Photographed by Jester's Magic
Boots put on to protect me from the cold
Photo done because I, the model, wanted to take a couple of outdoors snow photos
I cannot understand why so many photographers think proposing an outdoors nude shoot in a cold climate during one of the coldest, winter months is even acceptable. There are a select few models who pride themselves in their ability to model in the tundra, wearing nothing but their goosebump ridden skin, but these models are the exception. Most models are slim woman who likely have less body fat than the average photographer and absolutely wear less clothing than all of their photographers on a cold, outdoors shoot. While I can respect that the weather is not entirely predictable, assuming a model can work nude in the winter, outdoors, in Virginia, Washington DC, NYC or any other place with temperatures hovering around freezing, is a lack of respect. Models may like your work and want to work with you, but when our bodies have to fight just to stay moderately warm, our capability to do our job (evoke and pose well) is completely hindered. Yet, this year I have had almost half a dozen photographers with shoot offers that have required cold, outdoors locations.
Some models project an image of a person who can do anything for their art, but all humans have limitations, and models are people, too. I am continually disappointed when I hear fellow colleagues discuss shoot offers which take them outside of their physical comfort zone, as even the strongest, most willing to work, must decline putting their bodies in danger. As models, our bodies are our work. There are no paid sick days to count on in the event we push ourselves too hard and find ourselves unable to work for any period of time.
Every photographer who hires me deserves to have me at my best, and a shivering, miserable version of me will not be good enough. I am a badass woman, and there is little which scares me, but the cold is not something my tiny frame can tolerate. I have no problem admitting when the temperature drops below freezing, I am not interested in modeling. At this point, my body, like the bodies of most humans, goes into survival mode. I am experienced enough as a model that I may be able to do a few quick frames in chilly weather, but if I was wearing a down jacket before a shoot, there is absolutely no reason to be nude in the same climate.
I cannot predict the weather for this next month, but I do challenge all you photographers reading this to reconsider your location suggestions for these next cold months. If a model specifically requests to shoot outdoors, that is one thing, but approaching a model about a very likely freezing shoot is in poor taste. The winter will come and go, and the warmth will return, and likely your favorite models will fly, bus or drive back into town. If you want to shoot outdoors, just wait a few months, and if shooting indoors is a bit trickier, use this season as an opportunity to practice new photography skills or edit your backlog of photos. Please do not dangle the work in front of a model, and tell them they must subject themselves to dangerous cold if they want to work with you and earn their day’s paycheck. The experienced models will have the confidence to decline, but newer models will not have learned how to stand up to their personal limitations. Respect the models you wish to work with, and do not encourage someone to shoot in a temperature you would not want your loved ones to be walking around nude in.
Photographed by Robert Weissner