That’s right, you read that correctly. Amazon is selling a book titled “An Introduction to Camera Game: How to Seduce Women Through Photography” by someone known simply as Goldmund—and it is as unsettling as it sounds.
With sexual misconduct allegations that have swept the creative and entertainment industries in the past weeks, the content of this book seems all too close to the disturbing revelations of men using their professional or artistic status as a way of getting unexperienced girls into bed. The book’s intro seems to hammer home the point that “Photography can enhance your social skills,” which is certainly true as photography is an intimate practice and communication between the photographer and subject is crucial. However, Goldmund goes on to write, “I will break that down so you can start creating pictures of beaming women gazing intensely who clearly have sex on the mind.”
Hold up. Women who “clearly have sex on the mind”? Goldmund continues his intro by boasting about his perfected “script” he uses to get laid, a technique he plans to share in the following 90 pages, to help other dudes more easily manipulate girls through their camera and feigned charm.
With the number of actresses and models who have come forward in the past months about their experiences with unwanted sexual advances, harassment, and abuse from more established men in their industry, this book makes my skin crawl. While it is easy to say that this interpretation is taking it too far, or that Goldmund didn’t intend anything sinister with his book, the bottom line is simple—luring women into working with you in the hopes of using them for sex is sexual harassment in the workplace. This book encourages men to turn up the charisma and promise “experience” to women, all in the hopes of getting laid, thus objectifying the woman. This is a huge problem for a number of reasons. If a woman agrees to a modeling job it is assumed she’d like to be taken seriously, and this approach immediately makes her a means to an end. This highlights one of the biggest obstacles faced by women in creative industries, especially young and inexperienced ones, as they are often seen more for sexual opportunity than for talent and legitimate contribution to a project. Additionally, any man who claims to know what a woman “clearly” wants is automatically wrong in their presumptuous entitlement. The only way to know what a woman clearly wants is if she verbalizes this to you, not if she agrees to your photography shoot and looks longingly into the lens, because…well…that’s her job as a model.
It is no wonder that 89% of reviewers on Amazon rated the book a 1 star, with many people drawing attention to its blatant promotion of harassment and it’s shocking lack of self-awareness.
Of course there are also those reviewers who rated the book 5 stars, attempting to shame others for their hasty assumptions that “lump all men together” and for their harsh judgement of the book that actually does “offer insight”, give valid “depth and technique details”, and serves as “good motivation” to young photographers. While I don’t doubt that the book’s author may be a skilled photographer with decent insight into the industry, the unsettling underlying message it presents remains the same—and anyone who can’t see this is part of the problem.