Whether or not to be nude “in print or person” as a model should always be the choice of the model. It’s a personal choice that can become a problem for a model who chooses not to pose nude. (Even on runway shows, fittings, dress changes at photoshoots, etc… often models undress in public areas versus a private room). Models (and parents) shouldn’t kid themselves that it will never happen just because they insist on privacy, so the best plan is to “have a plan.”
In the modeling world, there are many different types of print modeling jobs. From haute couture articles in magazines to photographic art hanging in an art gallery or bookstore. Photographic prints of models play a major role in our society. Most people don’t even realize how often they see models appearing everywhere in print… everywhere! The challenge lies in figuring out where someone belongs in the modeling industry, or even if print modeling and posing in front of a camera is their thing.
The conditions for being considered a high fashion editorial model and how it has a very high standard of height, weight, and unique features are elite in regards to the “prestige” rankings associated with editorial fashion. Since the chances are rare to achieve such a successful status as a high-fashion model, that leaves many other talented models with all the other opportunities that also come from the commercial and artistic modeling world. This is a broad area with its many specialisms and divisions that also have unique requirements.
When modeling, there is always one question that most parents will ask and it is whether their child is expected to pose nude. Under 18s nudity is out of the question as it is illegal, but the gray line comes back on whether their teen will look more provocative or wear clothes that could be considered revealing and imply nudity. That’s not an easy question when a person is in a chosen industry to model. Several people have religious beliefs or morals that strongly oppose any nudity while some individuals are just humble. In general, the modeling industry is not known for its compassion for the feelings of the model, so the issue of nudity needs to be addressed.
A very important assumption regarding artistic modeling, as well as high fashion and some commercial modeling, is that a model should be aware that the probability of nudity is very high. If you have an artistic modeling job or an offer from a photographer, make it clear what degree of artistic modeling is required (no nudity, partial nudity, full nudity, etc.). The model has to make some decisions when it comes to being photographed naked as that is a lifelong commitment that cannot be easily wiped out, such as getting a small tattoo. The model should consider whether they are comfortable with their bodies and whether being photographed naked is negotiable with their modeling agency. This part of the topic isn’t about posing for a porn magazine, but rather the associated bookings coming into a modeling agency in the fashion, commerce, and art fields. The agency needs to know this information and to what extent you allow nudity, but they know that you can also lose some jobs if you are restricted. There’s really no way to convince a model who has strong feelings about NOT posing nude that there may be times when others in the industry won’t understand or be empathetic, so the model has limitations in their eyes.
Another important discussion is with family as there are both positive and negative consequences of modeling nude and how it could affect your career going forward if the type of nudity is considered pornographic versus artistic. Artistic nude modeling vs pornographic modeling is just one BIG difference when making the decision that can also change a model’s “commercial” career. Some commercial customers may not approve, some may never know, while others may not care. Some commercial clients need models who are comfortable with partial or full nudity, so of course, whether the model chooses to bear everything is mostly a personal decision.
The “all-naked” consideration belongs to the modeling industry and is also shared with the wide range of possibilities on the Internet and in specialized pornographic magazines. There are some nude models where that’s all they do, as a specialty is posing nude for websites and magazines, but it’s not considered prestigious work just because they’re in a magazine. Of course, in their marketing network, there are some higher quality standards versus lower quality opportunities, even for pornographic printing.
The Internet and magazines have their own status of what is considered acceptable and of “good taste”. A model’s website and other paysites are a good example of whether the model is rendered artistically or more provocatively graphically, and could even be considered lewd. Some photos can come back and haunt a model for all sorts of reasons beyond the model losing a perspective, conservative, commercial client, especially if someone searches the internet for you or your alias (aka name).
Some societies, especially in Europe, are more comfortable with nudity, so the possibilities a model finds when traveling and working internationally are endless. Again, it is the choice of the model and the consequences of the model if not handled artistically. A model shouldn’t want to have too many “regrets” as they mature in their lives, but because everyone’s standards and morals are so different, it’s more about doing what works for you and making sure you fit in. values experiences.
Another note for discussion related to your comfort level and morals concerns your sexuality and posing provocatively. Just as nudity issues happen from time to time, so does sensual interaction with other male, female, or both types of models, whether you’re gay or straight. Sensual moments that cause extreme discomfort to a model during a photoshoot can affect a model’s ability to get the job done professionally. That’s where a model needs to use acting ability to set the appearance the photographer needs to work and even help other models feel more comfortable. It’s a group effort, but again, if the thought of the experience is so unbearable, then your body needs to be aware of that as well, as another limitation.
When the model agrees to be photographed naked, there is usually a degree of privacy allowing only a photographer and only required professionals on set. This can be confirmed by the model as well as during a possible downtime on the set. This should be done respectfully and respected by all involved to maintain the privacy of the model. Just because a model will appear in a nude or partially nude photo is not an open invitation to a “live peep show” or to demote another human being who may feel emotionally or physically vulnerable. Even the most beautiful nude model may have hidden fears of imperfection that they rely on being photographically altered with lighting or touched up again afterwards. emotionally speaking, the model can be a little (or a lot) nervous and they have to trust the situation and let the photographer do his job while the model does his required work. No distraction.
There is a safety and security issue that needs to be addressed in relation to this type of modeling job (and which can also be used as a guideline for all types of modeling). You should learn when it’s appropriate to have someone accompany you to ANY photoshoot, rather than developing a plan ahead of time to let people know where you are or check in via cell phone, text, etc. to confirm that everything is fine. In general, if your booking or photographer is booked for you through a modeling agency…no one should go unless you are under 18 and the agency clarifies the role of the parent (if applicable) for an accompanying adult.
*A point of attention for safety and also for the photographer (not just the model) regarding models bringing jealous boyfriends, stolen equipment from people who don’t belong on set, interruptions, etc… please discuss this with the photographer respectfully if there is a special problem that needs to be solved before a photoshoot so that both parties can feel comfortable and safe.
Posing naked is always the choice of the model, but everyone views nudity in different ways within the modeling industry. It can have lasting effects on a model’s current and future professional and personal life, whether in the name of ‘art’, in a ‘men’s magazine’ or on a website that is considered a pornographic site. Parents can’t always be there to make their child’s decisions whether they’re 16 or 21, so this needs to be discussed openly and honestly (first) that the model needs to have a plan to establish their limitations. This is usually an awkward conversation for a model if they want to, but the parent is in need.
AKA Models is a new online industry blog for models, photographers, designers, stylists, agencies, MUAs, and anyone who wants to research or contribute to the modeling industry.
Carol-Anne Blackwell is currently a Scout and Consultant providing FREE online tips, information and professional links for individuals interested in a career in the modeling industry.