The privileged white male complex has never once impressed me. In fact anyone who thinks that they are better than other people makes me want to scream. I have a very low tolerance for bigots. Saturday I experienced discrimination that would have been much easier to take if it hadn’t been so two faced. I really have a much easier time with people in New York. When they don’t like you in New York they tell you, they don’t take your picture.
When the phone rang an hour ago it was Andy http://www.modelmayhem.com/member.php?id=392579 the photographer Lorelei and I shot with on Saturday. He was screaming “you are such a bitch I can’t believe your attitude .. just because your a dominatrix … nobody treats me like that.” And he is right I am a bitch, but I had not been a bitch to him. Quite the contrary — I had been too busy biting my tongue trying to get some decent shots to have been bitchy to him. Rather it was he who had been a self righteous bigot. When he began screaming at me I realized I had to post this story I wrote on Sunday morning.
Enjoy the drama and be glad you have a normal life.
A few weeks back I agreed to shoot with a photographer on Model Mayhem. His work with natural light impressed me. We sent a few messages, looked at each others profiles, and talked on the phone for a second. I had to cancel at the last minute in true Angelino fashion. It is possible that in my haste I said something like “yea yea the 29th is perfect – see you then” but I didn’t mark it on my calendar. I though I was taking the 29th off. It was the first day in a series of many where I wasn’t doing something so I was pretty excited to have noting on my schedule. Horary, a day off.
I was about to commit to a 4:30 yoga class when the phone rang and it was this photographer confirming our 4:00 shoot. “oops I totally forgot” I said to him, no big deal “I happen to have the day free – I see you then. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO WEAR?” I asked him? “Oh wear whatever you want – however you want to be represented … I have no preference.”
I blew off yoga and headed to echo park lake with my girlfriend. We had previously discussed my love of fetish fashion, costumes, and transsexuals. He approached me initially. Needlesss to say that when he turned his nose up at the two of us (who were looking pretty fucking hot) I was somewhat unsure of how to respond. I’m not used to people suggesting that they are unimpressed with my attire. I was certainly camera ready, as was Lorelei. “Is she gonna be in the pictures?” he asked me. “That was the plan” I said.
After an initial few minutes of bumbling around we decided to shoot in front of the church that is across from the lake. When I suggested that we go into the park he started to huff and began blabbering “the park is too boring, we can come back when it is dimmer” Then he suggested we go for a ride in his car.
“I don’t just hop into cars of strange men.” I pointed out that jumping into a car of a stranger was a bad idea for anyone let alone someone dressed in a tight shiny corset and high heels. He asked me to sit in the street. I tried explaining the difficulty of sitting all the way down in this boned beast but he just kept insisting that I could and should sit in the street. I fell straight over for dramatic effect and to demonstrate just how inflexible my outfit really is.
I did bang my head when I hit the ground but he shut the fuck up and started shooting. Then he pulled me aside and asked me “can you ask him to move so he is not in the frame?” “He who” I said looking around. “My girlfriend is a she” “Oh … blab la bla …” he mumbled. What a fucking dick! I already hated him but we had agreed to come out here to shoot and since some of my best photos were shot by people I can’t stand I decided that we were going to shoot.
He wanted to go to some staircase. “It’s right here at the corner of Sunset and Echo Park” He assured me. We started walking. “Oh are these for sale?” he asked me of the woman selling fruit and cactus. “Ya” I said, somewhat bewildered. “Lets’ get you buying some thing” and he proceeded to try and shoot the woman and me engaging in a transaction when there was none happening. “So let’s buy something” I said looking at him. This is his bright idea so he hands me two bucks and as I buy a small thing of fruit he starts shooting her. She is an old south American woman who is obviously not interested in being photographed by this middle aged white man. He starts telling her (and everyone else) that I am a famous movie star. WTF? I’m thinking.
She starts asking him for money. Shit, she being photographed with a famous movie star against her will. I tell him to give her some money for her time, she obviously needs it. When he opens his wallet I think “well at least he is gonna give her something. At least he isn’t a total dick. I hope he doesn’t cheap out.” He looks through a stack of bills and says he doesn’t have anything small enough. He goes to hand her the change in his pocket like she is some kind of beggar and I almost died. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO EMBARASED IN MY WHOLE LIFE. I wanted to curl up and die. My heart broke for this woman who was now being straight insulted by this man. This white man so infatuated with echo park that he felt completely entitled to come into her neighborhood and shoot her. WTF?
I pulled out my wallet and handed her a ten. Take it I insisted. She did. I thanked her for the fruit and her time. I looked at him and said “don’t insult her with your change. Why in the hell do you think you can come into her neighborhood and shoot her without asking, without compensating, and then you tell them I’m a famous movie star. Seriously uncool man. I take the bus in this neighborhood. I’m a little famous but I don’t need them hating on me thinking I am some insulting white girl. Why do you think you can come to the ‘ethnic’ part of town and act like this?” He had nothing to say.
There are many many reasons why people in LA don’t want their picture taken. She is just trying to support her family, not become your model you self righteous white man from Van Nuys.
The shoot only got more exhausting from there. He had us hike way the fuck up into the hills of echo park. It would have been fine if we had been dressed for the occasion. When we got up there he took all my stuff and threw it around saying “we’ll just put this in the background.” Maybe he took a few pictures but what a drag it was to shoot with this dude.
He was discriminatory, degrading, rude, insensitive to other people and their culture, and misogynistic. I’m glad I did not invite this guy to my dungeon or my home. I’m glad the shoot is over. but most of all I’m glad I don’t have to see him at the water cooler every day. I don’t now how people put up with each other.