Some months ago, I submitted work to Philadelphia RAW Natural Born Artists which is a showcase organization that works with artists all over the country to promote and showcase their work. Well, a couple weeks ago, the showcase director in Philadelphia e-mailed me letting me know that I had been selected to have my work showcased at an event in Philly. Naturally, I was excited. Though it had been so long since I submitted the application that I’d forgotten which pieces I submitted and also moved out of state, I didn’t care. I was thinking of ways I could transport my work from Columbus to Philly, and back again but it all seemed like too much. So, I sat on it.
Eventually it dawned on me that I should ask if I could be showcased in Columbus instead. The Philadelphia showcase director put me in touch with the Columbus showcase director and my problem was solved! When I finally spoke with the Columbus director on the phone, she’d expressed to me how much she loved my work, told me the “requirements” of the show and so on and so forth. So, I get off the phone with her and immediately log into my RAW artist account to see what I had submitted and to my surprise, it was all modeling work! So there it is, I’ve been registered to showcase my work through this organization as a model!
Next, I contact my photographer to let her know of the news. I told her that all accept for one of the photos I submitted were images that she’d shot of me so I thought it would be a good idea for us to do this thing together, she agreed. She’d asked if she would have to buy a ticket and I wasn’t sure so I contacted the director again.
“Hi there, I wanted to get in touch with you to ask if I could have one free admission for the photographer that shot the images of me.” And she says, “Wait… Are you not the photographer?”
At this point, I’m just looking at the message like, “how does she not know this?” Then I thought to myself, “Well I was forwarded to her from a director in another city so maybe there was some miscommunication there.”
She continues, “Oh my goodness!! There has been a misunderstanding on my part! I won’t be able to showcase you, because we only showcase artists, bands, designers, and performing artists. I booked you under the assumption that you were the photographer since you submitted under the photography category. You’re a beautiful woman and I’d love to keep your contact info because we often are looking for models when we book fashion designers, makeup artists, and hair stylists.
Do you think the photographer would be interested in showcasing their work? I would still love to showcase the photographs if they are interested.
I am so sorry for the miscommunication.”
“I’ll give you a call tomorrow and we can figure it out. :)”
So, all in the same instance, I’m told 1. RAW only showcases, “artists, bands, designers, and performing artists” I of which, am none of the above 2. She didn’t take the time to see that I submitted my work as a visual artist, and not a photographer 3. The only way I could be part of a show is if a fashion designer, make-up artist or hair stylist needs a model and 4. She’d disregard my efforts as a model and offer automatic admission to the photographer who shot the images of me at the drop of a dime.
This was my response:
“I know you said you’re going to call me today but I am very upset over the way this situation has been handled. Your response to this misunderstanding tells me that I can be respected as a painter, musician, designer, dancer, but not a model. The reason I submitted to RAW was because I thought I had a chance to showcase my work as a model, I truly believed RAW acknowledged art in all forms. And for the director of the show to tell me I can’t be part of this event because RAW only showcases “artists” (etc.), is a slap in the face.
Im not sending you this email for you to reconsider your decision. I’m sending it because I speak for not only myself, but tons of other models who have contributed 50+ percent to incredible images who don’t receive half the credit they deserve.
My photographer will be in touch with you. Still feel free to call if you’d like.”