17 July 2010

A Model's Significant Other

"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom." 
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower


"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." 
~ Ernest Hemingway 


Every now and again, all photographers run into some kind of ordeal with their models. I've been very fortunate to not have had this happen to often. Most times, probably since I have been a model, I get along with my models and we do some great work in a collaborative effort that brings credit to the both of us. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm starting this blog post off in the wrong way. I'm giving you the impression that an episode transpired between myself and a model that I have worked with. Well, YES and NO. Yes, an episode occurred, but NO, it was not by the free will of the model. This actually had to do with a model whom later married and now said husband has issues. Thereby forcing an undesired episode between the aforementioned model and myself. 


Another opportunity with Joanie

I feel it necessary to discuss the matter because for one, it is front and centered on my mind for the last two days or so. I hate drama. I detest it. This is drama that has arisen from a model I worked with more than 3 years ago. While we have spoken often in that time, our communications came to almost a halt when she got married about a year ago and now I fully understand why. Now this girl and I were very tight. We were friends for a good year before I even worked with her. It was just before I came to Vegas when she asked about posing for me before I left. This girl is close enough of a friend that I refuse her nothing. She had special requests and I accommodated. We did a lot of great work, even though I was frustrated in that I had no more pro-grade film. I had just finished school and had used every last roll I had. So I was stuck using consumer-grade along with out-dated slide film that my instructor gave away at the end of the semester. Okay, I digress.


At the heart of the matter is that the new husband is not keen on my friend/his wife having male friends. It matters little that I now live roughly 1800 miles away. Presently, contact has been shut off with the exception of a request to remove all her images from the web. Granted, I have a model release. I could do whatever I wish, but out of respect for her, I chose to acquiesce to her behest. This came about after I kept getting requests earlier this year to see more of this model by an someone using an unknown identity. After a while, I became somewhat anxious about the situation and warned the model as I had reason to believe she might know this person. I took the precautions of scrubbing all my profiles, sites, and blogs of all of her images because I simply didn't know who this creep was.

All was quiet until I decided to resurrect and re-edit some of this model's images. I used only anonymous shots and even asked for permission to display them again. In no time, Creepy-guy was back again. I had had enough. I wasted no time doing search after search with what little info I had and plugged in assumptions for the rest. I finally discovered the possibility that the culprit was either an in-law or her husband. I didn't know for sure in either case and I could have been totally wrong all together. I contacted the model and let her know my suspicions, which I needed for her to confirm or negate. My next contact was going to be friends in the area that could easily put a face to my enigma and dissuade any further harassment. When she discovered it was her own husband trying to "test" my responses, what could I do? His repeated tests to ascertain whether or not I am an honorable man were exhaustive and futile. I never showed him and especially not her any disrespect. He should have gotten a clue when I pulled all my images of her the first time because I thought he was a creep. I never identified her or even used her real name. He was suspicious of me profiting off of her. I've never made a dime! If all that didn't illustrate that I had her best interests at heart, what would have? I've only been a good friend to this girl and now, to alleviate any more difficulties in her marriage, I have to willfully bow out and agree to act as if I ever met her. That's bullshit. The main thing that gets me is the grief from thinking my friend may have been in danger. I don't understand why either of us had to be put through that. So now I volunteered, for her sake, to show him the ultimate show of respect and walk away. His wife-card trumps my friend-card in every hand. I only hope this doesn't get worse for her. She may as well don a burka.

Sam... being a BAD GIRL! I don't treat all my models like this. 
Sam can handle it, though.

I want to thank everyone else, especially Unbearable Lightness and AlexB for helping me not make any rash or hasty decisions. I got several acknowledgements that I was doing the right thing by my model and I appreciate that. Can you tell that this really bothered me? Yeah, she meant a lot to me. I hate to lose her on these terms. It was difficult to even write this. I don't want her to think I am writing this out of anger for her and its not my intent to be disparaging to her husband. At the same time, I didn't initiate any of this and all my efforts and dealings with his wife have been honorable. This is the primary reason I respond the way I do when a model asks, "Is it okay for my husband/boyfriend to come along?" But that opens up the door for personal choices in policies. For me, I never let the significant other accompany us in a shoot. Ain't happening. Okay, its done.

4 comments:

unbearable lightness said...

T, I addressed this in a comment on your DA journal, but I want to add here for another audience: Kudos to you for your ethics. Since that comment, I have learned you do counsel your young models so they understand possible future repercussions of posing nude for photographs. It is true you own the copyright on the photos and have every right to keep posting them. Out of your kind soul and ethics, you have taken them from public view.

With them goes a piece of your art. It is indeed a tragedy. It is the model's choice to succumb to this man's demands. I hope she has also been counseled about what that bodes for her future with him.

Karl said...

Sadly, you did about the only thing you could do. What is even more sad, you probably had to do this for her own safety.

I hope this marriage is short-lived and ends peacefully. It sounds like a once free spirit is now caged.

Kudos to your ethic. Shame on the piece of garbage spouse.

Joanie said...

You ARE an honorable man and photographer. The fact that this has weighed heavily on your mind and heart proves this. As do your efforts to remove images, warn her, and your diligent research in your efforts to protect her. I'm sad that one insecure person has caused you (and undoubtedly her) grief. I hope he grows the hell up and I hope you are able to use those images again in the future.

Thanks for using the first image of me...it's my favorite from our session and makes me happy beyond reason. It's so me!

Alex said...

Thank you for your comment about me, I really do not think I have done all that much. You were bent on destroying the work for good, I said and will say again: never do anything rash, in the heat of the moment. Remove the work from the online galleries but keep it in storage. Everything changes, as they say, what goes up, comes down again.