Friday, April 24, 2009

Everything You Want to Know About 2257 But Are Afraid to Ask

As we seemingly move closer and closer to an Orwellian society, there are some things pretty girl shooters must know about the law lest we find ourselves, uhhh... at odds with it... at odds with the law, that is. Pretty girl shooters are already at odds with a number of segments of society.

Section 2257 of Title 18, United States Code (hereinafter referred to as 2257), is one of those things photographers need to know about and to comply with.

If you sometimes find yourself photographing a pretty girl sans clothing (only those 18 and over, of course) you should be aware of 2257 and, more importantly, you should be complying with 2257's Draconian rules and regulations assuming, that is, one of your life-goals is to remain out of federal prison.

What is 2257? Well, it's a law (supposedly) designed to protect children from child pornographers. I know. I know. You would never think to pornographically exploit a child. Personally, I believe you. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government doesn't share that same faith I have in your sense of right and wrong. And because of their lack of faith in your principles and moral grounding, 2257 requires that you maintain records proving that those who grace your viewfinders are, indeed, over the age of 18.

It doesn't matter if you're shooting Grannies in their birthday suits. The Feds, it seems, believe some of those Grannies might be kiddies in Granny disguises. And if you can't prove a Granny is a Granny you might find yourself getting your three-squares a day behind bars in Federal penitentiary.

There was a time when 2257 only applied to those producing actual pornography. What is pornography you ask with a nod and wink? Well, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once opined, "I know it when I see it." Actually, Justice Potter was referring to obscenity, i.e., pornography that is not constitutionally protected. But you get my drift.

Unfortunately for many photographers, that was then and this is now.

The Feds, by virtue of their newest iterations of 2257, have expanded what is and isn't pornography. According to the new and improved (sic) 2257, many of you who are shooting, as an example, art nudes, now are suddenly making your art in the dark and seedy realms of porn where, of course, all children are at risk of being ensnared by the demons, like you and I, who lurk there. (That last sentence was sarcasm, btw.)

As is often the case with many laws and regulations and statutes we must comply with, 2257 can be more than a little confusing. But there's good news! At least one photographer has put it all together in a way that lays bare (pun intended) 2257's compliance demands and gives you all the info you need, in an easily digestible way, to help you sleep easier knowing you can pursue your art while staying out of jail.

That photographer is Stephen Haynes and he's written a book titled, "A Photographers Guide to Section 2257: How to Photograph Nudes and Stay Out of Federal Prison."

Why do I believe Haynes' book does what I claim it does? I've read it, of course.

And so should you.

"A Photographers Guide to Section 2257" puts it all together in layman's terms. You don't need to be a doctor of Jurisprudence, aka a lawyer, to understand what 2257 means to you and your craft and how best to comply with it. It's the most thorough explanation of 2257 I've read--a handy-dandy reference-resource, if you will--as it applies to this thing we do (this pretty girl shooting, photography, thing) and its relationship with the law.

If you're a pretty girl shooter and you're smart, which I know many of you are both, you'll take the time to learn all you can about 2257 and how to steer clear of its severe penalties for non-compliance. One easy and economical way to do that is to purchase Hayne's comprehensive book.

If you're interested in getting your grubby hands on a copy of Haynes' important, exhaustively-researched, and well-written book, "A Photographers Guide to Section 2257: How to Photograph Nudes and Stay Out of Federal Prison," you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

The pretty girl at the top, with the tight muscles and nice chest puppies, is Katarina-- A former Russian circus trapeze artist turned American model, from a few years back.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy,

Beautiful shot of the Russian model—she’s one of my favorites of the model’s you’ve shown.

When you created this shot, you were down much lower and shooting upwards. Do most models instinctively know to bow their heads slightly, or do you instinctively provide guidance to avoid the nostril shot? Similarly, was turning to head away from the camera part of your strategy to minimize the nostrils?

In your post, you referenced chest puppies. I suspect that, *in general*, the larger the better. But if a model has an A cup size, does that limit her ability to do glamour shots? And when you are presented with a model A cup model, do you photograph differently? With regard to differently, I am not only referring to physical photography wise, but also psychological wise. In other words, do you use certain photographic techniques to enhance her appearance, and do you feel the need to assure her?

My own bias would be that all cup sizes are desirable because there is an audience for all cup sizes. It’s a matter of preferences. I would think a large part of the shoot would be the photographer’s and model’s ability to create and capture a certain look. In other words, attitude plays a very important role. All that said, most images I see contain women with C+ cup sizes. So I am curious how a professional views those models with smaller breasts and how those models are treated and photographed.

Thanks Jimmy.


jimmyd said...

@KS, Generally, I like to shoot with my lens in and around belly-button level. (The model's belly-button, not mine.) This usually puts my ass seated on an apple box which, being somewhat lazy, is also a "plus" in my mind.

Experienced models instinctively bow their heads slightly (unless I direct them otherwise) in order to make on-axis eye contact with the lens.

Obviously, some models have wider/larger nostrils than others and nostril-size definitely dictates head-position directing. With some models, you can practically shoot right up into their nostrils without it seeming like you're doing an internal sinus exam. With others, you have to watch closely (when shooting from low) and find an angle, coupled with head-positioning, in order to avoid a distracting problem.

As far as chest puppies go, I personally go for smaller to medium-sized breasts. That's probly why I sometimes call 'em "puppies" instead of "big dogs." :-)

I don't think glamour automatically means big tits. Yeah, big tits might often mean big tips if the model works in a strip club but, photographically, it's not an issue. Leastwise, for me. After all, a beautiful, sexy, gorgeous woman is a beautiful, sexy, gorgeous woman regardless of cup size. I don't ever try to light or photograph a model in ways that might enhance her cup size. (That's what PS's Liquify Tool is for if I'm inclined to give the model a little extra on her chest.)

I am, however, aware that some models (and women in general) are a bit concerned about their cup size. I guess that's why so many plastic surgeons have booming businesses enhancing breasts. There's always going to be people, men as well as women, who truly subscribe to the "size does matter" point-of-view. I'm not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comments on the shooting height and having the model's head on axis.

>>There's always going to be people, men as well as women, who truly subscribe to the "size does matter" point-of-view. I'm not one of them.

I agree that size doesn't matter.

Thank you Jimmy.


unbearable lightness said...

I am a model, but models must be concerned about this, too - even those of us who are 18-year-olds disguised as grannies (everyone knows my age is nothing but a disguise - all models want to look old!).

So I have my copy of the book, and to be honest, it gave me pause. For several weeks I wasn't sure I wanted to model anymore - nude or otherwise - because 2257 suggests we can assume our work is pornographic and act accordingly. I do not like this assumption.

Thank you for a great post!

jimmyd said...

@ unbearable lightness,

Stephen's book most certainly is NOT intended to encourage photographers or models to give up their art. Neither is my update. You, of course, already knew that.

All I can say is consider the source of 2257: The Federal Government.

Just cuz politicians, the Justice Department, and certain political action groups say something is something, most of us know their assumptions about things like this rarely have much to do with truth and reality. When it comes to things like sexual mores, war, and a lot of other stuff, our government has proven itself to be little more than self-serving, propagandizing, sycophants who cater to what they pretend to preceive are poplular beliefs and to those who put the most $$$ in their pockets. 2257 is no exception to this.

While we might not have much choice but to comply with 2257, we don't have to agree with the gov's notions of what constitutes porn or photographic breaches of morality.

BTW, if more Grannies looked like you in front of a camera, with or without clothing, many younger models would, more often, be given a serious run for their money.

Rick Horowitz said...

First off, as usual Jimmy, your blog is a joy. It's because of stuff like this that I get to tell people unabashedly that I'm a follower of your blog. As I explain, "I just read the articles." ;)

Seriously, though, as a lawyer who just this morning had to raise my hand and say, "Stop!" to a judge who was overstepping his authority, I'm not at all surprised with the way things are going in our country. It's like somehow, around about the time America's first King George took the throne, we all lost our collective heads and forgot the principles on which this country was founded. We no Common Sense anymore.

On another note, I'm in complete agreement about your comments to Sunny. I would so love to get her in front of my lens (probably more than one of them!) in her "granny suit."

At any rate, thanks for the tip on the book. Even us lawyers-cum-photographers (and there is NO 2257 pun intended there, I assure you) who don't regularly practice in that area of law can get befuddled at times by 2257, so it's nice to turn to someone who has already waded through it and written a readable explanation.

John said...

Granted we don't see ALL of what you shoot on this blog, but using yourself and the content we see in this blog as an example, do you need to worry about 2257 record keeping?

You're not photographing "actual sexually explicit conduct." Note that I haven't read the book, but I have read 2256 and 2257.

jimmyd said...


You're right. I don't post sexually explicit content on this blog, i.e., I don't post content that, in my understanding of the code, falls under 2257's shadow.

If I were to post such content, I would be considered a "secondary producer" and would be required to adhere to 2257's regulations as it would pertain to this blog.

While I may physically produce content that falls under 2257's umbrella, that role is not the same as being the "primary producer."

BTW, on almost every shoot I work, there is content produced that falls under 2257 and, during the same shoot, there is content produced that does not fall under it. Example: During a production, I might shoot "mobile content," i.e., content that will be later viewed on cell phones. But that content only includes partial nudity of a type not covered by 2257. Afterward, with the same performer, I might shoot content that is covered under 2257.