Archive for the ‘General’ Category

When a photoshoot…isn’t

Posted: 28/04/2016 in General, safety

As some of you know, I co-run Safe Model, a resource for people in the industry to come for help and advice. Weekly, we receive reports of unsavoury behaviour in one form or another and we always do our very best to help as much as we can, even if it’s just an ear to listen. Every now and then something that truly horrifies us gets brought to our attention.

This week we had two of those…

The first of these has now been made public and you’ll find it makes for very uncomfortable reading. This was not a photoshoot. This was a guy luring models in with paying ‘work’ offers, whereby he then physically assaults them for his own gratification. And it WAS assault. There is no question of that.

The ‘breath play’ set, for example. This can be alluded to photographically by insinuation, you don’t actually need to stop your model from being able to breathe. That was purely done for his own purposes.

I have seen the checklist this ‘photographer’ provides, with very little explanation of what these very niche terms are, and it includes “sex without protection”. Take a moment to absorb that.

Now, as has been pointed out numerous times over the last few days, once this young lady had endured the first ‘set’, she should have fled. You NEVER stay on a shoot where this happens without your express consent. BUT, that’s often easier said than done. You’re alone with a guy who’s just hurt you. What will happen if you try to leave?! This is something that all the ‘tutters’ fail to understand. What did go wrong, from the outset, was that the model did not do her due diligence. Before agreeing to any shoot of this nature you need to make damned sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. You need to speak, personally, with models who have shot with this person before; you search their name, email address, phone number…everything you have, online and find out all you can. As it turns out, other models have now come forward, saying they had the same experience with the same guy.

However, none of that detracts from the fact that it is the photographer who is to blame. Not the model. She made an error in judgement, he set out to mislead her and then assault her. That is a fact. The saddest fact is that it is necessary to have to do the research, to not be able to trust online references, because we all know that they tell half a story a lot of the time.

Which leads into the second story, also in the public domain… A young model, in financial difficulty is offered a golden opportunity to shoot some fetish/BDSM work. Great. Only during the pre-shoot communications, the photographer starts to change the boundaries. What starts as a staged scenario for the purposes of photos turns into the model being dominated by another party, and then another – the photographer. Reality, not staged. Then the photographer starts demanding the model is now his play thing, a toy. He bombards her with messages, constantly reminding her that he’s going to make her a lot of money, if she just does ‘as she is told’. That he is starting her training before the shoot, making the demands that a Master makes to his submissive. I’ve personally seen many screenshots of this conversation, it makes your skin crawl so far it leaves the building, and I’ve been involved in the scene for 21 years, so I don’t shock easily.

These are NOT photoshoots. They were manipulation, power play and control. Photographs would just have been a bonus. This is unacceptable. Had the models been wanting to fulfill a reality role of that kind, that would be a totally different story, as it would be their informed choice and as grown women they are entitled to that choice. Whilst some would frown upon it, because it crosses the professional boundaries, it would still be consenting adults doing as they wish. I have no issue whatsoever with the BDSM lifestyle, I encourage it, but you have to be honest at all times with your intentions. If it’s a photoshoot, then make it that and leave it at that! The codes of conduct exist for a reason.

In closing, my advice to anyone who wishes to undertake a BDSM/Fetish photoshoot is this:

  1. Research. Always.
  2. Insurance – Ask your photographer whether they have it.
  3. 3rd Party – If your shoot will entail you being restrained in such a way that you will be unable to free yourself or move, a 3rd party is absolutely necessary. What if the photographer dropped dead of a heart attack, or had an accident that rendered them unconscious?
  4. Training/Experience – Ask if they have relevant training, especially in health & safety/first aid. If not, then they will need a rigger. That can be your 3rd party.
  5. Content – Make sure from the outset that you are very clear what will be happening. Do not agree to anything you are unsure of. Remember that anything depicting harm or danger to breasts, anus or genitals is illegal in the UK.
  6. Limits – Set your own limits, do not deviate from them.
  7. Safe words/signals – Ensure that all parties are aware before the shoot begins what your safe words are, or signals if you will be gagged.
  8. Do not advertise yourself as a bondage/fetish model if your experience is being handcuffed, or dangling from some chains. Actual BDSM/fetish shoots are often to a much higher level, especially those that are paying.
  9. Safety – No safe rigger will tie you without first asking a set of basic questions about your health.

Please remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own safety, inexperience and lack of knowledge are the most common ways models find themselves in these situations. Learn to spot the dangers, because they are out there!

 

So last time we wrote about equipment, and getting into the coveted art nude scene; today we will cover edits and portfolios!

Q. Editing, what gives?!

Well first things first, can you use photoshop? No?  Go learn it.   In the meantime, get someone who CAN use it to do your editing, or your images will look awful.  Blurring the living fuck out of someones skin to get that magazine look is not how it’s done!  You make your model look like a cheap plastic imitation of a human being, which is neither flattering to her (or him, yes I’ve seen it done to men too!) nor is it going to get you work.  Really.

At this point in time I don’t have time to do tutorials for step by step re-touching, but there are a wealth of them out there.  Any that mention Guassian Blur, hit that red ‘x’.

Once you’ve learned how to use it, or found someone to do it for you, there are a few things to remember.

Firstly, unless specifically asked by your model, do not remove every skin characteristic they have.  Some people LIKE their scars, birthmarks etc.  It’s a part of who they are.  There’s nothing worse than having a client say “But that just doesn’t look like me”, unless they came to you to make them look different; most portraits people ask for, they just want to look nice!   Same goes for sculpting them, don’t even think about re-shaping their thighs unless they want you to…

Secondly, the sharpen tool is not your friend.  Honestly.

Q. What do I give the model?

Now this is a good one, and a lot of photographers vary greatly in their opinion.  As with all of these Q&A’s, we are only giving our opinion based on our experience.

We do not give out unedited images.  Why?  Because somewhere down the line that model will decide they’d like to use one of the pics you haven’t edited, and they have a friend who is ‘good at that stuff’ and before you know it one of your images is out there for all to see, butchered.  Ohhh they’ll still give you credit as the photographer but oh. my. god. you won’t want it!

So, for that reason we usually say a minimum amount they will receive from the shoot, and anything they get on top of that is a bonus,  we may say 10, but it’ll be 15 as there’s always those shots you can’t NOT edit because they’re so damn lovely!! What you have to remember is that if you let the model/client pick the images to be edited, they will be looking just at how they look in that image, and not the image as a whole.

Q. What should go in my portfolio?

Your portfolio is different to your gallery, it may contain images that aren’t online anywhere like ours does, but it should always contain the images that are the very best of what you have done so far.  Try not to be repetitious, even to begin with you need to try to not have just one person in it.  Make sure there is a variety of styles that can appeal to many, even if you have a chosen ‘speciality’.

That will do for now… Next time, Model Release forms!

Over n out 😉

 

A general update

Posted: 24/03/2011 in General, Photography

What’s going on:

This last couple of weeks have been laying the groundwork for some rather exciting things happening for TwistedPix over the next couple of months!

Not only are we doing two exclusive shoots for ViciousKitty to be featured in Petite Alternative Magazine (USA), but we have also been interviewed for Gladstone Mag,  a newcomer to the scene that is set to be a huge success.  The mag has it’s official launch at Liverpool tattoo convention, which we will be attending on the Saturday so we are really looking forward to that!!

We are booked solidly until the end of May, with various jobs ranging from the previously mentioned mag shoots to portfolio expansions/starter packs for upcoming models, as well as a couple of returning clients!  We also have a couple of our own projects that we’ll be working on, so keep an eye out for those!

We are proud to be supporting ‘Tattoos4CausesUK‘, and ask that you give even just a little when coming for a shoot, or even just a visit with us, as the charities they are working for are very close to our hearts, especially Cancer Relief!

Prize Draw:

Some of you may have seen mention of a prize draw in the last couple of weeks, and indeed you read correctly!  As soon as we hit 500 fans on the Facebook page we will hold the draw, to be included you need only suggest us to friends by sharing our link on your wall.  Couldn’t be easier right…and you stand to win a free photoshoot with us! —-> http://www.facebook.com/TwistedPix <—-  We will hold another draw when we hit 1000, so keep suggesting to be in the running.

Turning the Tables:

A strange thing happened last weekend.  Somehow we ended up agreeing to allow one of our ‘fans’ and friend, Pauline, to come and turn the tables on us soon!  She will be behind the camera, and we shall be in front of it…this could get messy 😉  We will give you more info on the date for that little party when we have a chat with the lovely lady!!

Calendar:

And finally, we are going ahead with our plans to publish a 2012 Calendar in aid of S.O.P.H.I.E; we welcome your suggestions on which images you’d love to see make the final cut right, through until September, so keep letting us know.

That’s it for now… stay twisted 😉

A little respect…

Posted: 09/02/2011 in General, Photography
Tags: ,

Last weekend saw us in Bilston at The Robin 2, photographing my much loved Dressed To Kill ( the worlds longest running and most successful KISS tribute band -shameful plug) whilst they said goodbye to Ian and welcomed Matt as the new drummer!

We also did their new promo shots, and despite sone on-camera techy issues we think they came out pretty well 🙂 I’ve not finished editing them yet, but I’m trying to keep the number of final images down; never easy with a DTK shoot! lol

The only drawback of the night was another photographer who had sod all respect for the crowd, or other photographers. He went so far as to actually lean on my HEAD and digging his elbows into the necks of the crowd. That just isn’t professional. The one thing we have to remember is that these people paid to be here, to watch a show they love; they don’t want some arse with a camera kneeing them in the back of their legs. Consideration costs nothing, and I always respect other photographers; unless they try to use me as a fucking tripod.

Nonetheless, we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the guys; it’s just very sad to see Ian leave but exciting to have Matt join them!

This weekend we have Jill returning for her THIRD shoot with us. You just can’t keep some folk away lol 😉 You can expect some new and different things once again from Jill, as she’s decided to explore some avenues she’s never considered before. It should be a good one!!

On a complete side note, this week we want you to go and check out Opulent Ink in Wolverhampton. For those of you who are passionate about good ink, I can’t say enough good things about Tony, Leigh and Fiona. So get your sorry selves in for a look 😉

TP

I was having a little browse about, and I came across Redbook’s infamous re-touching of Faith Hill for their cover. http://jezebel.com/278919/heres-our-winner-redbook-shatters-our-faith-in-well-not-publishing-but-maybe-god if you want a look.  I can completely understand why people were incensed about it, just as a famous model/actress who was airbrushed within an inch of her life and put on the cover of a magazine caused uproar when people saw the re-toucher had forgotten to edit her shadow which showed evil hip fat and not this beautiful figure we saw before us!  Why were we so shocked though?

As far as I see it, excessive airbrushing is unnecessary and an insult to the model.   Yes we all like to see beautiful things, but the age old rant about impressionable kids is so very true.  more than half of teenage girls are dieting, or wanting surgery to meet the ideal that is presented to them every damn day by our media.  Most of them have already got that ideal in their head by the time puberty hits.  They’re not savvy enough to realise it is all a big fake!

I get so riled at the devil-may-care attitude of the media, maybe they need to keep plugging this unrealistic image so that they can then publish stories about how many teens killed themselves last year or were treated for eating disorders.   It’s absurd.

I think re-touching should be limited to blemish removals, scars if requested by the person who has them, and minor tweaks like opening an eye that was beginning to blink on that otherwise perfect shot.  Fundamentally changing the appearance of the person is so fucking pointless in my opinion, but hey I’m just one photographer; just one re-toucher… 😦

What’s in a name?

Posted: 15/07/2010 in General
Tags: ,

Again this morning I’ve needed to explain to someone that I am not a ‘goth’.  Are people really so ignorant and misinformed that they label everyone with black hair as gothic?

Today, I can be found sporting my Voodoo Tattoo t-shirt, a pair of combat trousers and boots; I have very little make up on (a splash of mascara and a neutral lipstick is all I could be bothered with today) so explain to me please how on earth that can be mistaken for gothic?!   Were I of that lifestyle I would be seen in dress coats, corsets, long velvet skirts with some serious make up.  Unless I were a cyber goth, of course, in which case I’d have multicoloured ‘dreads and a pink tutu…surely?

So what am I?  I’m a person.  I hate the idea that I need to label myself to make it acceptable to others that I don’t look what they perceive to be normal!  I’m constantly pushed to describe myself, and all I can say it “I am an alternative”, literally meaning different to you.  Do I ask you to describe yourself, to give yourself a label so that I can feel more comfortable?  Maybe I should point at every other person I see on the street, and mumble a bit too loudly about their chosen attire for the day. Perhaps I should teach my children that anyone who looks different to me is wrong;that they should point and laugh at you, and call you names, like normal.

Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked, and Sophie was beaten to death for looking different, for being of the ‘gothic subculture’, that was the reason for their deaths.  They were beaten so badly that their faces were indistinguishable as male or female.

Because they looked different to you.

Most of my life I have spent looking different to the mainstream, is that a reason to die?  What scares you so much about the way I dress?

All these rhetorical questions yet so far I have never received a suitable answer. I would like to know who dictates what is an acceptable way to look, and why you think I have to provide you with a suitable label for myself.  Maybe it just helps you sleep better at night without the nagging question “is she a goth or not” eh…