Last night, the city of Indianapolis and its surrounding cities were rocked by this news story: Greenwood Teen Raped during Photo Session. You can see that no one was named as the accused in the broadcast. This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.
I knew the photographer who is accused. This supposedly occurred in June. There has been a lot of discussion by both models and photographers about who this is, how sick the individual is, and how everyone is so different than this one individual. I know several of the models who the accused has worked has turned on him and stopped modeling.
The modeling industry is full of people who take people’s dreams and manipulate those individuals who have these dreams. They say they can do almost anything for them, and make promises that they can’t keep. This can be for modeling schools, fake agencies, photographers who want to manipulate models to do pornographic work, and the like. As in this situation, some do it to sleep with the models who they photograph and date them. This has always been a problem in the industry, but it has gone rampant since digital was invented. Most of this is because just anyone can be a photographer and after spending enough time practicing, they call themselves a photographer. All it takes is a digital camera and you, too, will be a photographer. Most people in the industry call these individuals GWCs or Guy/Gal with Camera. There are a lot of these people in the industry.
But what about those who are good at their photography? That was the situation with this rape case. A lot of people around the area knew that this photographer was a problem and how he worked. Everyone in the area knew of him and that he preys on young women who want to be professional models. Still, no one did anything to stop him. Why?
As someone who works with a lot of models in the Model to Model organization, I have heard all kinds of things from models working with “pros” and some have made me sick. Still, there is little that I can do to stop these individuals no matter what I am told. The police won’t do anything without proof – and someone who hears something second hand isn’t counted as anything. The law is clear on this. This means that the models who were taken advantage of have to step up and say something to someone in law enforcement. They don’t and won’t – they are embarrassed, ashamed, or honestly believe this is how the industry really works.
So, what can I do? I can help guide models with their modeling career and advise them on good and bad photographers. This doesn’t stop the models from working with people like this. Frequently when I have asked why they worked with someone who they knew were a problem photographer, the number one answer is “I didn’t think it would happen to me.” The second is the fear they have of someone who talks big about how they will ruin the models chances by black listing them and making sure that others know how horrible they are. In reality, they often don’t have that power and people will work with them no matter who black lists them. This is all bark and no bite, but the models fear this will end their dream.
If you know someone who is a model, talk with them. Know that their vocation is not an easy one. Also know that they have to put up with a lot. Some of the things I have heard happening to them includes telling models that they “have” to do nudes to be a model, that the photographer has done them a favour by shooting their images for free so they need to do them a sexual favour, that photographers insist on giving models a drink to take the edge off before a shoot or modeling show and take advantage of the models once they are influenced, photo shoots where the camera was left in the car when the model was tied up and forced to have sex or where the model was caned, and many others. This kind of behavior is tolerated by the models because they are scared, ashamed, and know they will be blamed for what happened. Understand this and realize they may have a lot to emotionally handle. Encourage them to talk with other models and form a support group. When they run into people who are bad, let others know and go to the police and report it.