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MODEL PERSPECTIVE Diet Prada Blasts Photographer Selling Book Of Models’ Nudes Without Consent

The modelling community on Instagram is reeling after Diet Prada, an account with over 2 million followers, yesterday posted a series of photos blasting a photographer who plans to sell a book of models’ nudes without their consent.

Slammed for being predatory, disturbing, and an exercise in the exertion of power and entitlement, the story behind the photos has garnered a tidal wave of attention online.

It‘s a recurring tale that cycles through the conversations had by young models. Photographer approaches model, model agrees to shoot, and then finds herself or himself in a situation they didn’t expect. They are often powerless to remedy it, and also often have limited methods of recourse. Similarly if they have a change of mind about images taken, it can be a delicate eggshell conversation in itself, trying to get the photographer to scrap images completely and/or agree to not publicly release them.

The lack of accountability that the industry holds towards such abuses of situational power is undeniable. There is no “governing body“, so to speak, of modelling or photography. Any such shady acts as soliciting and apparently “coercing” models to take potentially damaging photographs, often remain indefinitely unaddressed. It’s an issue left for models to deal with alone either physically, emotionally, mentally, or a combination of all three. It’s ostensibly a laissez-faire “not my problem” statement quietly made by more powerful figures in the industry who have, up until this point, not acknowledged the issue.

It’s an unfair expectation to place on models to speak out about this alone, particularly in an industry that has a history of being vindictive should anyone blow the proverbial whistle. If a model feels that it’s likely any backlash from voicing such an experience could cause them to miss out on potential future work, their silence will constitute an unwitting swath of erasure of this veritable abuse.

It’s such a regular occurrence that, anecdotally speaking, models will privately message each other on social media to suss out any potential photographers that others have worked with before agreeing to shoot, gauging the level of potential for things to go awry. It is so regular an occurrence, also anecdotally speaking, that stories of questionable hotel shoots, requests for nude shoots at private homes and locations, or modelling work in exchange for sexually charged images (and sometimes extending to less savoury requests for “favours”) litter the modelling world. It’s the reality of a system that can exploit the vulnerable, attracting many who seek to exert power in a world where a lens gives you access.

It also seems as though the norms of the industry, such as the signing of model release forms that revoke the subject’s rights to the images and how they’re used, are also geared in favour of those in positions of situational power (i.e. photographers and the like). There is little to no recourse for models should they later have a change of mind or circumstance regarding images taken. The DM’s that were released by Diet Prada between one of the models in the alleged “book” - if we can even call it that, as it’s more like a compendium of wishful thinking - and the photographer are a conclusive illustration of such imbalance.

It’s a damning demonstration of injustice, particularly when the model asks for the photographs not to be released, to which he replies “it‘s a huge investment of time and energy for me to not be able to use photographs years after they were shot”. When asked about the expiry period of the contract, his reply was “the mode (sic) release is in perpetuity.“

What recourse does this leave the model? Only enough to screenshot the messages and have them publicly displayed on social media by Diet Prada, beating the release of the book to the punch. But there is nothing to compensate any further potential damage this would have on her current employment or long-term relationship, regardless of her name not being published in the book. As a side note, the photographer allegedly deleted his Instagram account after the information was made public and the social media backlash that ensued.

It’s a lesson for photographers and models alike, to have heightened awareness of who they are working with and where the images they create will be used. After such a story has come to light, the importance of models developing a thorough understanding of their rights and becoming well-versed in analysing written agreements has never seemed more important or poignant.

In any case it will be interesting to see the results of this public revelation of such a permeating issue in the industry, and whether or not this will act as a catalyst for change. As a point of interest, some social media accounts are beginning to post “blacklists” of people in the industry who are known for a whole host of questionable behaviour. You can view Shit Model Management’s second iteration of their blacklist (following the removal of their first blacklist, after receiving threats and abusive messages) here:

Image Source: Diet Prada @diet_prada

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