Do Your Research Before You Believe Them
Perceptions are everything, whether it’s politics, modeling, photography or even what we think of each other, and unfortunately, it drives people to become misinformed as I elaborated in my last article, “Patriotism Is Felt, Not Defined.” While there are true problems in this world, the real failures are that we subconsciously rely on perceptions instead of examining what created the perceptions themselves. This lack of research often leads to misinformation.
People today are more politically uncertain about tomorrow than ever before; if we don’t thoroughly understand the root of perceptions, we become a society of misinformation that can only create more uncertainty. It’s like a vicious never-ending cycle and many in power know this, thus they take advantage of people’s perceptions and sometimes laziness to actually do the research to advance their agenda.
The same happens in photography and modeling, it’s a world filled with perceptions that often drives uncertainty and allows misinformation to thrive, plus like politics, photography and modeling will continue to degrade for the worse before it gets better if we don’t do our research on perceptions before we speak or act.
As an example, the other day I saw a photographer’s rant on Facebook about young boyfriends, specifically, the boyfriends of models and how immature, controlling, etc., some young boyfriends are when it comes to their model girlfriend working with photographers. While I truly understand the original poster’s rant on Facebook and have experienced it myself, I also understand the other side, and how easy it is for others not to understand the other side—mainly because no one usually takes the time to look at the other side or search for the underlying reasons that have created these perceptions.
While the original rant was about young boyfriends and their attitude toward older male photographers, I don’t think the perceptions that boyfriends, young or old, have about photographers has anything to do with the age of the photographer itself. It’s the same as perceptions on being a model, or for that matter a politician. We have to analyze what created these perceptions that cause misinformation to manifest, in order to understand why the boyfriend feels the way he does.
First, yes, some photographers have conducted themselves unprofessionally. No, I don’t mean photographers shouldn’t date models no more than doctors dating nurses or flight attendants dating pilots, what I mean is tricking a model to pose nude or making unwanted advances, or thinking because a model poses sexy she wants a sex encounter with the photographer.
Second, movies that paint photographers in a bad light, there are many of them, not just Star 80. The Photographer (1974) was a movie where a famous photographer uses his models to satisfy his “blood-lust” that turns more bizarre as the movie moves forward. Even Pretty Baby, starring Brooke Shields, “tells the story of a lonely photographer’s obsession with a precocious twelve-year old prostitute (Brooke Shields) in New Orleans’ Storyville district at the turn of the century.”
Third, models themselves, some are opportunist. It’s no secret in the modeling industry that some models will use what they have to get what they want. While it’s perceived more prevalent in the modeling industry, quite frankly, it happens in every industry, whether it’s in music, television, airline, sales, medical, legal, etc., it’s a fact of life, sadly it exists everywhere.
There are many perceptions about models in general, not just photographers or politicians, but again, we have to understand what has created these perceptions so we don’t just arbitrarily label every model, or anyone for that matter just because of perceptions. There are actually great photographers, great models, and even great politicians out there, perceptions aside. We need to expose more of that whether it’s through more positive movies, success stories, blog articles, our actions, or the media itself.
It’s the perceptions created in the past that help drive the underlying reasons for most negative behavior. My own eyes have seen it more than once. From private Facebook messages sent to my own girlfriend, a model, where some photographers start out talking about photography/modeling professionally then turn the “private” conversation into a more “personal” conversation. It’s like if they are fishing to see if Heather Carden is interested in them for more than photography. Some tread lightly, some more heavily with their words of innuendo, but ultimately it becomes obvious about the photographers’ real intentions.
So who is to really blame, the boyfriends, the models, or the photographers? Imagine that a photographer is photographing a model and you are witnessing this from the outside looking in and evaluate the situation based on existing perceptions. What are the possibilities? Well if you believe the perceptions of today and haven’t done your research here are the possibilities:
- The photographer will eventually trick my girlfriend to pose nude, take cheap shots when she’s not looking, and/or make unwanted sexual advances toward my girlfriend. (Result: If the girlfriend tells her boyfriend this actually happened, there is a chance of violence or similar conflict.)
- My girlfriend will probably cheat on me hoping to advance her career with this photographer. (Result: Lack of trust eventually leading to a failed relationship.)
- I’ve done my research on this photographer. Everyone will all get along, be professional and my girlfriend will get some great photos to advance her career. (Result: Everyone is happy.)
Model’s Possible Points of View:
- The photographer will probably make a move on me, and/or try to trick me into posing nude, and/or grab some cheap shots. (Result: Not a great shoot, the model is more focused on how bad the photographer will behave during the shoot.)
- He’s got credentials, I’ll win him over one way or the other, besides, my boyfriend doesn’t trust me and this is the way the industry works; you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get ahead. (Result: The photographer enjoys a sexual encounter, the model’s relationship with her boyfriend will eventually end because now the photographer really thinks the model is interested in him for more than photography. Trust is nonexistent throughout the process.)
- I’ve done my research on this photographer, we’re going to have a great professional photo shoot and between us both we’ll create some fabulous photos. (Result: Everyone is happy.)
Photographer’s Possible Points of View:
- I’ve done my research; I’ve seen her “sexy” & partying photos on Facebook, Instagram, modeling websites, etc., and she’s definitely open-minded with her butt and boobs hanging out for the world to see, so the shoot should be fun, sexy, lot’s of T & A; she’ll pose nude for me. There is a chance for sex too, it happens in this industry. (Result: In the end there will be either two happy people, or three unhappy people; hint: only one includes the boyfriend.)
- I’ve got credentials and she knows this plus I’m sure she knows how the industry works. If she doesn’t, I’ll explain to her how the industry works and see if she’s game; if she’s not, next, plenty of girls to choose from on social media. (Result: Mediocre photos and sex. Model and boyfriend eventually break up. The photographer either develops an infatuation for the model, or doesn’t care because he believes, which was affirmed by the model, that this is how the industry works.)
- I’ve done my research. She’s a great, professional model. Great portfolio too, nothing cheese cake looking, she knows what she’s doing. (Result: Great photo shoot for all, boyfriend marries girlfriend down the road and the photographer gets invited to either shoot the wedding, and/or to attend.)
For the record I met my girlfriend over two-years ago. She’s a licensed cosmetologist and I met her before she decided to model. Due to our travels and what we do, we can’t possibly do research on every photographer we meet. Because of this, she’s had photographers hit on her and/or try to capture cheap shots, and she’s worked with others that were totally professional. It’s a fact that only adds to the perceptions that she’s learning about the industry. She didn’t create these perceptions; she’s experienced them without her consent. She’s also identified those with professionalism, and honest intentions—un-professionals, as well as professionals eventually stand out to everyone in this industry.
Heather knows I know these perceptions very well from my own experiences in this industry. Do I trust my girlfriend with other photographers? Yes, with full confidence. Do I trust other photographers around her? Some, but not all of them, but it’s not because of the perceptions, it’s because I’ve seen what has created these perceptions in this industry one too many times.
Do I have a jealous side? We all do to some amount, but I’m more protective than I’ll ever be jealous because I know this industry very well. Yes there are some young boyfriends that fit the mold of too controlling and extremely jealous as I too have experienced it from model’s boyfriends, but photographers need to understand that there are also the wiser, protective boyfriends that are looking out for their girl. Either way, everyone needs to do their research before they shoot—there are many fake credentials out there, so do a thorough research.
My best advice to other photographers, when you decide to start working with a model for the first time, especially if you get the feeling she has a boyfriend, get to know the “couple” first, before you ever take one shot. Gain their confidence together. What you’ll probably find out is that couples truly in love, share everything, including private messages on Facebook. Heather and I share everything between us, whether it’s emails, texts, Facebook messages, etc., and often it’s interesting whether it’s a photographer contacting her or a model contacting me.
Perceptions are everything, whether it’s politics, modeling, photography or even what we think of each other, but it’s also important for people to understand why the perceptions exist in the first place. Rotten apples do exist and fuel perceptions that ignite people to act on misinformation. It has nothing to do with political correctness, but everything to do with eliminating any doubt of uncertainty. With that I close and as always say please don’t forget the men and women who serve proudly to protect this nation, God bless them, their families and friends, Rolando.