong, misinformed, lying, full of shit or all of the above. You do what you do because you want to do it or agree to do it or have planned to do it… not because some douchebag tells you that you are not worth a shit if you don’t.
This all brings me to a recent shoot. After pondering all of these horrible things and wondering if I even wanted to pick up a fucking camera ever again, I scheduled a shoot with Heidi. I had shot Heidi once before and was quite impressed with her. She seemed to have a head on her shoulders. She had a game plan. For a first time shoot with someone I had never met before – and this would be a bondage shoot – things turned out very well. A bondage shoot IS quite a bit more up close and personal. We had discussed this. She had done a little of it in the past but wanted to try it with me, since I’m just the coolest fucking guy anywhere. (pretty modest, no?) She came to the studio again earlier last week to shoot in body paint with another photographer. (I rent out the studio from time to time) After, we set up another shoot for last Friday evening.
Since I had a few days to think about it, and since I had all of this douchebaggery on my mind as described above… I wondered if I could produce something a little more credible than 4 hours of greasy pussy shots. I started to make a list of random ideas. I also have a large wardrobe available here that almost no one ever uses, so I suggested we go through some of that. Heidi came in, did her hair and makeup and we started looking through the closet. In something like 3.5 hours, we went through about 12 different wardrobe changes of some kind or another. I wanted to avoid direct gratuitous crotch and/or ass shots and not have any close ups of these areas. I wanted the images to have some theme and composition. Being sexy or showing sexuality would be ok but I wanted the entire image to reflect something other than JUST close up twat shots. Yeah, I know I sound a little crude there but I’m trying to make a fucking point, so deal with it.
Here are a few of those images: