the importance of communication.

it is important to be straightforward, honest and thorough when speaking with someone about things that should depend on boundaries and personal comfort. you may allow this to apply to your entire life but i am going to be focusing right now on setting up photo shoots. [because this is my modeling blog.]

my [sort of] first photo shoot was with a friend who i haven't been in touch with lately enough named steven gelberg. i know i had to have been extremely nervous but we created some very nice photographs together. at one point during the shoot he asked "how do you feel about doing nudes?" he didn't ask in a way that told me that he would belittle me, berate me, tell all the other photographers on me, etc. if i were to say that i didn't want to. actually, i remember thinking that if i wanted to make my living doing this, i'd better start feeling comfortable with it, so we shot nudes. and it was terrific! he was so respectful, kind and helpful with posing. i got started on the right foot that day.

i guess sometimes it can be okay to bring up ideas at shoots even though they were not discussed beforehand, but only to bring them up as ideas.

what about when a photoshoot is in process and then the photographer busts out the ball gag and rope like it's no big deal even though he hadn't mentioned doing bondage before? um.. excuse me, but i charge more for this. and what is your rigging experience? and what if he says "well, we talked about doing fetish and you said you were comfortable with it."

fetish to some people means stockings. to other people it means bdsm.

so now i will rant about the use of subjective terms with little context or explanation. in modeling, an obvious one is "porn." art nude photographers and models will often complain about how some family member is going to disown them for shooting porn or whatever, even though it's clearly not porn. but there are many more. people will often contact me asking me to do erotic, explicit or sensual shoots. i write back and ask them what they mean. a lot of times the answer is not very clear. i can't tell if people are sneaky or just shy. hell, returning briefly to example number one, people have even said things like "i want you to do a shoot with your hands on my penis and then i will cum on your stomach. it's not porn. i'm not asking you to do porn," as if the client referring to it as porn or not referring to it as porn would solidify my decision.

as a nude model, i'm used to the word "implied" meaning implied nudity. but what does that even mean? does it mean that the model is wearing clothing but it looks like they're not in the image? or does it mean that the model is nude but covering any parts that would make an 18+ image? well, either way, recently someone said they wanted to do a shoot that involved "implied" poses and after a few emails i found out they meant implied masturbation.

i have become a lot less shy. now i send emails back that are like "are you talking about my vagina?" or "i need you to be more specific. by 'explicit' do you mean that you want me to be nude, that you want me to take photos of me with my legs spread apart, that you want me to penetrate myself, of that you want me to have sex with someone?" because i have spent days setting up mysterious tentative shoots only to end that process when i find out what these people really have bee trying to say [or trying not to say.]

recently i did two shoots back to back. the first one was with a photographer who hadn't mentioned wanting to do erotica at all, but during the shoot kept saying "we're not shooting anything outside of modelmayhem guidelines" because we were doing more erotic shots than i had expected. he was also pretty respectful of my boundaries and didn't push me to do anything i was hesitant about, which was great, but it helps me to be able to show up prepared for things and it would have been better if he'd told me what he wanted to shoot during the week or two in between initial contact and the shoot. the second shoot was with someone who beforehand repeatedly assured me that he was a gentleman and that he also wanted to shoot some pretty sexual imagery. for this shoot, i was overprepared mentally. the content we shot was not very sexual in my opinion and was pretty typical of my average shoot. and he is a gentleman, by the way. i was expecting to get irritated with him, though, honestly.

the words people use could mean anything, really, i have found. it's good to check to see what they mean to them. and it's good to explain what the words you're using mean to you, too. these things affect others severely. not being clear can lead to miscommunications resulting in awful relationships and unnecessary drama.


Robert M. said...

Yes, communication is essential! Models inspire me individually, so I frequently come up with ideas while I'm shooting. I always let them know if I come up with an idea they don't like, just...say...no!
Sometimes I will be lucky enough to work with someone who is willing to bounce ideas back and forth, and we come up with amazing pictures!
I hope you are confident enough to say no to bad ideas!
And I hope someday we are able to work together!
Take care,

Wynd said...

what you do sounds fine as long as you are not pushy about it. and i have a feeling you're not.

hope you are well. :).