Going nude?

I hear a lot of stories about good and bad experiences in this 'industry' of photographers and models.  I quoted 'industry' because most of us do this for the fun, creativity, and it's more of a hobby than a job.  Some of us have just allowed our passion to make it seem like a full time job.  That's not the subject I'm covering, but it sets the stage pretty well.

The bad experience I hear about most are models being asked to pose nude when it was made clear that they didn't do nudes.  There is always communications to set up a shoot.  Via Facebook or messages over some other site, but still communications.

Typically a time and place are arranged as well as any compensation or trade agreements.  One more thing is often discussed.  Will there be nudity by the model.  (nudity by the photographer is whole different kind of bad experience we aren't covering here)  As a model, the topic should always be brought up unless the shoot is specifically for fashion.  It can be a very casual comment of what restrictions you might have as a model.  But, in the first part of the communications, if it seems likely that some of the work may involve nudity, or if there isn't any set ideas, it should be covered so everyone is clear.

This is Tayler and she doesn't do nudes.  This is called implied nude.

There are two basic types of nudes.  Implied nude and nude.  The differences are very simple...at least in my world.  The above image is implied.  I guess another word for it could have been 'obvious' because we aren't really implying anything here.  So, what's the difference?  Well, the lack of seeing anything you wouldn't normally see if she was wearing a bikini.  I could draw a couple tiny lines on that image and she'd look like she was in a swim suit.  So, she is nude, but her nipples and vagina area are covered.

I'd like to point out that some people see just about anything as full nudity.  A picture of a woman's back without a bra strap is nudity and, in some minds, totally offensive.  That's their choice, their upbringing, their religious beliefs, and in all cases not a problem we can solve.  Or one I care much about.

So, the clear definition, in my world, is implied nudes can show as much as a bikini might, without the bikini.  Nude is showing the whole body often including nipples and sometimes the vagina.  Both done in a very classy, classic, and artistic manner.  

If nudes are fine with the model a little discussion about some of the more erotic poses should be discussed also.  The word most often used is 'spreads' and I think we all know what that means.  Most nude models I know will say 'everything but spreads'.  Kinda' gross, but it sets the boundries.

This is Keira Grant from Texas and she is a classic artistic nude model. (best I've ever seen)

The above image is a classic artistic nude model and pose.  All body parts are open to be photographed.  Note that she has hair, or as she jokingly calls it, 'shrubbery', covering her lower bits.  I'm my opinion any model doing fine art nude modeling should be natural (un-shaveded) there because it affords the model some additional poses that would normally be considered erotic and less tasteful.  This model can actually do the aforementioned 'spread' and the image is tasteful and artistic.  Again, off the subject, but important at the same time.

(oh, and you young gals out there that think not shaving is so 70's, any Playboy from the year 2000 will not show a single shaved model - so there!  I guess it's more like - so a decade ago!)

Now to the point.  Photographers pay attention.  If the communication is made ahead of time and the model has told you she doesn't do nudes or doesn't do implied, that's that.  Done.  End of discussion on that topic.  The line has been drawn.  If your shoot continues on schedule that's great but not once, ever, during that shoot should the model be asked to do more than she has previously agreed to.

This is where NO means NO!  Any photographer who asks again, and in some cases begs, pleads, makes the shoot difficult, or starts pouting to try to get the model to change her mind is not a professional.  You are here by designated as the dreaded GUY WITH CAMERA and it can be assumed you are doing this because you want to see nudity, not to capture amazing work with your camera.  Shame on you.

If the model has shot nudes with other photographers but has made it clear she isn't doing nude for your shoot, it still means exactly the same thing. No.  She should not be expected to go beyond her comfort level with you...ever.  If you, as a photographer, get upset about that, or take it personal, get over it.  What you will never know is what the relationship and history that model might have with the photographer that did the nudes with her.  You don't automatically have that relationship by some magical proxy. 

Working with a model, finding that there is a creative chemistry there, may, over time, build that same comfort level and trust that she has with the other photographer and she may open up to doing nudes with you.  In the mean time, create, provide the best you can to the model, and do this with an honest intent in your heart to give her great images for that sake and not just in the hopes of shooting her nude someday.

I work with several models who are comfortable doing just about any form of art with me but still have strict limits with other photographers.  There may be many reasons for that.  One could be that I'm over 60 and they know I'm not looking for anything from them than the art we can create.  They know I'm happily married.  In all cases they know I have no interest in anything other than creating fine images.  In many cases we've shot often enough that they have become good friends.  It's all about trust.  My hope is that they just love the fine art I create and they are willing to work with me to create it, even if it's implied or nude.  I should point out that the opposite is true.  I have worked with several models who have done nude work with other photographers and have declined to do nude work with me.  That's a no, and I respect that and never ask again.

If you are a model and it has been previously agreed what your comfort level is, and you are being pressured to go beyond the agreed point, consider packing it up and heading out.  Things often go down hill from there, especially if it's a constant pressure.  It's always your call of course, but if you now don't trust your photographer what good can you expect from that point?

So, there you have it.  If you are a photographer who begs, stalks, constantly texts models to shoot with you, you are a GWC.  If you ask a model more than once during a shoot to do implied or nude when it was agreed before hand what the limit is, then you are a GWC.

If this blog has made anyone rethink how they communicate and interact with models then it did as intended.  Unfortunately, many who practice the GWC type behavior won't think this is about them.  It is.