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  • Hector Heathwood

So you've changed your mind, and that's okay. But let's be fair about this.x

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

Sometimes I'm approached by models I've worked with in the past asking me to stop using their images. Many reasons are cited, but the most common are a change of partner who doesn't approve, or fear that it might affect them in a new job.

While I don't really understand the issue fully I have to appreciate and accept that the model feels concerned about certain individuals or groups seeing their pictures, and would rather they not be shown in public anymore. Obviously I have the greatest respect for the women I work with, their welfare, and their input into the images created.

Since 'undercover' images are never published by me I am only talking here about photographs made for my personal portfolio, promotion and international publication. This work, though often of an erotic nature, is made in a tasteful and artistic environment and I strive to make the experience a positive one for my sitters.

These shoots are conducted on a TF (time for) basis and all expenses are borne by me. My model release, which only adults over 18 can sign, states the uses I'll make of the images and gives the model full usage rights. I may use the resulting photos for publication in books or magazines, or for the promotion of my business through print or electronic media.

Clearly I have no wish to cause any issue of harm or embarrassment to the women I work with, either in their careers or personal life. Their well-being is paramount in how I conduct my personal work and professional activities.

But, when I'm asked not to use the pictures any more, I'm to be left with a significant number of photographs that are useless to me, but the model still has possession of and can employ them in whatever way they see fit. I hope you'll agree that's unfair; my time, experience, expertise and cash went into making these images. I entered into an agreement in good faith and had a signed contract in the form of a model release.

Having given considerable thought on a means to remedy this difficult situation I've arrived at a positive solution that is both obvious and simple, while remaining equitable to all.

The business of 'undercover' is to produce high quality photographs of private clients for their own purposes, for a fee. The shooting and editing are paid for by the customer, full and exclusive usage rights are included in the price.

So, when one of my portfolio models wishes to make her images private, she will have the opportunity to pay for her shoot/s in the normal way. They will effectively become 'undercover' images and, thus, never used for publication by me again.

This solution works, and is equitable and fair to all concerned. The model has the assurance that images of her won't be published from that point on, although those already in use in certain media cannot be recalled for obvious reasons. I'm remunerated properly for work done and expenses incurred in the production of the pictures. Finally, 'undercover' clients won't feel they've paid for something that others get for free.

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