Typically I will post instructional or informative material within my blog, but this week I wanted to feature an editorial post concerning relationships within the photography industry.
Most photographers and models are within this industry because they have a passion to create art. With the notable exception of a few, this is not a industry where professionals become rich and famous quickly and it may take several years, hard work, and near constant networking to get noticed within a highly competitive and largely unregulated marketplace.
Friendships often develop as a result of working closely together in a variety of genres, and if lucky, those friendships can last for many years. For most, these friendships are just that, friendships. There is no romantic or sexual overtones but rather those involved really enjoy working with each other, much like any other typical job. Of course, a photographer or model may maintain a strict working relationship with those within the profession having friends only within their personal life. Many photographers and models are either married or have serious relationships outside of the profession that they cherish. Clearly some single photographer's or models date, but I wanted to focus in on professionals who have a romantic relationship outside of the industry.
Romantic partners of photographers or models sometimes misunderstand the profession. This may happen when a model or photographer travels and works with the glamour or artistic nude genres. For various reasons that I have heard recently, a partner may ask, or even demand, that their partner leave the profession. Trust, lack or understanding, control, fear of 'what if someone sees.., or even some moral issues with a style of photography can be some reasons why a partner may exert pressure for the professional to stop what he is she is often passionate about.
Obviously, this can create friction in the relationship regardless of which direction the model or photographer choose to take it. If lets say, the model, continues to model, there may be continued stress from her partner urging her to stop. This may affect what assignments she accepts and how well she performs in front of the camera. If she decides to give up modeling, she will likely be unhappy and potentially even resentful toward her partner openly or passively. A otherwise healthy relationship with almost always suffer at least in the short term. Some people will leave the romantic relationship entirely which of course causes stress on both parties and probably everyone around them. Friends often give well meaning advice, but often increase stress the the situation.
Is there any answer? Well, a frank and open discussion of how important modeling or photography is to an individual is an important step early in the relationship. The romantic partner could even be invited to a photo shoot to see what actually happens during the job. Belief and trust within the photographer or model as a professional and caring for them as a person can make this work. Will it work for every romantic relationship, probably not, but placing the effort to accept a person as they are can often built a strong relationship that can last for a lifetime.
Bob Barford is a published photographer based on Southern PA.