Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Take on Modeling Sites

Yesterday, in my "scam" report, I mentioned Model Mayhem and referred to it as " of my not-so-favorite modeling sites."

A reader, Jeff N, left a comment and, in it, he wrote, "So whats your beef with MM? I'm trying to build my portfolio and am using MM without any issues.(yet?) I'm sure GWC scenario's are abound in combo with flaky models, but what site isn't?"

The truth is, I have no specific, personally-experienced "beef" with MM. I also don't have a specific problem with One Model Place, or, for that matter, most any modeling site. My "issues" with these sites are more generic.

For some shooters, perhaps many, MM, OMP, and others sites of that ilk serve a purpose. I know of more than a few photographers who mine these sites for willing models. Their success rate in procuring victims, I mean agreeable models, seems to vary widely: Some do quite well and others rarely pan a nugget from these sites. I assume there are many factors for this: The quality of the shooter's work, his or her approach, geographic location, and so forth.

I've never spent much time on these sites with the intent of seducing models into gracing my viewfinder. Usually, I hire models or someone else hires me to shoot models they've hired. On a few occasions, I've logged onto OMP and MM and others and have perused a number of pics of pretty girls who've aroused my photographic interests and, because of this, cyber-sent a message with an offer to shoot them with a TFP arrangement. For the most part, the models have never responded. Oh well. I see it as their loss. I hope that doesn't sound egotistical but, generally, the sort of models who have aroused my interests (and I was willing to shoot for free) are ones who possess, in my opinion, a unique look but have posted lame images (in their ports) which don't exactly showcase their beauty or uniqueness.

At the risk of rambling, here's a short, anecdotal, true story: A friend of mine, who is/was a nationally-known, "feature dancer" in gentlemen's clubs, a.k.a., strip clubs, as well as a glamour/nude model regularly featured in many men's magazines, was performing locally and invited me to catch her show. She graciously had left a pass for me at the door and, after arriving, I went in and sat down, waiting for her show to begin. Almost at once, one of the "house dancers," a young, plain-speaking, beauty whom I've shot before, came bouncing up to me. "Jimmy!" she shouted over the club's music with a big grin, "What are you doing here?" Before I could answer, she blurted out, "You don't pay to look at p_ssy. You get paid to look at it!" I'm only telling this because her ribald comment sort-of, and in a round-about way, illustrates why I feel it's me who should be getting paid to shoot an inexperienced, wannabee, never-done-anything model and not the other way around.

That aside...

While I do spend a fair amount of time on photographer forums, the forums on most modeling sites are sophomoric in terms of their content. Plus, they often seem to discuss the same, lame, sophomoric shit over and over ad nauseum.

The many GWCs and wannabees that infest these sites also perturb me. That's not to say all the members of these sites fall into those two categories. Mostly, it's the wannabee models that annoy me to the greatest extent. Many of these girls desperately need to take a course in Reality 101. Quite often, it's not that they aren't cute or hot or, potentially, have a shot at making something of themselves in a modeling career; it's their attitudes and expectations that are out of touch with reality. Sure, most of them are young, naieve, and have little experience or real knowledge regarding their modeling aspiratons. But that's no excuse for not investing some of their time learning about the real world of modeling, glamour or otherwise.

I know it's a cliché and often-heard complaint, but to post low-res, grainy-looking, lame, cell phone pics of themselves in an online portfolio and then demand to be paid for any modeling opportunity that might come their way is ludicrous. Using myself as an example, if anyone should be paying anyone they should be paying me. I'm not saying I'm the world's greatest--far from it--but I can guarantee I'll give them images they can take to any agency and not be laughed-out on their asses. And they wonder why they end up having bad experiences with GWCs? Beyond being inept at "reading" people, you think it has something to do with the fact they don't have a clue what makes a good image or which shooters, by virtue of their posted work, have a clue what they're doing?

Okay. I guess I should get off the soap box. The pretty girl at the top is Brooke. I shot this a year or more ago. I like this image for a couple of reasons: 1) Brooke is quite easy on the eyes and 2) It has a voyeuristic feel to it.


Anonymous said...

while i'm still only a half step about the average GWC skill wise, i still seem to deal with every flake the internet has to offer. i wish photoshop would finally come out with a flake filter.

jimmyd said...

A shooter's GWC Factor reflects a state of mind, not a state of skill.

Most experienced models develop a keen sense of Pervdar. As your pretty girl shooting skills develop, so will you Flakedar.

jeff n said...

Not to take up excessive bandwith here Jimmy,as I recently posted. But, as this topic is relevent to my current interest, I wanted to at least attempt a succinct reply.

It seems its the poser's and wannabe's that comprises the jist of your (albeit rightful)rant.

I think when your dealing with models your typically dealing with a populace of right hemisphere individuals.Nothing wrong with that. Lots of hardworking talent out there. But its also awash with flakes and wannabe's that coupled with those dreamy right lobe characteristics, has the effect of wasting alot of people's time. Theirs included.

What I find interesting, is that this is an industry where someone else determines your success. The virtue of hard work, discipline and perserverance, traits that are considered fundamental in other disciplines, are absent here.You either have the look, or you don't.

"Its a cruel world out there Kid"

So much for being succinct...

jimmyd said...

I think when your dealing with models your typically dealing with a populace of right hemisphere individuals.

I've been professionally shrinked a number of times in my life. Each time, I was told I'm as right-brained as anyone they've ever seen. We all have our crosses to bear.

P.S. It ain't my bandwidth, it belongs to Google. Use as much of it as you wish.

jimmyd said...

P.S. to Jeff.

For grins, I just took this simple survey. It says I'm 10% left-brained and 90% right-brained.

jeff n said...

Did the same:

I'm 40%L, 60%R;

No wonder Office Depot gets me all hot and bothered!

Lin said...

~Fantastic post. Very accurate too.
The difference is that you are a well-known professional photographer, and you shoot mainly with professional models.
With the growth of the internet, most photographers and models on these modelling sites are just wannabes.

One of the most common complaints about MM, other modelling sites, and the internet in general are the sheer number of GWC's, and also the fact that most models' expectations are way too high.

Rich has shot many models who have been obsessed with fame (closely followed by fortune), 99% of those who will never "make it". This is normal for the modelling industry, of course, but many wannabe models just end up being exploited by photographers who aren't really interested in the pictures but are more interested in being in the same room as a naked chick. The models concerned accept this, on the whole, and just see it as par for the course on the road towards fortune and glory

I'm not complaining though. Without the likes of MM, we'd never have got started, and I wouldn't have so much fun modelling. Many models on MM, myself included, just model for fun.

I guess, like all things, it depends on the motives and expectations of the photographers and models involved.

On a personal note, I kinda like the idea of being a "wannabe who infests those sites". Catchy! I like it!

ben said...

i've got to agree with the person above this post: you talking about some modeling sites is like john holmes talking about "enhancement" pills....i'm sure he might know of them (if he were still around), but like your situation with regards to modeling sites, does not NEED them.

none of this is meant to be negative towards you personally, you're a true talent and are living the's just a reminder that you're on a whole other plane than most of us. as bad as OPM, MM and all the rest are, it's pretty much all we've got to go with. example - in a post i saw a while back you talk about all the bad pictures on myspace - and i totally agree - but even with such horrible photos these people go diva and or 'flaky' on you if you offer to do a better job than a two year old camera phone can do.

i'm sure not all, but almost all the folks i've talked to think pretty darn high of themselves - they can't think they're the next gisele or kate moss?

ok, i'm done ranting now, thanks for the great blog.