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Things you may have wanted to know, but didn't ask


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Things you may have wanted to know, but didn't ask

27 Mar 2021 7:31AM   Views : 565 Unique : 378

Mr XXX has shot both arty and profitable adult images – something that most of us have never done and never will. And therefore I thought you might like to see some edited highlights of the conversation – and follow one person’s journey into (and back out of) selling pictures of various fetishes.

I began by asking the really obvious question - why did you start selling pictures of girls?

My first commercial model picture was published in a local paper while I was still at school, but my first nudes were shot off the back off a general wedding and portrait business. I shot a few model portfolios. And then, around 1999, after a camera club exhibition, an art gallery owner asked me for an exhibition of images of people in derelict places on the basis of a shot I’d done of a woman in a pretty dress with more material wrapped round it, in a coal cellar.

However, I had one earlier experience, while I was still at school: I attended a photography evening class, where the tutor’s wife posed. I developed and printed the film in the darkroom at my Catholic boys’ school… I didn’t get caught.

In around 2006, I joined a specialist website catering for various kinks. I posted pictures there, and ended up being contacted by both models and, eventually, an American magazine. When I was working for that American magazine over several years, they paid an amount that probably covered Californian professional rates, but were very generous by British standards – though it halved over the time I was selling them sets of pictures.

How do the prospects look for someone who fancies their chances of making money by selling adult images?

Most sets of pictures submitted on spec to that magazine aren’t even looked at fully. The publisher needs a name, or outstanding images… Anything that just copies things they have already published won’t stand a chance, and there are a lot of people who copy ideas. A crucial element is that there is a pool of competent photographers and very pretty girls who are happy to shoot extremely explicit material. Sets of a good-looking girl next door won’t hack it. The particular magazine I worked for has a small number of photographers at any given time who supply all their images.

With images like yours, where there is a portrayal, often, of peril or pain, many viewers will wonder about whether the models are exploited. How would you respond to that?

In my experience, the models are empowered, rather than being used or abused. What people don’t realise is that in every such situation, the model is actually in complete control, and has a ‘safeword’ they can use to end or interrupt things, or a pre-agreed gesture if they are gagged. This can extend to extensive arrangements so that a model can escape in the event that the photographer is incapacitated for any reason.

How do you feel about models who decide that they don’t want to be published after shooting?

It depends. I’ve never had a problem, with one exception. I do remind people that recognisable faces could be career-ending. I once refused a commissioned shoot – the model wanted to enter a national competition for topless pictures – when she turned up in her police uniform… More often, there are boyfriend problems – one model asked for her pictures to be detagged on websites, because her husband-to-be wanted her to stop modelling.

Did you find the work artistically rewarding?

No. In a way, I feel it stifled my creativity, because I was shooting more of the same to fit a formula. I was becoming very complacent. It’s all about the angles and the light for the photographer, and when there’s a magazine wanting the pictures it becomes crucial to provide the editor with half a dozen different versions of essentially the same shot, in landscape or portrait formats, or with slightly different angles. And eventually I got a bit bored. Magazine policy changed, and rates dropped: they also wanted exclusive rights to the images.

Do you need a personal interest to do this sort of picture well?

Almost all of my online images are set up as pictures, not part of kinky ‘play’. Anyone who has tried to shoot reportage pictures will understand that it’s really difficult to make good pictures from following the action, so all my published work was set up carefully.

You don’t need to be particularly into kinky things to take pictures, providing that you research the area first. In particular, where bondage and submission are involved, you need to understand the requirements of model safety as the first and last concern. As well as undoing any restraints if the model asks (and this can mean cutting ropes in some cases) you need an awareness of nerve positions and so on. I know of experts who run courses in various aspects of this, and this is invaluable for novices.

The rise of social media has meant that the relationship between models and publications is often different from when I was selling pictures. Back then, it was always a condition of the model release form that a fictional name and story around the images would be used, but the symbiotic relationship between celebrities and the media has meant that there’s pressure for the model to reveal far more of their real life, and this seems an unhealthy development. Not every model has the creative writing ability to make something up rather than reveal their life story as well as their body.

Is it profitable?

It was, but now I am interested in exhibiting rather than selling. I do it for fun these days – though if someone offers me money to take interesting pictures, I’ll do it.

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dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
27 Mar 2021 7:34AM
In better times, I might have illustrated this with a calla lily - for fairly obvious reasons, the usual selection of pictures related to the article would be inappropriate in terms of my continued membership of htis site! I have seen some of XXX's work, and his work can be very beautiful, though still inappropriate.
AltImages 3 4
27 Mar 2021 10:15AM
I believe that this might be your first ever blog without an attached photo. So it will be interesting for me to revisit this post tomorrow to see whether such a well-written insight such as yours will gain as many likes as a blog with few words that features a nude pretty model. Although it is a shame not to be able to illustrate an article with images, even if they are no more revealing than your other blogs, lest they be too controversial.
27 Mar 2021 11:26AM
Thank you, again for such an informative Blog. Paul.

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