Helpful Hands?

Not a day goes by without someone mailing his photo to be featured here. Some actually end up on the blog but most don’t. Not because the people on them don’t look good – a lot of the readers, of you guys, are actually really cute ;) – but because the photo itself doesn’t really fit the quality standards of the blog (there’s no polite way to say that :p). Just look at the photo on the left: There’s an amazingly handsome boy on it (who’s turning 16 today by the way, happy birthday Felix!) but the image is small and the quality isn’t the best. It’s mostly either poor light, an outdated camera or this or that. Now we all know that not everyone can afford a good cam or learn to be a great photographer within a day.

But then again some people are investing a lot of time and money into photography – Olly is just one of them so he’ll be my example here ;) And here’s what I thought: I know that there are quite a few regions where lots of milkies live somewhat close to each other. Like the UK, Sweden or parts of the US. So maybe we could get up a little database with people who are willing to make photos and people who’d like to get one or two good photos of themselves so these people could get in touch with each other? With some kind of feedback system to bar out creeps who might get the wrong idea about the whole thing. The photographers would have some models they could practise with and the people being photographed don’t need to buy an expensive cam and learn how to do proper photos to get a picture that is good enough to be featured here.

Good idea, bad idea? I didn’t really think about the details yet, it was just something that popped into my mind so let me hear your comments & suggestions.

  

90 thoughts on “Helpful Hands?”

  1. That would actually be pretty nice. I am probably going to be in a free printing class this semester, so I can take photos of whatever in the hell I want with actual film on real photo paper, so no worries about pixels.

  2. I think its a great idea! Photography is a hobby for me, but would be great to build up my portfolio, as well as offering guys photos of themselves which might be difficult to achieve by themselves. I’m in the UK by the way :) And I have a deviantart for anyone wanting to look at my work so far!

  3. I think it is a great idea and I enjoy photography and would love to have a subject to practice on, mutually beneficial. But I think there would have to be clear guidelines agreed to before any link-up occurs :)

    PS I am in NZ

  4. hmmmm…. I can say how this idea might fail horribly and be prone to abuse, however, I think you should give it a shot.

    Especially in the UK, where it would probably be immensely successful.

    1. Agreed. If there was some sort of review of each person to ensure the ‘wrong kinda people’ weren’t abusing it, this could work really well. Especially in the UK seen as we’re not that big an island!

  5. Very good idea… Is there something where it wud allow ppl from same country to get to know ppl on here and stuff? For all you know might be some milkie friends nearby?

  6. no no no, too bad idea. People (boys) will get abused, threatened to be revealed and much more; you may end up in a police station explaining that it was just an “innocent” idea and the blog will most probably be closed. Sorry for my way but as you say, some things cannot be told otherwise :P

  7. By the way, I’d be more than happy to photograph felix and give him his birthday present (always with love). Many, Many kisses Felix!

  8. you could do it in a way of pairing up people via their ages (as harsh as that sounds) to stop any unwanted pedophiliac encounters some may have…

  9. I think it’s a fantastic idea!

    I work really hard to take as high-quality photos as I can, and I do appreciate, Josh, that you recognize that a lot of us do try. :-) The ones I like best I put on my Flickr or on the milkboard!

    That’s a great photo of Olly, btw.

    ♥ adam

  10. Heh… I’d like to avoid being raped.

    Not to be rude, I’m sure some people would have the best intentions (like my friend loljustin^-^) but others wouldn’t. I defiantly wouldn’t meet *anyone* except in a well lit public place (which might not be the best area for a photo anyway) and even then I’d be concerned.

      1. ino, they tell us to often to never use the internet for what it was created for (to communicate with those you dont know otherwise)

  11. If you’re over 18 and want to do the photographing, I suggest you insist that the milkboy’s parent or guardian be present during the entire shoot. That’s especially true in my dear proto-fascist homeland, the United States. Professional photographers here usually make that requirement when dealing with minors.

    1. I agree completely. I am willing to photograph anyone that would like to be photographed. If they are a minor i would insist on meeting them and at least one guardian prior to even shooting. With shooting i would want a guardian around because minors can make false accusations that endanger the photographer. Those that think the photographer is the predator, the model can also be a predator. If the model is not a minor i would insist on meeting the model beforehand if possible or conversing with the model. I feel keeping the model involved when applicable is appropriate. I’ve worked before with models of all ages and i’ve come across this way which works quite well. If any milkies are around western NY i can photograph them. I also travel so that’s another option.

      Josh, perhaps getting a list of photographers and to help with this would be beneficial.

  12. Equipment shouldn’t be a barrier. Most cellphone cams have fairly good optics…for example a recent band promo video for “The Dead Weather” was entirely filmed with a Nokia cellphone. The real problem is that most people just don’t have a good knowledge base in the media arts. Some due to lack of interest and also because many school systems have given up on education for the arts. To avoid all the predator concerns, you could have a site people send in their own pic files and someone could critique the style mood etc and give non-technical people brief, but useful upgrades to their skillset.

    1. As much as I like the idea, and can see it working well if various precautions are taken, I think what gdog suggests makes a lot of sense… I was also thinking along similar lines. As a photographer, I’ve worked with a range of cameras from $10 disposables to pro SLRs… Anyway, I guess my point is, if you have an idea about what you’re doing, most any camera will do the job. Sure, the more features you have, the more you can achieve, but only to a point. Then there is post-production work.

      So, I propose the milkboys Photography School. Well, online tutorial i guess. So a few of us put together our top tips for taking photos of yourself or others, and construct an online tutorial. Then, gdog’s ideas come into play, as we can critique any photos that boys send in. The aim of course to be critiquing the photo, not the boy. Happy to teach anyone photoshop stuff as well…

      Josh – there’s no saying your idea can’t work as well, i just wonder how many boys will feel comfortable with the whole meeting up with strangers thing. But if any do – I’ll happily volunteer to take photos of any kiwi guys…

      1. I love the idea and would be willing to contribute my photographing knowledge. To shoot a scene is not difficult but to photograph one is.

  13. As stated in a comment above, you should consider pair them by ages to avoid potential creeps.

  14. Though at first thought it sounds like it could be a cool idea but after some rethinking I decided it’s a horrible idea because some boys could be open to some serious abuse from some real creeps.

    No special screening you can do Josh can prevent a creep from getting his hands on some boys. Yes it’s possible this could work problem free but it’s also very possible something bad could happen and you don’t want that blood on your hands from setting this all up.

    Just sayin’

  15. Good idea with the a lot of possible abuse, I do have a lot of sites with the most cute boi, with not very good photos so it would be nice if someone take nicer pictures of them…

  16. Only time and experience will reveal the value of the suggestion – however – now that we know you receive lots and lots of photos of hot boys, and just until something better comes along, why not post those photos, indifferent quality notwithstanding, somewhere in the Board section? Title it “Rejects” and I guaranty you we will forgive you for any flaws we see in composition, lighting, or whatever. Just a (drooling) thought.

  17. If you are actually going to do something like this, maybe you would need some sort of background check system. That way you can make sure that there are no people with a criminal history, and if someone does something bad, you know where to find them. Even just asking the person to post real information might deter Uncle Creepy. And obviously you will need an approval system before sending anyone any info.

  18. On the subject of photography: There is a joke among the pro’s that f8 @ 1/60th is the best exposure for all photos. The reality is that most of the cheapie cameras in the film era were fixed at that spec. But if you took the most expensive SLR and just left it at f8 1/60, and used a practices picture-taker’s eye, you could indeed get some superlative images.

  19. A very attractive idea but it violates two internet safety rules.
    Don’t give out personal information such as home address and school.
    Don’t meet with people from the internet as they may not be who they say they are.
    I’m concerned with teens and kidsbeing encouraged to meet by this internet site. This is the wide open world here. Anybody can appear and pretend to be whoever they can fabricate the background. I’m well grown and have been stalked through my internet social contacts. As a retired spy it wasn’t a problem as they never got close to me before I realized they were hiding and not who they said they were. Still a weird feeling.
    I like this site and want to keep safe the young people who give it its essence. I’m not saying people shouldn’t meet, just that josh should think it through very well before he encourages it. I do hope many of us can become good friends but lets use our street smarts.
    I agree that it would be nice to see flawed pictures. Beauty is beauty whether it is in a museum, a blooming flower or a flawed picture.

    1. As a retired spy you’d be very well placed to appreciate that you can claim to be anyone or anything on the internet. As a highly decorated retired navy SEAL I would have to agree with you.

  20. I think this is an excellent idea! I’m UK based, and would be perfectly happy to stand in as a model, if anybody’s interested that is ^_^

  21. It can work if you think good about it.
    Better pictures everywhere and people can help each other with it.

  22. I agree with the above people … a good idea …. but I shudder at the idea how wrong this could become. The way to hell is paved with good intentions. Just think of it … if only one “photographer” turns out to be a rapist? I wouldn’t want to live with the guilt and the nightmares. Sorry to be so pessimistic.
    Maybe a database of under 18 people could be established. Let the kids (and the kids alone) have there fun. I’m sure there are enough teens who shoot good pictures.

  23. A nice idea but would need very careful policing, unfortunately, and as noshow says, it only needs one bad guy…. Meanwhile, a couple of tips. The model should ideally be lit by window light only, preferably away from direct sunlight. Use a white sheet as a reflector if necessary to bounce light onto the side away from the window. Avoid using flash especially if taking a pic in a mirror. Above all, have fun!

  24. As a professional snapper I would welcome more models but think the idea of openly contacting prospective models on here fraught with problems. Unless they were over 18 years of age. This is a real shame but society has demonised so many activities. Perhaps in more enlightened European countries it may be different. By the way- I think the snap you used as an example is terrific!

  25. I think this is a wonderful idea. I don’t think you need to have an FBI background check on someone if you are going to model for them. Just arrange to have someone you trust at the shoot. I hear a lot of fear and anxiety in the above comments. If I were 15 I’d do it. I never did fear people near as much as I did stupidity, particularly my own. By 18 I had lived in most of Europe and been all over the West and Near East. I used common sense when going it on my own and took a friend or someone I trusted.

    Oddly enough, the only time I was ever attacked was by a bf in my own home. After the Piraeus , Central Park after a good show (1am) and any number of dangerous places without incident, that was surprising.

    OH Im no photographer and not interested in actually meeting younger guys so this is all gratuitous. I would be glad to be a chaperone for anyone in the Denver area US. :)

  26. Shut the **** up! Your blog isn’t that artistic amazing. You destroyed it with that update, get a better design and I might agree with you.

  27. the main problem in such network might be that some would try to get a hold on youngsters, on sexual addicted topics. we have discuss oder discurse stratedy to avoid this, or rumors on this.

  28. @everyone who is concerned about rape & kidnapping: First of all you could just meet people around your own age who are obviously real (like regular posters on the board with genuine photos or people with YouTube videos) and if that’s not enough you can use occasions like YouTube gatherings or other events of that kind to meet with them to be completely safe.

  29. I´d love to help out, however I am afraid of the idea. I am a semi professional at photography and have a decent equipment, but I am already far from being a teen and it would look very strange for me to meet with teenagers. I could not stand the thought of being suspected to be a molester or something!

    If anyone needs some post-processing I can however offer assistance. From retouching unwanted skin lesions to de-noise or whatever. Just don´t expected it to be done instantly, I still have a life including a job :D

  30. Don’t do it, Josh. You’re asking for unwanted negative attention for this site.

    I do think that you should just post the “unusable” submissions you get somewhere on board.

  31. (Responding to original post)

    I love the idea. You would have to work out some way to weed out the trolls, but other than that there should be few problems.

    I look forward to seeing what comes of it. I doubt there are many of us in the south though :(

  32. I have to agree with the naysayers – too many /bad/ possible outcomes from these sort of meetings, too many complications that arise. Especially dealing with underage guys – even though they might be meeting other similar age guys – do you really want to become the middle-man for every meeting, relationship, friendship, breakup, argument, and other problem that arises? And yes, some major privacy / age / “outing” and other concerns for this sort of thing.

    Not to mention, it could easily turn into some sort of “hookup” thing – despite everyone’s claims of innocence, purity and ewww… how long until X decided lets not just take photos of each other?

    Anyway enough negative reaction. I’m sure it could work in the right situations, especially if people were already friendly and communicating with each other, but then they could just as easily do this with or without involving milkboys.

    I DO think a photo tips suggestion or forum or whatever would be a good idea.

    First Tip (my biggest pet peeve): PLEASE CLEAN THE BATHROOM MIRROR BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR SELF-PIC

    LOL

    :)

  33. I’m a semi-professional photographer and do a lot of photography in Hawaii in the winters. I do photography for families who come to Hawaii to surf. Surfing photography requires reasonably sophisticated equipment. But even so I would not be comfortable with hooking up on the internet to do photo shoots. It would be a great idea Josh if this were a different world – one where both stalking and gay bashing were non-existent.

  34. Bunch of my family members run one of the biggest channels on YouTube that targets photographers (mostly Nikoners). One guy is actually a high-profile-and-paying photography instructor and I think everyone’s questions should be answered by him directly. he does all of this stuff for free.

    http://www.youtube.com/lilkiwiguy87

    P.S. Yes, they’re gay too. =]

  35. actually sounds like a great idea, i’ve always thought my pictures were ok; just because theyre taken at night, no flash, and my trusty low energy bedside lamp! But, i’d love to get some proper photos done! And i know there are people around who’d love to get some photos, i’d model! So, nottingham area anyone?

    1. I’m in the Sheffield/Leeds area so just north of you if you can’t find anyone else. My deviantart name is scottiv if you wanna look at any pics I’ve taken so far :)

      1. hmmm, i hear you’ve been talking to callum aswell we should hold a double shoot! somewhere!

        1. Yeah he seems really kool :) I’m just after building up a portfolio of portraits as all I have at the mo is architecture and landscape. Drop me a message on deviantart and we can start talking if ya like?

  36. hahahahaha has anyone noticed that the ppl volunteering are only the ppl willing to photograph? i did only go down half a page so maybe ppl willing to be photographed started to comment…..

    1. I’m willing to be photographed too but i can already take photos of me; i know how to use a time delay and i take good photo’s already.

  37. Sounds like a good idea, being a minor and a photographer myself, I can see concerns on both sides. However, with some tweaking and allowing people to meet up at their own discretion, or pairing up teens with teens, adults with adults, etc. It might be a good way to avoid any legal problems. It would be a great way to expand portfolios, get to know the gay community, especially some of us minors who are unfortunately not around very many gays, and to be able just have fun.

  38. I think there is a way to do it without it being creepy. I’ve been a model and a photographer, and generally, as a model, I’m put at ease when the photographer can show me the other work he’s done. That way I usually know what to expect.

    I do think it’s important to talk and get to know one another a little before going into a photo session. That’s true even when both the model and photographer are adults, so it definitely should be true when one or both are minors. Because, even in my 20s, it can be a little unnerving to go to someone’s apartment for a shoot without having met or talked with them first.

    I’m in Minnesota, in the U.S., and I’m always looking for more photographers/models to work with here, but I’ve met photographers from elsewhere and gotten to know them, and I’ve ended up traveling to do some modeling, and the experience was great because we built up the relationship a bit first, so it wasn’t scary or nervous. :-)

    1. I don’t even know how someone would be able to use a model without knowing them a bit. I guess just glamour shots would be fine for that, but those are so boring. You have to do something the model likes.

  39. Great idea!
    Don’t ever do it Josh.
    Not of course for any of the totally paranoid comments above, but for the reason mentioned by OneNorth: you are asking to be the center of negative attention.
    Pity, but we live in a totally shit paranoid world.

    It’s really all nonesense this ‘internet protection’. If we really were so interested in protecting minors, we’d start by taking them away from their family. 95% of all rapes of minors take place there.
    It’s like putting a seatbelt on a kid in a car driven by his father at 200mph.

  40. I am taking photos in Texas… mainly black and white right now. I still use film.

    NoSpamMark@yahoo.com.

    Minors are welcomed to have chaparone.

    Examples can be provided. Tell me what town you are in, what kind of pics you are looking for, age, and a photo (prefer headshot, but body shot is OK) of you/

    Thanks.

  41. See I was with you until the last part. I agree that too many people don’t know how to make good photos and that many people who know how to make good photos could teach them, I just don’t support the idea of them meeting IRL. That would leave the effort wide open for abuse, not to mention alert the authorities.

    On the other hand, I think an internet “meeting place”, maybe a wiki site and a forum where people could exchange pointers and tips regarding self-photography would still be very useful.

  42. Oh-oh. . .Lot of paranoia out there, but then, there’s bound to be some unscrupulous dodgy ppl out there just wanting an ogle at a looker. . .

    (Quite like to be one myself, but I’ve never been much good at photographing people: spent too much of my professional life photographing things, I think. Trouble with people is they will keep moving about.)

    However, a couple of what should be obvious tips. Two things I keep noticing. Ppl will use a phonecam; bad idea all round as a rule.

    Then, you don’t take good pix of yourself shooting with a flashgun into a mirror; doesn’t matter how good the camera is, the result will be ‘orrible. (The correct focus is twice the distance between the object and the mirror, for a start.) Use a tripod and the timer (or, preferably, a remote cable or remote control from a computer). And forget the flash altogether unless you know about things like flash compensation, bounced flash, or wireless flash. . .

    And if you are going to model for anybody—clothed or not, doesn’t matter—make sure you read and sign, and change if you want, a printed form called a ‘model release’. Even if the photographer is a mate. I’m surprised no-one’s mentioned that. If you don’t know what a model release is, you can download proper legal copies from:

    http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Magazine/Downloads/Model-Release-Form

    That’s for the UK, and most of Europe, except France, I think; the French privacy rules are peculiar. (There, it seems, you need a legal agreement even for strangers in the street, pretty well. That’s meant I can’t put up one of my best pix anywhere except on my own wall.) Dunno abt the US, but the form shd be more or less the same. Don’t just take someone’s word that it’s OK, or “I’ll email one to you later” or stuff like that.

    If you’re not being paid, otherwise the photos belong to the photographer; they might well end up on a website that will embarrass you in ten years’ (or ten months!) time and a legal agreement of that kind is the only chance you will have of either stopping it or getting the pix removed.

    Alternatively, if you actually want yr pix on a porn site, then you also need control of the copyright, otherwise nobody will pay you a penny. . .

  43. Its a great idea, but in practice, and from my experience, you will have a lot of problems with ‘philes overstepping boundaries…

    I have taken such pictures, and can make a young man look really good. The way I would like to see it work is that we meet, take the pics, and I hand them the memory card..

    Sad to say, but I think the potential problems would outweigh the benefits. That being said, I would happily and safely take pics of anybody that I can connect with.

  44. brilliant idea, however it must be a priority that the photography does not turn pornographic.

  45. Even if this works out as perfectly as possible, even if only the right sort gets in and no mistake is ever made, it still boils down to gay minors connecting with people they don’t know through a blog that has….a reputation. Maybe you think that the boys’ parents aren’t a factor, because minors still have rights and all that, but that doesn’t change things in the real world. Parents ARE a factor, probably the most important factor in the boy’s life. All it takes is one clever parent with a kid involved to bring a sh*tstorm to your door, Josh.

    Well, I trust you’ll make the right decision, whatever it may be.

  46. Well this is a good idea and bad. I am a photographer myself in California. I have my own portfolio site with my own work. If you are truly looking for a photographer that is not going to take advantage of you try going to model mayhem. At modelmayhem.com there are tons of photographers willing to photograph other people to build their ports. Also try looking into your local art schools. The students always need models.

    I offer my services to any one in my area and I can back up what I do and references from other models.

  47. Several people mentioned deviantart.com which is a great place for learning about photography. My site is dynamicimagery.deviantart.com I’m not a portrait photographer – mostly nature and sports photography. There are safe ways to connect with good photographers but before you embark down that road see if you don’t have a friend with a decent camera and experiment a little. Taking a good photograph is not rocket science.

  48. I only have one concern for this. What if this doesn’t work out and it gets traced back here? They (government officials) will probably shut down the site and such. I don’t want to lose this site, or any of it’s affiliates. That was the only concern I had. Otherwise I think it’s a wonderful idea. :)

  49. I do get all the safeness and stuff but sometimes it can be soooo boring and alone… I see a lot of UK boys here any in London like me? :P

  50. I don’t know what the attitude is in Sweden but there is no way I would even approach parents to take pictures if their son (or daughter) here in the UK. You would be misunderstood due to the hysteria that pervades this country. Even when I was in Italy teaching, I had to get permission letters from parents to take photos of the kids.

    Anyway judging by the photo, Felix can fo a good enough job himself!

  51. I think this is a great idea, and I also think that many of you are far too paranoid. The system would be fine as long as it primarily put the power in the hands of the model. Just a simple database of the Photographers and their various details should not be an issue. Also, a set of ground rules such as photo releases, chaperones (preferably parent or legal guardian for a minor), public meeting locations, and strict guidelines about nudity/pornography would take care of a vast majority of the possible dangers.

    While not a pro at the moment, I am going into my senior year as a photo major at Southern Illinois University, and would be glad to photograph anyone within several hours (2 or 3 max) of Carbondale, IL.

    dgabriel@siu.edu

  52. Most people fairly serious about photography will already be on DeviantArt, Flickr, perhaps Tumblr, may well have a Facebook or YouTube presence, so making them quite traceable through their previous work.
    How many young guys (or girls) wanting to be photographed are traceable in such a way – or put it another way, how do I know I can trust them?
    Perhaps you’d need some system where people would have to show an active presence on the internet for say 1 or 2 years, so that both potential photographer and subject could get some idea about each other first.
    The article that started this thread mentioned Olly. I first came into contact with him through the internet, then met him at a couple of YouTube gatherings. Great guy.

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  54. I’d be really interested in getting this to work in a safe manner for all involved. I am a keen photographer, just graduated from University doing Film Production, so I have some decent gear to use and I would be somewhat willing to travel around the UK to help out the cause.

    I think the key to the success of something like this in the UK would be any of the photographers should get a CRB check, or Criminal Records Bureau check. These checks are standard requirements for any body in the UK who will be working with young or ‘at risk’ people such as the elderly before before being employed. Once the checks are completed, they last for two years and can be renewed fairly easily. Having a system like this in place would provide a level of government certified authenticity to the whole thing.

    If anyone would like to see any of the work I have done in both photography and film I have a DeviantArt account at http://infinity-1212.deviantart.com and my own personal website at http://www.jamesdpearson.com

    I may try and forward this to Josh, just in case this post doesn’t get noticed with it being a bit old now.

    James x

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