Today I had a photoshoot with Bobby Chisholm, proof that Model Mayhem is indeed a useful service.
But having said that, let’s pause a moment and reflect on Model Mayhem and think about whether or not this service is, in general, good for photographers, and while we’re at it, models.
In short, Model Mayhem is a website where photographers and models, (and to a lesser extent makeup artists, fashion designers, and retouchers) can see samples of each other’s work and decide if they want to work with one another.
It’s beautiful in theory, but real world application gets tricky fast.
When you type Modelmayhem.com in your browser you are taken to the homepage which acts much like a facebook wall. Users can publish small snippets of text, often comprised of comment whoring such as “<—-new photoss!! Comments returned 2x!!!!” as well as their “avatar”, or representation of the user’s portfolio.
Already you are most likely looking at very scantily clad women in compromising positions, or very muscular men in nothing but underwear looking coyly at the camera. This is because somewhere between 70%-90% of the work on Model Mayhem is erotic or at least somewhat sexual in nature.
Just click on any given “featured artist” or model and you’ll find their portfolio is most likely filled with hyper sexual nude photographs.
Now I’m not knocking nude photography. I’ve never had any inclination to photograph nudes, but they can be done very well and can make for some wonderful images. I also understand there is a market for “fitness” photographs.
Many of these people, both male and female, claim they want to start modeling, but in all reality have NO business being in front of a camera in any kind of professional sense. I’ve actually gotten a LOT of good laughs after looking at model and photographer portfolios. Some of it is absolute comedic gold.
I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that most of MM is a sleez-fest, a perfect storm comprised of mostly male photographers who have no actual photographic aspirations and instead use the medium to see girls naked and girls who “want to get into modeling” that want to be seen naked. Its an erotic cycle that I suppose will never end. Of course this is also true for the opposite. Female photographers will do the same for male models who’s only worth it seems are the size of their muscles.
All of this to say, MM does still offer useful services, and not just if you want to try your hand at pornography. Amongst the smut and generally bad work that is Model Mayhem, there are good photographers and good models that are professional and actually know what they’re doing. You just have to ignore the others.