TITS or GTFO — My Thoughts on Amateur Nude Photographers & ‘The Camera Club’ by Chris Verene (NSFW) [rant]

An open rant, to whomever it may concern;

Men creating their photographic portfolios of work, if usually composed of women, will almost always want/desire/imagine to see them naked. It is perverse and has little to do with the art of photography, but this aspect is rarely taken into account on the part of new, young models and fully understood, let alone is this subject ever even talked about outside of the studio setting. So why would a young women accept going nude at the request of a photographer? Is this acceptable as long as there is money involved, or is it because this personal off-record arrangement has not been given the controversial public spotlight it deserves? — Women through the “male gaze”, or rather, the immortalizing lens. Yes, something has stirred me to thinking. I know of a girl who has accepted a few modeling jobs, but one in particular had her posing topless (supposedly in the name of “art”). What necessitated that requirement; the  self-written “highly important” call-out brief, or the guy flashing the money with the pseudo-professional mouth; most definitely one in the same. Although my friend is a consenting adult of course, this still made me very upset. Angry. It still does. I don’t want her exposing herself to men for money in front of a camera just because they say and/or think it’s necessary. It isn’t. Believe me. She (you) and women in general can do better without the input of these types of men, and without having to expose FOR THEM. There are always other ways to reach your goals, and what is produced shouldn’t make you feel ashamed.

If it is a full-frontal nude shoot that the model wants and explicitly consents to doing than so be it, but when it isn’t, and nudity is suggested by the photographer, to me that is an instant red flag. It is hard to articulate my thoughts when I also have personal feelings towards this woman, but I hope the logic in my thinking is clear enough; men who invite women to take pictures of them and exploit their temporary and often solitary presence by suggesting nudity, are perverse and manipulative, and I fucking hate that. I hate it.

Chris Verne is a photographer who for the better half of the 90s, spent his time undercover creating a series called “Camera Club”, where in it the subject is not the nude model, but the men photographing the nude model themselves. It’s a creepy series, following groups of men who somehow lure young women into modeling nude by placing ads in the classified sections pretending to be fashion photographers. It’s seedy beyond belief, but incredibly investigated by Verene:

In his series, Camera Club (1995-1997), Chris Verene employs his camera furtively, but without entirely concealing it from view. Verene infiltrated the world of “camera clubs,” groups of men who lure young women into modeling nude or seminude by placing classified ads in newspapers and pretending to be professional fashion photographers. He posed as a camera club photographer, joined the group and played the part, but then turned his camera on the photographers themselves. Later, Verene worked with a friend, a young woman who posed as an aspiring model, and deepened the investigation. By positioning himself behind the men and pretending to be tinkering with his camera – loading his film, testing his flash – Verene could easily release his shutter without arousing the suspicion of his already distracted colleagues.

The resulting pictures telescope the usual photographer’s gaze and emphasize the predatory nature of photography. Verene’s compositions mirror the power dynamics of the situation: the men’s backs, hairy legs, and balding heads dominate the picture plane and their lurching posture reveals their avidity. In contrast, the women in the background are small in scale; Verene protects their identities by keeping them generally out of focus.

camera_club_10
The thing is, most amateur photographers nowadays will look professional, equipment-setup-assistant-advertising-the-works, therefore it is important to explicitly know what to expect going in, you should feel in control, and understand that ALL men are enticed by the body of a woman; some men are honest and have a high moral integrity to separate themselves from their own sexual temptations, while others will merely conceal it through the title of “work” and their self-appointed role as your employer. Do not sign into contracts if even one aspect is not to your liking, try to take a friend along with you if you are uncertain of the shoot and/or location, definitely don’t go nude if you have second thoughts about it — your state of comfort is more important than some fucking pictures or recommendation from some seedy dude — and remember, no matter the scenario, you always have a choice. Take care of yourself and good luck.

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~ by Fionnlagh on July 1, 2015.

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