Shocked by behaviour
"Portrait initially came from an entirely innocent conversation. I was doing a photoshoot, chatting casually to the model and I asked her 'what’s the weirdest shoot you ever had?' What she told me shocked me so much and it has stuck with me ever since. She told me a photographer had once taken a break during a shoot to pleasure himself in the bathroom with the pictures he had just taken of her. It was a story I couldn't get out of my head and ultimately became the catalyst for Portrait.
Though I'm predominantly a filmmaker, I've been taking photos for around five years now. One of my major inspirations when I first got into photography was the celebrity photographer Terry Richardson, famed for his outrageous and raw imagery. However, much has come to light over the last decade about his behaviour and it made me start to reconsider and question how that imagery was achieved. This had also been weighing on my thoughts at the time.
With these two things in mind, I started talking about the behaviour of photographers with other models I was working with. While a lot of the stories weren't as extreme, there seemed to be a consistent pattern of disrespect, rudeness and cruelty coming from an awful lot of people in the industry. So I began messaging models I knew and asking if I could formally interview some of them about their experiences and share their stories in a project I was working on. Not everyone said yes. Some models genuinely didn't seem to have negative stories to tell. However, there were a sizeable number of models who were willing to share, with the understanding that their contributions would be anonymous.