The Problem of Sexual Harassment and Assault in Photography and What Can Be Done

Photography often puts subjects in vulnerable situations in which even well-intentioned people can misbehave and cause lasting damage. This important video features both a model and a photographer discussing the issue and what can be done to provide the safest and most professional working environments possible.

Nicolas Doretti and Manoé, this video discusses the issue of sexual harassment and assault in photography and what both photographers and models can do to keep themselves safe and provide professional environments. Photography often entails situations in which subjects are asked to place themselves in highly vulnerable situations, and it is crucial that the photographer learns how to create a place in which the model can feel safe and comfortable. A good place to begin is by being empathetic to the model's perspective by understanding the increased stress the scenario places on them and adjusting one's behavior accordingly. The vast majority of people are, of course, fundamentally good and wish no harm on others, but given how sensitive such shoots can be, it can be easy to inadvertently say something that makes the model uncomfortable, which is why even if you are a seasoned professional, it is a very important topic well worth revisiting. Check out the video above for more. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Problem I see a lot is women hearing about a person but still shooting with them because they offer free pics. And now with Patreon getting bigger, it's not just sexy cosplay costumes but women searching for top tier lingerie or implied free pics so they are risking more. Besides the chance of an assault or creepy shoot, you are basically giving that person free pics of you that they now own the rights too and can do as they please.

I mostly work with models on fashion shoots, both male and females. I tell each and every last one of them that my first rule that I don't break for anyone is: "Bring one person that you trust and are comfortable with to the session. Boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, I don't care! But, DO NOT come alone." Problem solved.

Model is comfortable, significant other is comfortable, shoot runs smooth and I get the job done.

Ladies, if a photographer tells you to come alone, because that's how he works, BLOCK HIM and seek another photographer to work with! We're a dime a dozen! Professional ones, less so but, you get my point.