-First Crack: Matt C-
As part of FH's 2017 first theme, I have been asking many of my favorite photographers about their first time shooting a nude model. It is always interesting to ask models about taking it off for the first time, but I am equally fascinated about the experience of the photographer. Were they nervous, excited or completely calm? Were there questions or concerns about the location, or how to approach a model about an idea or concept. How did they choose the model in question and how would they ensure they were on the same page creatively and with expectations. For ANNE Photography's Mike, many of his shoot occur while traveling 'on the road', which doesn't always allow time to get to know models prior to shooting. Mike's first nude shoot was with Matt C, whose boyfriend joined in at the end of the shoot. When Mike sent me on his comments about working with Matt, he ended with this sentence. 'If you want to hear about my second shoot, later that day, let me know, it was an interesting story...' Of course I wanted to know, and thought you might as well.
I began model photography in 2014. Prior to that, all of my models had been people I knew or myself. To be honest, I wasn't hitting it out of the park. I signed up with Model Mayhem on January 1, 2014. It took six months until they approved my account. It was a bit of the chicken and the egg situation. I couldn't get approved without a variety of models, but I couldn't find models without a portfolio. I finally resorted to using pictures of my family. I did a couple of shoots that summer. I was on the road in St. Louis at the time, so I shot Khoudian there. He was the first model I asked to remove his shirt. I was so nervous asking that. I felt like a pornographer. In November I went to South Africa for the miles, and shot Kyros. He was the first model I asked to pose in underwear. I did ask him to remove the underwear so I could get a more revealing shot, but he was covered in a sheet.
My first true nude shoots took place on January 8 and 9, 2015. I was in New York with my husband and his family. We have a time share in Manhattan, so we took a long weekend there. I has setup five or six models through Model Mayhem. I arranged to meet each one at the Starbucks down the street from the timeshare. My husband took the late morning and early afternoon to get tickets from TKTS to see a show. Matt C, the very first model to show up, came with his boyfriend. He said he had nothing to do, and asked if I would mind if he had him tag along. I was too naive to know that this was his chaperone. Matt was a small guy of Indian decent, who weighs 100 pounds soaking wet. I understand why he would want someone along.
When we got back to the room, we made small talk, and soon got to work. I had already discussed what I wanted to shoot with Matt in several emails. He was comfortable doing nude work, and I started to put my camera to work. I was still not very good, didn't have the proper lenses, and didn't truly understand F stops, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. So, unfortunately, much of what I shot is either too dark, or blurry. After about 15 minutes or so, Matt's boyfriend said he was hoping to model too, but he needed shots for his portfolio.
I offered to do some head shots for free, and I got some OK shots of him. Then about 10 minutes later he asked if I would shoot both of them nude. I almost fell over, worried that this was some soft of orgy thing. I had never shot one nude guy, let alone two. I was eager to try, but was very nervous and suspicious. We negotiated a rate, and we got to work.
I soon realized that I had nothing to worry about. They truly loved each other, and I think wanted to have some pictures together. I also think they enjoyed themselves, because my first nude shoot turned into my first erotic shoot as both of them got aroused. I got a handful of good pictures from that shoot. I was so green, I didn't ask for an ID or a release. I got verbal confirmation from several models, and Matt C finally sent me a photo of his release allowing me to use the photos in a book, but no frontals on the Internet. Several models also sent me their ID's, including Matt and his boyfriend. I enjoyed my first nude shoot. It was about 1 hour long, and afterward I was shaking I was so nervous, but I learned a few things.
-Second Crack: Victor-
The second shoot of the day took place in the afternoon. Once again, I met the model at Starbucks. Almost immediately I felt something was off. His hygiene wasn't great, and he looked out of it. When we got back to the room and started working, he was distracted. He wouldn't put down his phone, and when he did pose, he looked like he was high. Several times I offered to stop the session, feeling that I wasn't really getting anything worthwhile. Each time he acted as if I was crazy to want to stop.
When I asked for particular poses, he seemed dense, and asked me to move him into position. I felt I had had enough, and told him we were done, and that he could get dressed. He went into the bathroom again, and I started to review the pictures. He came out of the bathroom, with an erection, and stroking is penis. I figured he might want to try an erotic pose, remembering my previous session sort of was that way. When I got my camera ready, he said "I thought you said we were done."
He asked to review the pictures with me, and as I sat at the desk, he hovered over my shoulder and continued to stroke his penis. I told him, I was not interested, and that I was happily married, and to please leave. At first he refused, and I became frightened. Now mind you, I am not a small person, and I went through basic training at Fort Benning when I was 19, so I probably could handle myself. But I also don't like confrontation, and was scared. I told him to leave again, and he asked for a hug. I said no, and became firm and told him to leave. Finally he left.
After he left, I immediately told my husband about the situation. I was thinking this would be my last shoot ever. The next day he started emailing and texting asking to do another shoot. I said I was busy. I sent him the pictures, and he went through and complained about almost every picture. I was new and naive, and didn't know how the whole thing worked, so I let him say no to a whole host of perfectly good pictures.
Several times during the year he would bother me asking me for another shoot, and I finally told him that he made me very uncomfortable, and I didn't want to work with him ever again. To this day, I don't know if I even paid him. If the next two sessions I had had not been so comfortable and good, this would have been the last shoot.