Abuse of power comes as no surprise – Jenny Holzer
essay by Janna Jesson
He asked me over text, “Promise you won’t be angry and burn the bridge, or not to want to work again?” It was a strange thing to read from a photographer I’d only worked with one time. He seemed odd to begin with, though. Or maybe he was just awkward.
He contacted me through Model Mayhem and offered me $100 an hour for my time as a model. We decided to meet at El Dorado Park. He texted me as I was on my way that parking at El Dorado was $5, and I should meet him out by his white van. Van?! Okay, either he was a father of five or some kind of serial killer. I texted my sister where I was and texted her his license plate number as soon as I pulled up behind him.
He introduced himself and seemed pleasant enough. He’d bought me a shirt from one of my favorite stores, Brandy Melville. And he got me some matching white underwear from the Gap. I have an awkward, bony-in-the-wrong-places body type, and instead of asking me my size, which was a large in bottoms, he bought a small and an extra small “just in case.”
He turned away, and I shamelessly undressed in the unpopulated park while he kept watch for any passersby. He was a little bit shorter than me and had a darker complexion and a handsome face for his age, which was around 40.
Once I was dressed, he got out his camera–a dinky point-and-shoot. I wondered if this was really a test shoot for a bigger, better sports shoot like he had said or if it was for his personal spank bank. Either way, I was getting paid to model, so I went along with it.
His directions were a bit strange. He was very focused on my feet being pointed or looking like I was “pressing on a gas pedal.” Okay, he probably had a fetish.
Afterward, he started talking about film, a topic I am obsessed with. Then he told me about how he went to grad school in London, a city I’m obsessed with and hopefully moving to when I’m older. He invited me for coffee to discuss film and grad school, and so he could get the cash to pay me on the way.
Coffee was pleasant. He bought me a chai tea and a donut. Hey, I worked hard looking hot, and post-photoshoot is the best time to indulge. (more…)