Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Politics of Posing Nude

Dear Ms. Velour,

I am an aspiring pin-up model from the Houston area, and am struggling with the idea of posing nude for the camera. I have had a few publications, but nothing too notable and am wondering if a nude set would jumpstart my career? Have you posed nude? What would you do in my shoes? Thanks!


Fully Clothed

Well hello there Ms. Clothed!

You’ve just asked an age-old modeling question my dear, the trouble is only you can be the judge. I will offer my best advice, but it’ll be you in the end who decides if the bra should fall!

First off of course you should be hesitant about disrobing for the camera, after all it’s mighty hard to un-do nude photographs especially if your portfolio is predominantly on-line (as most models are now). Don’t ever let anyone, peer models included, try and tell you it’s not a big deal. It is, it’s your body. Do you have a fall back plan should your modeling career be unfortunately short lived? Does this fall back plan allow for the acceptance of nude (even artistic) shots being taken? If you comfortably believe this won’t affect your livelihood down the road and you are warming up to the idea of being comfortable in your skin, I think you’ll know what’s best for you.

To answer another of your questions, yes, I have posed nude for the camera. Before becoming increasingly active in the burlesque and pin-up scenes I was working at my university as a freelance nude art model. Then I moved progressively into my current realms of performance and modeling which consist of more freelance Artsleaze projects (i.e. Suicide Girls aspirations) and shooting for friends and myself to showcase mine or their fashionable creations (Art With Latex, Dollskin Designs, MUAH portfolios etc). I find myself growing in comfort every day with my body, and have a much deeper appreciation for it. Since I’ve been involved with very progressive and like-minded photographers and designers I find posing nude for a project to be as non-threatening as posing in a full on parka. I count myself very fortunate to be able to work in such safe spaces with such amazing people. Which leads me to my second point…

Know your project leaders (photographers, stylists, lighting techs, muah staff etc)! The more you know about them, the better. Find out their reputation, ask questions, and always ALWAYS get specific agreements in writing! Only sign a model release form if you are completely comfortable with the means and uses those people have for the images you’ve helped create with your body. Also be safe; shoot with a friend or manager/agent. Bring your own contractual documents, be prepared in general, it not only protects you but makes you look professional.

Long story short, don’t be afraid of yourself or your potential, but also don’t throw caution to the wind. That little voice in your pretty head is there for a reason. Listen to it when approaching modeling projects that involve nude work. Your body is an empowering vessel; so treat it with respect and appreciation!