Very good point. If you have to move your model's body parts like a mannikin's, then either you are lacking in communication skills, or the model probably has the brain of a mannikin, as well as the body. I always make it a point never to touch a model, except, as you say, for grooming reasons. I will first try to tell him/her, "you have a piece of lint on your shoulder," and then if they don't find it, I will ask permission to take care of it myself. Whenever possible, I like the model to bring a spouse or friend along to handle such matters.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
If it's a posing or positioning issue and the model doesn't seem to understand my instructions, I will say, "start turning your head away from me slowly until I tell you to stop." Such instructions may sound silly, and often provoke a laugh, but they usually work.
I'm sure situation varies and we need to be flexible. Subjects, ordinary people, models in training, or fully trained models come in variety of skill levels (in posing) and personalities. Some understands very well, some do not, and some misunderstands a lot. I just ran into that last week myself.
I, too, make a point to NOT touch the models, and when I must, I always ask for permission first. (or send my girlfriend to do it for me) After several attempts at verbally instructing the model up close, I ask for permission. It's always a simple "can I touch you?" When you are there, it's obvious what I mean. Without exceptions, the response is either overwhelming agreement or reluctant agreement. I can tell easily which is which.
Personally, I do not like to be touched. There is a guy at work who always touches someone's shoulder and arms gently. It is not a sexual touch in any ways but almost unanimously, people describe this touch as "creepy". I asked him to not touch me in non-certain terms twice and he doesn't get it. He is very close to be reported to HR for this by several people. So, be careful. It has nothing to do with what we as photographers intended. It has everything to do with how subject has perceived and it can be very unpredictable.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I don't know how old you are, but I can't believe anyone is so naive. good professional models know their job and know more about posing than most photographers, they have routines they go through that are a series of attractive poses that they know look good, if you want to modify their pose you just describe to them what you want I've worked with pro models for more than twenty years and made it a rule never to lay hands on them, the girls don't appreciate it or the agency s they are employed by.
Originally Posted by tomalophicon
Last edited by benjiboy; 07-27-2011 at 10:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Well.... think about it this way.
You can probably get away with a lot of things most of the time. But then, there's one client who came with an intent that she/he is going to gain from you - more than photograph. Or - something happened during the session and now the model is upset - he/she wants to get back at you. Bam!
Many things are just annoyances but sexual misconduct - even if you are eventually cleared will put a stain on your reputation. Someone being accused of something will make a big news. Everybody will hear about it. Somebody being cleared of such thing will hardly ever be a news and most people won't hear about it - or won't be interested in knowing more. You'll forever be a guy with questionable reputation.
I personally won't risk that.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I'd be interested to hear from TheFlyingCamera on this issue, given that he works with male models.
And I find it curious this is in the "Ethics and Philosophy" forum.
My only input on the subject itself is that it works better for me to use hand gestures ("turn this way") than to describe ("turn to the right").
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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I think there is a different dynamic with male models, that a touch does not per-se bring to mind thoughts of sexual harassment or other unwanted advances. That said, however, discretion is still the better part of valor and professionalism, and I refrain from making contact with models unless it is necessary (lint removal, stubborn posing issues). I try to verbally describe the pose I'm looking for, illustrate it with photos or drawings from books, and I'll even have them don the focusing cloth and look at me making a fool of myself trying to emulate the pose I want in the ground glass so they can get a better idea of what I'm looking for sometimes.
When I do touch a model to correct a pose, I'll make sure I tell them exactly where I'm planning to touch them, why I'm doing it, and what I'm trying to achieve. I make sure the contact is firm and direct, without being forceful. As Tkamiya mentioned, sometimes a light touch is much easier to mis-interpret than a direct one. I've never had a problem with it so far, because I put in a lot of work up front to build trust and rapport with the models so there isn't a question in their head about what I'm doing, even when I ask first.
This is particularly effective with models who don't know their left from their right, and believe me some of them don't.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Also, you're seeing the model in reverse from the way they're thinking about themselves in relation to you. Your left is their right, and vice versa. It lends itself to a lot of potential confusion. In some ways it helps if you're shooting large format because you're seeing them reversed too, so in a way it's right way round!