|Leila Swan - 032213 - SideB|
A few years ago I was showing a series of erotic photos to a group for a critique. In this series, the model were in different levels of dress and the photos grew more erotic one after the other. After the critique, one photographer friend asked me, "Did you fuck your model?" I was taken aback. I stammered out a "No. of course not."
I often get these questions and wonder about the reasons behind them. It is pretty obvious why people outside of this type of work think them up. The reasons behind these questions may come from the following reasoning.
First - the obvious The photos show very intimate, sensual, sexual moments, both graphic and implied. By viewing these images, the viewer may feel a connection or relation to those in the photo. They may even feel a part of the moment captured. This then can lead to an incorrectly perceived familiarity with the photographer and model and formation of assumptions of what happened during the session.
Second - a bit more abstract but still a motive The viewer acknowledges that the photographer was in the room (including self-portraits) and had more than a voyeur role in the moment. The photographer was capturing the heat. The viewer may assume that during the shoot an erotic connection formed (or previously existed) and at some point the session turned into a steamy tryst.
Third - and a very offending one Since the model is obviously sexual, sharing sexually explicit behaviors, and OBVIOUSLY was all turned on, they must be easy and wanted the photographer to take more than photos.
I've worked with dozens of nude models, some of them multiple times. I have never had sex with any of them. I pay all models that pose nude for me. I almost always hire established professional models. I keep it respectful and professional before, during and after the shoot. That doesn't mean that we don't talk about intimate things. We do that to develop the theme, mood, motivations and art of the shoot. I never touch a model though, unless I directly ask permission first and only then to help direct the shoot. I ask the models for their ideas and thoughts and it becomes a very mental/artistic shared moment, and it can be intimate and inspiring, but I know there are boundaries that prevent leading to a physical moment.
During the shoot, I am usually not so aroused by the moment that I can't focus (pun intended) on taking photos. I am thinking of exposure settings, lighting, color, composition, and capturing the heat and magic of the moment before me. The last thing I want to do is ruin the magic of the moment and capturing it in my camera by trying to insert my lusty actions into it.
The most offending assumption is that the models want to have sex with you since they work in explicit content. I've photographed fine-art nude models, erotic models, adult nude models, erotic performers/dancers, and some that modeled and also performed escort work as well. During the shoots, I've been thanked for my professionalism, respect, warmth, and boundaries and have heard horror stories of photography sessions that went awry with creepy photographers. Some are just Guys with cameras (GWC) that had no experience and are using the moment for voyeuristic opportunities. In these stories, the models feel like posing monkeys or have no direction other than "Look sexy. Show me your pussy, etc."
The second type of creepy photographer is the one that inappropriately wants more from the model. One fetish model shared she worked with a new-to-her photographer that wanted and demanded to choke her out. Another kept touching her during the shoot, feeling her up. She told him to stop after the first touch. She warned him after the second touch that she would leave. She left after the third.
Another model shared a scary story of a photographer that held these beliefs of "how a photoshoot should go". The photographer praised her work and cited how similar his work and artistic styles matched her work and his desire to work with her. He suggested meeting before hand to discuss and develop a collaborative session where they would create amazing photos. At first, they were going to meet at a coffee shop. He then asked if they could meet at his studio due to time constraints. She agreed. He then started texting her to come over a night earlier, and that he would have dinner for her. When she started to say no, he said he would have a car pick her up and that he was hers all night. He kept stating how her work and his art were so similar, they already have a connection and should be intimate.
Both of these types of "photographers" hurt the business. They make great models that are willing to share very intimate moments to make art and erotica hesitant to work again with anyone else.
In essence, here is the reality. Making this type of art is hard work for the models, photographers, and all others involved. It is often dusty, dirty, and tiring. The end results may show pure lust, but the production of it would astound most by the amount of unsexy things it took to create it. It isn't all orgies, orgasms, and free sex for all involved.
It is a narrow precipice we work on. We want to create work the suspends reality and lets the viewers feel and live a sensual moment. We want to provide them that escape. That part of art they can live in. Sadly though, we have to deal with those that don't understand that art is what is exhibited and isn't necessarily the reality of those creating it. Even if it is the reality of the artist and the model, it doesn't mean their real life includes you in a direct, person-to-person way. The art viewer is invited to live in the art piece, not to assume they have a right to directly live in the artist's or model's life.