This is a post in response to a Model Mayhem thread on why so many photographers dislike the idea of a model bringing an escort to a photo shoot. There are many arguments for and against, including professional reasons, but often the reason for bringing one is purely emotional.
While I am currently based in Jacksonville, Florida; I have shot all over the United States from Hampton Roads, Virginia to Las Vegas, Nevada to Ventura, California. Traveling so much, doesn't often allow a potential model/client to really get a "personal" feel for me, my personality, or my work methods, except by reading my blogs, or doing a simple background check by talking to prior clients and models.
When you make the choice to include an escort, think to yourself the reason "why" you are doing so. Are you doing it for personal, or professional safety. If you don't feel comfortable with that photographer, why shoot with him period? If you were agency represented, do you really think that they will send you to work with an "escort"?
I can go on and on about the con's of this practice, but I will tell photogs that by you choosing not to allow escorts, are you passing up good talent? Why would I require a 17 y/o to have a guardian come to a shoot, but as soon as she turns 18, its time to get rid of the escort?
As a MODEL, I will always state that it is your RIGHT to work in whatever conditions you CHOOSE... The same as it is ALSO the PHOTOGRAPHER/CLIENT's right to NOT HIRE YOU, or choose you for a shoot. Whether it is something fully clothed, or fully nude, both parties have choices.
The main thing to consider is communication on both sides so the session can go as smooth as possible.
On the thread, one of the models asked:
"Im not really sure i understand the disdain for the dreaded escorts.... ive met a lot of photographers who really dont mind...and if it makes the model feel more secure wont the photos be better??? Help me understand "
She was not the original poster, but she got many responses with that statement.
The Original Poster quoted: "I will always bring an escort, he or she will not interfere in anyway with the shoot. Nothing personal, but one can't be too safe."
Here is the issue with "Escorts". It goes back to Physics. Mainly to the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states:
The law of conservation of energy is an empirical law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time (is said to be conserved over time). A consequence of this law is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed: it can only be transformed from one state to another. The only thing that can happen to energy in a closed system is that it can change form: for instance chemical energy can become kinetic energy. (wikipedia)
What does that all mean to Modeling? Every one on set either brings energy to the shoot or absorbs energy FROM the shoot. The Photog, Model, Art Director, MUA, Stylist, and other professionals right down to the assistants, ALL BRING ENERGY TO A SET/SHOOT.
The escort who has nothing to do with the shoot will eventually "absorb" energy from the people working on the shoot. Whether it's the jealous gf/"want to be a model" type who wished that she got called, or the controlling boyfriend, who defies his own logic, by allowing you to do a "sexy" or "risqué" shoot that will be plastered all over the place, but he really doesn't want anyone to see you half-naked...
I have had models ask to bring an escort, i.e. their 17y/o friend who just wants to "watch." I tell them up front that if they are coming to the shoot, they are coming to work! (this is your reflector, there are many like it, but THIS ONE IS YOURS...etc)
We harp on the professionalism of photogs, especially beginner togs, but this runs true with newby models. They haven't mastered the ability to discern a method of choosing a photographer who cares more about their REPUTATION, than getting with the model during a set.
If a model is close enough in proximity, I will always offer them the ability to observe a shoot (with the other model's permission). But another option which I'm considering is videotaping actual shoots. Having video responses from your mods. providing references.
just my 47 cents worth...
and 2 more, while not as much lately, because togs are better with it. There are actually more occurrences of photogs being pilfered by a "mod/escort" combo than a tog taking advantage of the mods sexually. "