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If DeviantART were a town, you would drive through it extremely quickly with your doors locked and your windows shut. And even then you’d have to stop just outside MySpace to scrape the sequins and foreskins from the bumper.
I was chatting to model Chrissie Red about the thoughtless and often very personal comments that can appear at the bottom of a photograph on sites like DeviantART, and the idea came up to do a bit of a rant about it.
I threw this out to some model friends, and got a really interesting perspective from some very different models, on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of those really thoughtless, not-so-constructive comments. Stuff like: “You look like a man,” or “She looks anorexic,” or even “What a slut!”
How does it feel to read that about yourself? Does it affect your self esteem? Should it bother you? Do you care?
Now, there are some really great artists on DeviantART. Then again, there are some really nice people that live in Moss Side.
Certain pockets of DeviantART are so strange and odd to those outside each individual sub-culture, that it wouldn’t surprise me if you could buy mouse mats of people inflating their own genitals with bellows. Or a mug with a picture of somebody dangling from their garage ceiling by their nipples, and if the urge took you, you could do unspeakable, adult things to it, take a photo of it on your telephone, post it on DeviantART, and some wobble-job would probably ask you what you ate the night before, to get it that particular consistency and colour.
If the scientists that invented the internet in that little laboratory at CERN all those years ago, knew that this was one of the many ways in which the Internet was going to be used, they would have briefly considered locking all the doors and burning the building down.
And you know what? All of that is absolutely cool. It’s not a danger to society, or a symptom of anything sinister. It’s just people being weird and having wanks about stuff. That’s what people do. They probably do it slightly more than they did before DeviantART was invented, but there are worse hobbies. Like Farmville. And there is worldwide poverty and large-scale climate change and stuff, and some dweeb slamming his wang in the refrigerator door and taking photos of it is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things. Even the Devil doesn’t give a shit about stuff like that. He’s like ‘Well, it’s DeviantART. I just let them get on with it,’
Chrissie and many other models that appear on DeviantART do not go trolling on other people’s photographs to tell them how disgusting they think they are.
Chrissie does not, on seeing an extreme close-up of the end of a man’s penis with a face Photoshopped onto it, type ‘’That looks like the Annoying Orange off Youtube, after he’s been left in the bottom of the ‘fridge for six months. You massive nutter,”
WARNING: Some things cannot be unseen.
You looked didn’t you? Well you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
Or “Your wife’s suspenders are doing your wrinkly arse no favours mate. You look like a plucked turkey in a basque, and there isn’t enough eye-bleach in the world to put this right,”
She doesn’t do this because it’s rude and thoughtless and hurtful (and she probably has less time on her hands than people that read up on nailing their own genitals to tables). It’s very direct and it’s very public. But when she reads her own comments, and those of her friends, people have said things like:
“I wish I was there with some trimmers for that bush!”
“Nice image, but she looks like an anorexic on her deathbed,”
“Your model’s nipples look weird,”
“Your model needs to eat,”
Creepy pube comments aside, these are directed towards a model that looks like THIS:
Oh, and this:
She’s a very tall bird is Chrissie. And she’s very slim. But her BMI is 19, which is within the ‘normal’ and not unhealthy range, according to doctors. She’s not anorexic, and doesn’t have the same body shape as somebody that is. I’m no boob expert, but there is nothing wrong with Chrissie’s. And she’s erm, quite happy with her natural, perfectly normal bush thank you very much. No vajazzles or stripper waxes for Ms. Red. So what goes through people’s minds when they write this kind of stuff? If you’ve got any clue on this subject whatsoever, please feel free to comment at the bottom of the page.
Chrissie tells me that she expects this kind of bullshit from ‘old men being pricks’ but not so much from photographers. Particularly young female ones, who you might have expected to have more of a clue about what is and isn’t an appropriate comment to make about another woman’s body.
What’s really creepy is when some random guy (sometimes a ‘photographer, sometimes not) will make a sleazy comment about the model, and the original photographer will agree with him and have a conversation about it:
“Here’s Kate looking hot & bothered,”
“I wish she was hot & bothered with me! I’m jealous,”
“Yeah I’m a lucky guy!”
“I wish I had your job!”
“I do love my job!”
Erm guys, this is public. Don’t talk about your model as if you personally rubbed the baby oil into her ass crack. You sound like a virgin. Or as Chrissie would say:
“Shut the fuck up, you high-fiving fuckwits,”
There are a lot of people outside the modelling world that would say ‘Well, if you don’t like the comments, don’t appear on the Internet with your norks out,’
Well, whatever job you do, you will encounter bits of it that you might not like. It’s OK to talk about it or read or write about it sometimes. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, or that you should quit. Sometimes it’s just good to remember that it isn’t personal, and that everybody gets their share of thoughtless, nasty, throwaway comments.
Photos by Rory Quinn
Misty is a model from Mersyside, UK. She’s also a dancer and a qualified makeup artist. Models that are dancers are very sought-after, and Misty is an accomplished and popular model in several genres. She’s also a very funny lady, and totally down to earth and modest, despite being ridiculously talented and accomplished.
You seem very versatile. How would you describe yourself as a model?
I’m a Polly Pocket model, small, pretty and can bend in half! Ha ha! In all seriousness, yes, I am lucky in that I can model to a wide variety of genres, I tend to have quite a chameleon look, and a face that takes makeup well. I would say my niche is in Dance and Figure modelling, including artistic nude, and in Editorial modelling, as you really need to be able to bend and make shapes, and use your face expressively to achieve a good shot in these styles. Having dance training is a huge advantage to me, and is what gives me the background to understand movement and posing and how to make my body look aesthetically pleasing in a photograph.
You’re an ariel gymnastics performer and a pole-dancing champion. How do people generally react when you tell them what you do?
I wouldn’t call myself a champion in general terms, not yet anyway ;-) I was the Welsh Pole Divas Regional Champion in 2010 and have reached 3 National Finals, and the Britain does Variety Live Regional Final for Northern England performing on pole, I hope to achieve a lot more over the next few years!
I tend to find I get the usual stereotype at first, phallic related jokes about ‘sliding down poles’, reactions of distaste where people have some stripper image in their heads of nudity, thongs, and 7 inch plastic heels… but then as soon as people see what I do, I tend to find the jokes stop pretty quickly! I like that, changing conceptions one person at a time.
What is your favourite photograph of yourself?
This is a really difficult question – I have photos in so many styles which I love for different reasons. But I’ll have to say this one by the uber talented Phil Winterbourne – I think if any picture has ever managed to capture my personality and character in one shot, then this is it. It has an attitude and sex appeal about it which I just love. I wish my face looked like this every day.
Where would you most like to perform?
Las Vegas. There are wonderful shows out there such as Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil where the Double World Champion Felix Cane performs on the pole – I would love to be good enough one day to be able to be a part of a show like that. Vegas is so unique in that is brings the gorgeous and the ridiculous together in one big glamorous union where anything goes and all performance art is accepted. I think there’s a real problem in our society in general where it’s considered ‘not okay’ to embrace your sexuality as a woman and just dance, be it graceful, powerful, erotic, whatever. Dance brings out every side of me, it reflects my mood, my emotions, my innermost desires and every aspect of my personality and being. I want to be able to express that without judgement. And possibly marry an Elvis impersonator.
Who is your favourite model?
I have so many models that I respect and admire, and could look at all day long, but for me my absolute favourite is Raphaella. I have had the pleasure of working alongside her and she is as lovely as she is beautiful and talented. The way she uses her body and face in so many ways to express emotion and feeling, and can span the genres from beautiful and classical to erotic, to edgy and look flawless in every shot – I find her breathtaking.
Thank you for talking to I/AM Misty. Where can we find you on the web?
I was asked to write a little rant about people that take pictures of tits, that look down their noses at, well, people that take pictures of tits.
When is tits and arse not tits and arse then? When it’s in black and white, with a little logo in the corner?
It’s only frothy-mouthed Daily Mail readers that see no difference between Terry Richardson and Sally Mann. But to scuttle to the very opposite end of the scale and leg it up the nearest ivory tower is just as annoying, and just as ignorant.
If your work is only about light, shade, texture and tone, and not at all about great racks and cracking arses, how come there’s no wrinkly old people in your port? How come there’s no pot-bellied Buddhas with tiny little acorn willies? No matronly mamas with boobs that touch their tummies? Where are the fascinating, ultra-thin men with razor-blade clavicles and knobbly knees? Why are all of your models YANGS (young, attractive, naked girls)?
A heterosexual man would rather look at a beautiful naked girl than anything else in the world. And there is absolutely not a thing in the world wrong with that. So if you’re one of the minority of photographers with a port full of nubile girls, that is kidding yourself, or trying to kid models that you’re somehow a better person than the average arty-farty smut-ographer, then perhaps you should stop talking bollocks, or go and photograph some.
Photograph by Ciaran Whyte