Teaser: Summer Beauty Work

Well, it was summer in San Francisco for a minute....

Our summers are usually September, but we can pretend June is summer for us once in a while.  Here's an on-camera teaser of the shoot, with a new shot in "New Work".  The others will come shortly.



Terry Richardson, Exploitation, and the Fashion Industry

As a fashion photographer who previously shot erotica, my ears always perk up when I hear about Terry Richardson.  Not out of interest or fascination, but out of education.  I've always felt like Richardson was a walking lesson in how not to run a photo shoot.  Granted, I've never met the man, or anyone who has worked with him, but if you have a history of models coming out accusing you of sexual assault, you're doing something wrong.

There have been allegations against Richardson for years, and the New York article only served to continue discussion, even if the article itself was flawed:  several models have responded that their comments were edited to the point of misrepresentation; writer Benjamin Wallace failed to accurately convey the romantic history between Alex Bolotow, who essentially served as a character witness, but a biased one.  The piece was so self-serving, it makes me wonder what kind of history Richardson has with New York to produce a multi-page defense of his behavior under the guise of public examination.  There's nothing to defend.  There's nothing to explain.  The man is a predator.  There is no reason why model after model should work with someone, then leave feeling violated.  The argument that these models originally consented is a wholly specious one.  They went as far as they were comfortable, he took it further.  That's not consent.  

Richardson's specific actions are especially egregious because he's SO influential, but I think it's important to recognize that while one specific man is being targeted, his behavior is symptomatic of larger issues within the modeling/fashion industry. This is a hyper-competitive industry that both appeals to and targets young, underage women, often foreign-born,  and without the necessary language skills, experience, and/or maturity to protect themselves and stand up for their rights. They go to a job, and they're afraid to displease anyone lest it hurts their fledgling career, so they begrudgingly agree to do whatever the photographers want, and the photographers know it. That's why Richardson is a predator. Child actors and porn stars both have more laws and regulations in place to protect their rights than models; models are usually lowest in the food chain and have the most instances of exploitation.  This needs to change.  I'm only one photographer, but I pledge I will do what I can to change this, even if only slightly.

I won't let this story go. I do not support this man, so much so that I've actually tweaked my marketing plan to avoid potential clients who have shown support for him.  In the grand scale of the history of fashion photographers, I'm a nobody.  I know this.  Being in SF (by choice) I'm working three times as hard to have 1/3 the career I could be having if I was in NYC full time.  That is the choice I've made.  That doesn't mean I have to sacrifice my morals.  

I recognize the position of power I can be in when I'm on set, and I find the predatory nature of photographers like Richardson (and so, so many others) to be absolutely deplorable. I never understood it, frankly. Sure, go out of your way to make your model, a creative collaborator on your project, visibly uncomfortable. Yeah, I'm sure your pictures will turn out great.

Models are people, not tools. Treat them well. End of story.

 

New Work: Goofing Off In The Studio

Sometimes, you just need to get into a studio and play around, just to get new work in your book and brush off the dust.

I'm anticipating a (hopefully) busy summer.  I'm taking September off (30th birthday, then a mini trip with my mother, then all the Fashion Weeks hit, and there's no point in trying to work because no one will be here), and I'm aiming to go back to NYC in October, so I'd like to produce a lot of new stuff before then.  My goal is 3-4 shoots a month for June, July, and August.  I had this shoot at the start of the month, I'm shooting the 22nd, 26th, and probably 29th.  Then, oh goodness, who knows.  Watch this space?

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Travel: NYC and DC

I'm currently in NYC to attend Fotoworks (portfolio event) and meet with a few potential clients.  Afterwards, I'll head down to DC to visit family.

I forgot the East Coast has seasons.  I can see the appeal.  Maybe.  Talk to me again in August.  ;)

Marketing vs. Creating: The Epic Battle

So, the best way I can describe being a full-time, freelance artist is like having this burning need to climb a treacherous mountain (because WHY?!), one that never seems to really have a top (again, WHY?!), so you start to climb, but you need to be careful to make sure your legs are never too far apart from each other, or else you'll fall.  One leg is the creative, fun, artsy-fartsy side, and the other leg is the serious, professional, business-minded side.  You can alternate little baby steps, one side, then the other, or you can all of a sudden take a GIANT step with one leg, but you'll be forced to use the other leg next to make up the difference--you literally can't get too far with one leg without the help of the other. 

And that's my life. 

I can plan, design, shoot, and edit all I want, but it won't go anywhere without strategy or marketing.  Likewise, I can't sell myself without new material to show off.  So, like so many other creatives, I'm in a constant battle of marketing vs. creating.  (Two enter!  One leaves!)

Sometimes, the direction is pretty obvious--I have something to show off, or a very clear idea idea in my head of what I want to produce, which will lead to having something to show off, or I'm planning some business-related travel.  But sometimes, like now, I could really go either way.  As I was a child of the 90s, I'll let this screen-grab of the epic(-ally campy) computer game Treasure Mountain explain my current mental state:

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Oh look, there's that climbing metaphor again, but at least there's a jaunty cap.

I could go with the creative route, or I could go with the marketing route, but I need to decide something, or else, like the funky mountaineering....elf (?), I'll be frozen in the middle.  Which is kind of where I am right now.

The radio silence isn't from a lack of direction, it's from knowing there are too many directions.  But there are things in the works.  Really.