So, here’s the reason I will only be operating on contract from now on.
Back in December, I responded to an ad on Craigslist – a local fashion designer looking for a model to show off his new line of fabrics. I went to meet him at his sponsor’s house, he was amicable, funny, and interesting. He wasn’t exactly straight-forward about the pictures we would take, and it took some finagling to get him to show me his previous work. In return for my time (2 or 3 hours he said), he would give me all of the photos we took at the shoot as well as a handful of photoshopped ones. Since I’m just getting started with modeling, I figured it would be nice to have a good set of pictures to add to my portfolio. So a week or so later, I showed up at 6pm to his sponsor’s house for the shoot, with all my makeup and a few pairs of shoes as requested. I was very surprised by the set up (or lack thereof). The set consisted of one light, a workman’s light at that, not even a photographer’s light. Somehow it took the designer about two or three hours to do my hair, makeup (mostly with the brushes and makeup I supplied), and retrieve his fabrics. From there, the photoshoot didn’t get much better. But I went with it, and gave it my best. To the designer’s credit, he (or rather his sponsor) fed me dinner (albeit around 9:30pm). I left the house around midnight, with the designer’s promise of photoshopped pictures to come.
He posted all of the photos from the shoot on Facebook overnight – which was fine with me, but he never sent me the jpegs.
“I posted them on facebook.” He responded when I asked for the pictures. Clearly he did not understand that a facebook photo is not the same quality as a jpeg saved from the original photo. But I was busy with a few other shoots and unconcerned. He’d get them to me eventually, I thought. After about a month of no contact, I facebook messaged him, asking when he’d get me the handful of photoshopped pictures he’d promised. He said he was very busy, but that he’d put a couple on his website. Again, he displayed a complete lack of understanding of the etiquette between photographers/designers and models. I did the shoot for free, and I expected to get good photos out of it. So finally, after a decent amount of nagging on my part, a month and a half later, he sends me a handful of “photoshopped” pictures. Now don’t get me wrong, they aren’t bad. I do love his designing – the fabrics and the one semi completed dress that he had me model were beautiful. But on photoshop he so distorted my image that I actually preferred the unshopped ones, and considered a few of the shopped ones completely unusable.
I was willing to put all of that aside and just take note not to work with this man again, but then I made a mistake.
I got carried away on Photoshop. Sometimes you just get going, having fun and liking your artwork, and it all just comes together into a piece you’d like to share with people. So, I edited one of the photos that was given me as payment for my modeling. I turned it into a piece of art that was practically unrecognizable from its original. Wanting to share this image with my friends, I posted it to facebook. Now, I have been receiving threats and hate msgs from the designer, who claims that I don’t have the right to “temper with his work.” Anyone have thoughts on this? For one, I never published the photo or tried to sell it, and anyway according to our spoken agreement, I was to be given the photos taken at the shoot in exchange for the entire night I spent modeling for free. Well, in case you’re interested I’ve added the offending picture below, as well as the original. The designer has now reported the photo to Facebook as a copyright infringement, removing it automatically. I’m starting to get tired of this whole situation. I could seek legal action if I really felt something might come of this, but I decided instead to seek the council of the designer’s sponsor. The sponsor pretty much whole-heartedly agreed with me and urged me to just let it blow over. I think that’s what I’ll do, it seems the wisest course of action. Unless of course these threatening facebook messages continue. Will keep you updated.