By Jessica Quinn
It has been four years since supermodel, Rie Rasmussen, publicly bashed Terry Richardson during Paris Fashion Week. In case you don’t remember what went down: Rasmussen told Page Six that what Richardson does is degrading to women and younger models “are too afraid to say no, because their agency booked them on the job, and [they] are too young to stand up for themselves.” The Internet has since then been flooded with stories from dozens of models coming forth and sharing how Richardson- whom the media has branded, “King of the Creeps”- exploited them and used his industry power to get them in their birthday suits.
In the world of fashion, how far are photographers and other industry professionals willing to push model standards in order to stand out and obtain their creative visions?
Nudity is a prevalent theme in high-end fashion magazines, and seems to be something that is (more often than not) expected of models that want to “make it big” in the industry. Models, like Rasmussen, are becoming more and more outspoken on the issue of exploitation that some photographers are guilty of, while others continue to timidly do as they are asked, in fear of being black listed by some of the biggest names in the business. However, not all photographers are crowned creeps- most are just doing their job.
Many of the models I spoke with about stripping down for a job said that they felt pressured their first time, but quickly learned how to gage each situation with caution and have built trusting relationships with various photographers throughout their careers. Their agencies confirm that they are comfortable going nude before sending them out and the models are always conscious of the each job’s (and photographer’s) aesthetic. “I always make sure everything is covered and done tastefully. Sometimes you can tell when the shot is supposed to be sexy versus when it is more high fashion or editorial. It’s the sexy shots especially that you have to be careful with as there is always a very thin line between tasteful and tacky,” says Gabriela Bloomgarden- who has modeled for photographers like, Neave Bozorgi and Camilo Rios White.
“Fashion photography is all about the clothes. However, fashion photographers have to add a creative side to the shoot to make the photograph stand out.”– says Anneka James, the Pictures Editor at The Linc. James is right. It is the pressure from designers and brands looking to set themselves apart from competitors and captivate the consumer. The demands that society puts on the industry to produce reflections of their greatest aspirations and desires are one of the driving forces behind the pressures of nudity in fashion. Fashion is a business and sex sells.