Recent news rocked the Atlanta photography community that a photographer had been accused of sexually assaulting a model. In light of the #metoo movement, Studio C-41 invites Julie Hunter, owner of Naturally Boudoir, to the table to discuss the often-unspoken atrocities of sexual assault in the photographic community.
Julie is a well-respected photographer in the Atlanta community and founder of the photographic organization called RISE: Respect Integrity Safety Education. RISE addresses a growing problem of predators in our industry of film & photo and bridges the gap of communication between artists.
When news hit our local photography community that a photographer had been accused of sexually assaulting a model, I said, “This is enough. We need to have a grown up conversation about this.” As a result of the Harvey Weinstein assaults, working female creatives came out in troves unveiling the black shroud in show business. Sexual assaults against female creatives are a real thing. These things taking place are not just in Hollywood. These assaults happen in our neighborhoods far more often than we like to think; even more-so between professional and enthusiast photographers and models (both male and female).
We have recently seen articles where famous photographers like Terry Richardson are a known problem in the industry. Often these problems are known, extend for several years, and, unfortunately, little or no action until a movement like #metoo takes place for companies to separate themselves from these offenders.
Now, we’ve worked with models and we have general knowledge how to interact with models however we do not consider ourselves all knowing. This is where Julie Hunter comes into the picture. Julie has a long working history as a boudoir photographer and she outlines the cardinal rules that simply cannot be broken.
One of the biggest takeaways from this interview when it comes to working with models is making sure the photographer communicates with their models. The worst thing a photographer can do is assume that the model is expected to pose in the nude. Usually this is discussed before the shoot. Many cases where sexual assault allegations take place is simply the photographer did not communicate themselves clearly to the model.
The second part, which we expect to be controversial, is to have a third-party involved with the shoot. This can be in the form of an escort for the model or an assistant for the photographer. This can make the shoot much more relaxing for all parties. While the same rules don’t always apply for male and female photographers, male photographers should consider having a female assistant for these types of shoots.
Another eye-opening trend Julie sees is the sexual assaults among females who are not models at all. In the interview, she gives the scenario of a female barista just wanting to be cute for the day and is then approached by a photographer and offers to take their picture and to meet them at their studio. Then, said photographer, creates a scenario at which sexual assault take places. The harsh reality is this happens frequently, the victim is then traumatized and too afraid to report the assault.
Julie’s group provides a support group to help both men and women that fall victim to sexual assaults committed in the creative world. In the event you become a victim, Julie outlines steps to get help. The first step is to report it to the police as soon as possible. The police take the matters very seriously and will make every effort investigate the assault and ensure it doesn’t happen again. The next step is to contact a support group, RISE and RAINN will immediately help victims get the support they need to get past the trauma a sexual assault causes.
Photographing the human body is certainly an art. However, just because a camera is involved do not assume the model is ‘ok’ with your visions for your work. Clearly communicate your intentions for the shoot. Photography like boudoir carries many meanings, it can empower a person, it can be used to celebrate a new beginning, an accomplishment, and many more reasons. It should be fun and safe for all parties.
Julie Hunter is an awesome photographer and we are incredibly grateful for the knowledge she has shared with us. If you have fallen victim to a sexual assault, please do not go silent. Please contact the police or contact RISE and/or RAINN by visiting their website or by calling them at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Music Credit: Johan Lilja – The Improv http://bit.ly/2ueQlK1
Host and Executive Producer for Studio C-41