The idea of doing a documentary about art models or “internet models” came to me a few years ago when I realized that no one outside of our community of models/photographers really knows what it is about. Many people see and reblog pictures of naked individuals on tumblr, yet who the people in the pictures are or what it is like to be them is relatively unknown. Worse, there are misconceptions about how being naked on the internet is some sort of an indication of a woman’s sexual promiscuity or that a women who is naked on the internet is somehow inherently troubled. Ironically, some of the same people who are passing these judgements are also taking the pictures for which we pose, slapping a positive affirmation on them (ie: “love yourself!” or "I am a woman …blah …blah…blah" or "beauty is whatever") and passing them around pinterest, facebook and tumblr. So the main purpose of this documentary is to show the public who the people who they’re reblogging on tumblr actually are and that they are normal individuals and what goes into the job of being an art model.
When the documentary is done, I plan to send it on the film festival circuit and later, using a company I found which handles internet streaming distribution, get the documentary on hulu, netflix and amazon. This is obviously a labor of love rather than a commercial venture as I’ve already spent about $3,000 on credit for cameras and lighting equipment and plan to spend at least another $3,000 on film festival submission fees and on the distribution company that will get it on netflix/hulu/amazon. But I am hoping at the midway point when I have some footage assembled and properly edited I can apply for some grants for documentaries to help me with the distribution and promotional costs. (Crosses fingers.)
Right now, I am hosting monthly model salons, where art models get together and have conversations about being an art model. I set up three cameras in my living room and film the discussions as they take place. Basically, I am trying to break away from the tradition Q and A style interview that one sees so often in documentaries and instead have discussions. I’ve only done one test run thus far, at it seemed to have gone fairly well.
Ultimately, my idea is to divide the documentary into 4 sections:
1) historical role of art models
2) Filming a modeling tour and interviews with models who have been on cross country modeling tours.
3) Interviews with art models who have “normalized” back into society and showing what their lives are like now.
4) How art models are trying to take control of their circumstances (models holding their own workshops, starting their own zivity-eque companies, etc.)
These sections will be inter-cut with clips from the art model salons I am hosting, and one on one interviews that will flesh out the experience of what it is like to be an art model.