November 21, 2017,
It has been brought to our attention over the past few weeks that a certain photographer has been using Model Students name in an attempt to get our models to go and shoot with him.
The fact that this photographer has lied in his first point of contact with our models flags up that he may not have the best intentions. We have since contacted all our models to warn them about this, however for a couple of them it was already too late, they had been to shoot with him and subsequently have been put in uncomfortable situation. One in particular felt pressured into taking photos that she was not comfortable with and these images have since been used as a threat against her.
There seems no better time to be writing about such a topic. In a report in The Observer on the Harvey Wienstien scandal, The Observer defined harassment as a someone knowingly making the person on the receiving end feel uncomfortable and when someone in a position of power feels entitled to overstep the line in a way that others can’t.
As a model agency we work with some awesome photographers who are respectful, considerate, and totally trust worthy, unfortunately in the modelling industry there are a few photographers that models need to be wary of. It really sucks for all of the genuinely brilliant photographers out there that there are a few who make us agents and models so cautious when it comes to booking a shoot.
Although social media is a wonderful way of being able to connect with anyone, it also means that people can pretend to be whoever they want to be. We are aware of people who have used other photographer’s images on their social media pages claiming it is their work, we are also aware of people who claim to work with model agencies all to try and attract young aspiring models to go and shoot with them.
When we take models on we always explain that we would prefer for them to direct any enquiries through us, this is a two-way thing, of course, it is beneficial for us if bookings come through us but it is also for the good of our models. If we have taken the booking we know where you are, who you are with and the photographer knows that we do too. We also always check out their work and their studio address and would only send models to people we felt confident they would be safe with.
However, we do know that there are some occasions when models will set up shoots on their own and we also know other aspiring models read our blog not just the models on our books so we feel it is our duty to let our models and other young people know who and what to be careful of.
- We have seen photographers approaching models on social media saying that they can help them to get into the modelling industry and that they work with model agencies and fashion brands. If someone approaches you saying this, they aren’t necessarily lying but please be careful because there is a chance they might be. If you have an agent ask the person who has contacted you to book you through your agency. If they are reputable and telling the truth this shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t have an agent, ask to see their website, their social media pages and contact other models they have worked with to ask for references.
- If the shoot is on location arrange to meet them in a busy place, or if it is a studio check out the address. If it is a home address and there will just be yourself and the photographer at the shoot maybe ask if you can take a friend or parent along. If they are good to work with they will understand why you would be asking that and if it is pre-arranged it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Have the confidence to say no is so important. It is always a good idea to pre- arrange the kind of clothes you will be wearing for the shoot and what kind of photos you will be taking. If you did get to a shoot and the photographer then suggested lingerie or nude and you aren’t comfortable with that, it is really important to stand your ground. Once a photo is taken you can’t take it back and the photographer will own that photograph.
- Don’t feel pressured into doing anything you aren’t comfortable with. The modelling industry is super competitive and we have seen/heard comments like “well if you don’t do underwear ill just get another model” The people that are most vulnerable to harassment are those in casual work often with zero hours contracts or in positions where they can be easily replaced. But it is so important to stand your ground, anyone decent would not put you on the spot and put that pressure on you. Good shoots and great photos happen when there is mutual respect and everyone involved is comfortable and happy with what they are doing!
- The best bit of advice we could give anyone is that if your gut instinct tells you something isn’t quite right, don’t agree to do the job. Your safety is so much more important than anything else!