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The Sunday Times said:
The Straits Times
Excuse me, want to be a bikini model?
5 April 2009
(c) 2009 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Young and eager, many girls are readily posing for male photographers for small fee, even free
The pay could be as little as $15 an hour for a two-hour photoshoot.
But there is no shortage of women agreeing to pose - sometimes in lingerie or bikini - for mostly male photography buffs, say organisers.
The 'models' are mostly teens, fresh-faced and eager to build up their portfolios. Some even agree to pose for free.
Indeed, a community of at least 30 active models has sprouted over the past year. They take part in weekend photoshoots advertised mainly on online photography forum Clubsnap.
The outings range from outdoors fashion shoots to those where the models pose in bikinis on Sentosa's beaches or in lingerie in studios and hotel rooms.
A new model can, on average, earn about $30 an hour for a two-hour shoot with a group of four to 12 photographers. More seasoned ones can get $200 an hour.
Some girls waive the fee in exchange for a CD of the photos from the photographer.
On any given weekend, there are six to 10 photoshoots advertised on Clubsnap, and others which are held privately. Amateur and hobbyist photographers, mostly males aged between 18 and 60, are charged $18 to $250 each.
As many as three models are hired for each shoot, ensuring a 4:1 or 6:1 photographer-to-model ratio that is rated ideal. Private one-on-one photo sessions can be arranged by paying a little more.
Mr Mike Tan, 35, a professional photographer who has been organising shoots for the past eight years, said the models are getting younger. 'In the old days, they would be about 18 to 25, now they are usually 14 to 22.'
He gets as many as 50 e-mail messages daily from girls hoping to launch their modelling careers. Some indicate they are open to posing in lingerie or swimwear.
He also 'talent-spots pretty girls' through their blogs. He said most readily agree to taking part in shoots or are at least piqued enough to discuss them over coffee.
There are also organisers as young as Mr Mervin Lee, 19, a music student at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He has no problems sourcing for models. 'I quote a price - you take it or leave it. There are many others to choose from,' said Mr Lee, who has been setting up shoots since January.
He first took part in such events as a photographer but switched to organising them, lured by the chance to earn cash.
'It's also a very social part-time occupation,' said Mr Lee, who once earned $200 from a single shoot. He has more than 20 models whom he engages for outdoor fashion shoots.
At photoshoots, participants can chat with the models or suggest poses but are not permitted to touch them.
Still, Ms Fiona Lee, owner of Fiona's Models, Talents And Events Management, would rather not take chances and turns down requests for her girls to do 'private group shoots'.
She cautions her models not to do so, especially when the shoot is in an 'in-house studio'.
One organiser, Ms Sophia Lin, 17, said there are a handful of photographers known to be touchy or overly friendly with models.
To ensure there is no hanky-panky, she is present throughout the shoots involving her models. She often has older friends in tow to help out as minders.
Some models are careful about the jobs they take. Popular model Celestina Tiew, 19, a student, said she works only with organisers who are her friends.
Asked if she fears the possibility of her photos being disseminated widely without her consent, she added: 'I don't sign a contract. But if you never do nude shoots, you won't have your pictures ending up in pornographic websites.'
She has turned down offers to pose in the nude because she is 'not daring enough'.
Ms Lin, who is waiting to enter a polytechnic, said organising shoots using models in the nude is out for her. But she observes that 'sometimes the girls will take off their bras and cover themselves with their hands or a towel'.
The distribution of obscene materials is prohibited under the Undesirable Publications Act.
The penalty is a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.
Lawyers also caution that those working with models under 16 may risk running afoul of the Children and Young Persons Act.
Under this law, anyone found committing or abetting an obscene or indecent act with those under 16 can be fined up to $5,000, or jailed up to two years, or both.