Black/African Models

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Sanne 4 days ago.

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  • #3346

    There seems to be a lack of black models, male or female. This is both an issue of concern on equality grounds and an issue of a lack of a resource that I would find helpful

    #3347

    Sanne
    Moderator `

    Hi Davidabse,

    We at Line of Action totally agree!! Diversity has been one of our main points where we struggled because our library used to rely on the generous donations of photographers. That meant we unfortunately had no say in the skin color, gender, bodytype, age and other aspects of the models.

    All the photography we've recently added ourselves has been focused on being more inclusive (the faces tool was our own photoshoot and we made sure to include people from different ethnicities for example, and we've also included photo bundles of babies, children and generally ensure we always include people of color in these) where we possibly can be with our limited resources. One of the reasons we made photo bundle submissions available is to allow the community to contribute their own work, and help us diversify the library!

    In an ideal world, we'd have countless photoshoots of our own and include people from all walks of life and ensure Line of Action truly is an all-encompassing figure study tool. We're really commited to this (I'm personally a very tall and heavy woman and am absolutely dying to be represented in the figure study tools), but with a small team of people and years of relying on donations and fundraisers to keep the site going, it's just not been possible.

    If you know of anyone who'd be willing to contribute, please do pass the link along. :) In the meantime, we are working on expanding our library from here on out with diversity in mind whenever we can.

    I hope this was helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions!

    • Sanne edited this post on December 6, 2018 10:27pm. Reason: Elaborated a statement
    #3348

    This is a delicate discussion and the first thing that we need to do is acknowledge that the 3 voices so far in this conversation (including mine) come from people who are going to be at least percieved of as white, if not actually white. I am white.

    And a discussion about the lack of diversity without including diverse voices is always problematic, even if we cannot fix the problem. We need to acknowledge it.

    Sanne has absolutly addressed the issue of specifically Black Models, and the lack of Models of Color in general from a technical perspective. There is another challenge that Sanne does not address that should be addressed.

    First we must acknowledge the reality of the "Gaze". The Male Gaze is more acknowledged "In feminist theory, the male gaze is the act of depicting women and the world, in the visual arts and literature, from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer." It is easy to find examples of and discussions about. And I am not interested in a debate about the reality or impact of the Male Gaze. I simply am going to acknowledge the concept of the gaze impacts art and how people who are women or are percieved of as women are impacted when they model for art.

    The White Gaze has a similar impact on People of Color, and again this is straying into a lengthy discussion of politics, society, culture and other areas that I will not engage in a debate about in this forum. What is relevant is that People of Color, especially Black People are often painfully aware of how the images and bodies of Black People have been used by and for white people. Those are facts that cannot be denied. Black People are often painflly aware that the images and bodies of Black People are still being used by and for white people.

    As a whole white people do not have a complex relationship with their body or image being used for the benefit or profit of others. Feminine percieved people of all races have experience with this, but white feminine percieved people do not have the same relationship as People of Color. People of Color, especially Black People have a complex relationship with their body, face, image, and stylized representations of their image being used for the benefit of white people. This complex relationship has a long historical precedent and a modern and current impact.

    Therefore People of Color, especially Black People are far less likely to offer their image and body to be openly used by artists as a whole to be used to create art. It is difficult to book them for Life Drawing sessions or acquire photographs of their image for the purpose of reference photos for a site like this. Line of Action has access to a fairly small pool of images, and that pool is going to generally come from what is more commonly available.

    And perhaps due to the larger complexity of this issue it would be wise to create a premium set of photos - that when a Black Model is gracious enough to gift us with their image to use as references - that are never a part of the free site. And that every artist who makes use of that Model's image has to pay a nominal fee. This would help balance the scales and reduce the complexity that is involved in this sensitive issue.

    If we are unable to find the reference photos that we are looking for in Line Of Action, or through other free or low cost sites then as white artists we should turn to paid sites and paid models. It is important that we show diversity in our own art - it is also important that we do not continue to profit and benefit from the free labor of Black Peoople.

    #3350

    Sanne
    Moderator `

    Those are some interesting points and perspectives being brought up! That is definitely something we have to consider.

    Therefore People of Color, especially Black People are far less likely to offer their image and body to be openly used by artists as a whole to be used to create art. It is difficult to book them for Life Drawing sessions or acquire photographs of their image for the purpose of reference photos for a site like this. Line of Action has access to a fairly small pool of images, and that pool is going to generally come from what is more commonly available.

    And perhaps due to the larger complexity of this issue it would be wise to create a premium set of photos - that when a Black Model is gracious enough to gift us with their image to use as references - that are never a part of the free site. And that every artist who makes use of that Model's image has to pay a nominal fee. This would help balance the scales and reduce the complexity that is involved in this sensitive issue.

    I just wanted to ask if you're aware of our profit sharing policies? The photo bundles that are submitted can be made exclusively available behind a paywall for as long as the submitter wants. We share profits 50/50 in this way.

    • Sanne edited this post on December 7, 2018 7:50pm. Reason: Fixed blockquote formatting
    #3351

    We are figure models, and we work with a diverse team of models here in Pittsburgh. We work in the classrooms, and having a day when students make progress is our biggest payback. The students, and our instructors, speak about the "gaze" issues being discussed in this thread. Models don't take gaze into consideration when we go to work. We are there to teach students to draw the human form in a comfortable, welcoming environment. In other words, concerns about gaze belong to the artist, not the model.

    The reason we don't have photographs of the models we work with: they have jobs outside of figure modeling and could get fired if photographs of them posing nude were available. Simple answer. Same reason we don't allow smart phone usage in the art studio, and why you can't take reference pictures at an open studio session.

    We are fortunate to be able to provide images to Line of Action, since we are self-employed and won't fire ourselves for artistic expression.

    -Betsy and David, Art Models

    #3353

    Sanne,

    Thank you so much for hearing me out and putting into consideration this additional pespective.

    I respect what Betsy and David have to say, I cannot speak for what it is like to be a model. As I have always been on the other side of the canvas. I can only share what I have learned from the PoC I have encountered.

    Sanne I am aware of the profit sharing aspect of your photo bundles and I am a full supporter of it. I have purchased every single photo bundle so far. Part of my reason for buying the bundles is I have used this site long enough that any new additions to the practice session are very welcome. But my other reason is I want to be an active supporter of the site and the people who are so generous as to share their talent. So I always buy them right away rather than waiting for them to come from behind the pay wall.

    I love this site, it has been an integral part of my growth as an artist.

    And I believe that Betsy and David are the models most recently added to the figure model area, and if I am correct I am a fan. They are wonderful dynamic images and they add great value to this site.

    Keep doing good work here, and hopefully with time you will be able to continue to attract diverse models.

    #3354

    Sanne
    Moderator `

    I personally appreciate you advocating for POC, so thank you for your contribution on this HornetOfJustice! It's good to consider all perspectives, and we want to treat the subject of modeling and figure studying with the utmost respect.

    Having Betsy and David weigh in as actual figure stuy models is also valuable, since they see things we normally wouldn't see on the other side. I really appreciate hearing their take on this as well! :)

    After some thought, I think to have a meaningful discussion about representing POC in the tools and how it affects them, we should perhaps focus on inviting them into the conversation and give them the podium to share their thoughts on this. As white people we can have long discussions about what we hear and see, such as the injustices POC experience that they have told us about. However, I also believe that it's important to let them speak for themselves, as they're the ones most qualified to share with us what does and doesn't hurt them. If they have anything to contribute on this topic, we welcome that!

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