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Hands off the models!
Old 02-18-2003, 09:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ever since they took the girly picture ads out of the back of Popular Photography, they've pretty much ignored glamour and swimsuit photography. I stopped subscribing a long time ago, and only occasionally even browse through them at the newstand any more. I picked up this month's issue as it featured an article on photography and the law. Unfortunately, the article is illustrated with an image of a photographer touching a nude model. My personal opinion is that a photographer has no business putting hands on any model, and in particular a nude model. However, the editor of Pop Photo seems to think it's acceptable. In fact, he relied to my protest with some tripe about Edward Weston photographing his mistress as a prelude to making love to her. Frankly, I draw a clear distinction between a paid model and a live-in lover. I may be in the minority here, but I think the editor has done photographers a genuine disservice by including such an image in a consumer oriented magazine. It appears to give license to the practice of photographers touching models. I say keep your hands off... Let him know your thoughts at popeditor@aol.com.
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(OT) Hands off everybody!
Old 02-19-2003, 11:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is an unfortunate confluence of the casual-izing of both nudity and personal contact in our society, IMO. While I'm all for casual nudity [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] I do not like the other trend a bit. In my opinion you should never, ever touch ANYBODY without their express permission (of course, certain things like, say, marriage, might be implied to give consent.) That goes for naked models, models in lingerie, models in suits, and models in suits of armor. And it goes for photographers, film developers, and those as may be standing about.

I was in the pet store the other night and the clerk was having an "animated discussion" with the customer in line ahead of me about how he should treat his new puppy. She didn't like his answer and she gave him a "playful" smack. I was stunned. A clerk struck a customer! In front of God and everybody! Granted, she was a cute chick and he probably would have claimed he didn't mind if asked. But still, that's just unacceptable, IMO.

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It depends on the people........
Old 02-19-2003, 11:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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......and the method.

For models who may be inexperienced, physically directing them in a pose, to include light and "non-sensitive area" touching, should not be a problem. Touching sensitive areas is generally a no-no, of course, although on one or two occasions, where make-up was required on a breast, or something along that line, I have done that. Of course, it was done with the model's permission.

You can get too hung up on things......and shoot yourself in the foot, because of it.

Touching a model is simply using common sense and courtesy.....not a taboo.

If the model doesn't understand a direction, it should be totally within reason to show her how you want an arm bent, or a wrist bent, or a foot turned, even if you need to physically move it. You simply need to let her know what you are doing first, and do it professionally.

Obviously, I always recommend support staff on set, when doing these things, and when you have capable people helping, usually you can have a female do it for you, anyway.

Any experienced photog, who has done much work with beginners, will tell you that, to make a novice look good, you will need to adjust placement of limbs, turn of torso, and such things, from time to time. Women are simply not as graceful and pretty, as we try to make them appear. It takes a degree of experience and development, before models learn to move well.

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: It depends on the people........
Old 02-19-2003, 12:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree totally. Sometimes you need to physically pose a model which is acceptable in my book, but you must be professional. I am fortunate to have my wife as my partner and assistant. She does the hair and makeup for the models and assists in most of the physical posing.
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Common sense should prevail
Old 02-19-2003, 03:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Whenever I meet a model the very first thing I do is touch them, specifically, I shake their hand. It's common courtesy. After that, I let the rules of social courtesy prevail. Would you pat an acquaintance on the butt or brush a hand across their breast? Of course not! Same thing applies in photography, clothed or nude. But would it be proper for, say a little league instructor to nudge a player's foot out to widen his stance or cock his elbow if he's dropping it? Yes, it would, and that applies here as well. Most of the time I don't have to, though, because a make-up artist will do it for me, or I can explain, gesture, and demonstrate (which provides not only a visual cue but some comic relief as well). Would it be appropriate to stare at an acquaintance that you went to a beach party with as she strips down to her bikini. No it wouldn't. But turning your back and acting like you can't look at her under any condition until she was absolutely ready would probably make her react to you as if you were some kind of repressed psycho. Obviously a model that you are on more friendly terms with can be treated a bit differently, in relation to the friendship, but tact is recommended. Very often models offer me a hug at the end of the shoot, which I reciprocate, though I rarely offer unless I've known the model for some time. In Europe, it usually includes one of those cheek-to-cheek faux kisses as well. With male models, there's usually some high-fiving or such along the way. Treat your models as you would treat anyone else, with courtesy and respect (which means, of course that anything even slightly smacking of an advance or anything that would make a reasonable person feel even a bit uncomfortable should be avoided), and let the rules of social common sense prevail. It's common sense that you don't avoid touching them as if they had leprosy or that you were so frustrated that a mere handshake would give you an erection, just as it is common sense that you don't "accidently" brush against her breasts or unnecessasarily leer or clutch or anything. Monastically strict rules are likely to give models or anyone else the impression that you're hung up and a bit strange, which is what you were trying to avoid by not touching her in the first place. A bit of common sense in dealing with models as the real people that they are is enough to make this a non-issue.
 
 
Re: Hands off the models!
Old 02-19-2003, 05:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I always make it a point to ask a model before touching them in any way other than the proverbial hand-shake upon meeting them. I'll walk over to them as I'm considering changes in the pose and I'll ask if I can adjust their hand/arm, leg, whatever. I also will ask them if I can touch their hair if there is a wild one that I want to readjust and I have never been turned down. I don't want them to feel like pariahs or untouchable but I also keep it very professional and I think most models are aware that some "adjusting" may be necessary by a photographer or even other staff. It comes with the territory I think. Just my .02 cents (before inflation and cost of living increases). [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Good day!

Mike
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Re: It depends on the people........
Old 02-19-2003, 10:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Jam,

Join the club...as of recently the wife has started doing the same here (made her finish class first *g*) but she always goes on shoots with me reguardless... Its amusing...some photogs complain about boyfriends/husbands I always look at the model and go "sure im bringing my wife but he has to stay out fo the way as much as she does...." would be amazed how many laughs and agreements I get...

Model Amber
Makeup Behind the Masque AKA My better half....

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Re: (OT) Hands off everybody!
Old 04-10-2003, 09:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I find that it isnt really necessary. Most can be communicated verbally. If a model is having a very hard time getting a pose down then I will ask if I can help adjust it. But Having my wife at my shoots tends to make models feel more comfortable and know that if I do touch them there is no ulterior motive other than to get a particular pose. But verbal communication works wonders.
 
 
Model touching
Old 04-10-2003, 03:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When I was a wee shutterbug, just beginning to take pictures of pretty ladies, I too labored under the directive to never touch the model. I have since learned that this is as written in stone as always drive the speed limit, and always Shut Down your computer. Don't ever do a ctrl-alt-delete. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

My approach is this -- I always ask the model if it is okay if I touch her. Then I ALWAYS tell her what I need to do, and I NEVER touch a "sensitive" area.

Sometimes I just need to brush aside that stray bit of hair, or move her hand just that extra fraction of an inch. Heh, there was, however, this one time...at band camp....

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There are no absolutes any more - OK maybe some...
Old 04-10-2003, 06:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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...but this isn't really one of them.

I say common sense, decency and respect for the model's wishes must prevail. There may be some instances where you would need to make an adjustment or something that, after telling or showing the model, he or she isn't getting it. I always ask first if it's OK. So far, it's been OK since I treat them with respect and decency (I hope I do anyway!).

We all know there's touching and there's touching.
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