CAMERA CLUB (1995-1998)
In the mid-nineteen nineties, Chris Verene sought out photography clubs that advertise to aspiring models offering them a career in the modeling industry. These clubs have been in the US since the 1940’s—often seen as groups of male photographers huddled around swimsuit models in studios and on beach locations.
The project sought to document the photographers who join a club as way of access to women who would be willing to pose in lingerie, swimwear and nude. Verene joined these clubs in a number of American cities and surreptitiously made pictures of the men and their equipment while they were distracted by the models. Verene also conspired with a female friend who applied to the clubs as an aspiring model as a way of investigating the system that drives the organization. The two found that the clubs were never a real route to becoming a fashion model, and such promises were often offered in lieu of payment.
Verene’s “Camera Club” project is unstaged, and is a real document of how the clubs truly feel. It stands as a caution to young models—suggesting to all such people that they be careful who they trust with taking off thier clothes for pictures, and that they not always believe all the stories that such clubs tell.
This work was featured in The Whitney Biennial 2000, and is in the permanent collection of several major museums including The MET, The Whitney, and The High Museum.
There is a catalog available of this work in the “Books” section.