Why you should only work with professionals, pt. 1

The above video was taken last month with my friend, Nicole. I recorded it for behind the scenes footage for my photo book Hey, Darling. I didn't think I was going to use it for a blog post such as this. What you saw was me asking Nicole if she would pull her jeans down to expose the side of her hips. She said no and we quickly moved on and continued shooting.

Why am I telling you this? I'm telling you this because last year a girl that I worked with made a blog post about me coercing her to shoot nude three times—and a lot of people ate it up. I recently missed out on a opportunity because a company didn't want any PR issues even though they believed her post to be fabricated. This makes me wonder how many people/brands wanted to work with me then decided not to after reading about it.

I find it the craziest thing that people will believe someone who wrote something on the internet without asking questions or caring to see the other side of the story. Then I realized I didn't post my side of the story. I didn't do this because I withheld some information that I wanted to use in court. During my consultation, my attorney told me it would be difficult to win. He say/she say doesn't hold up and what had happened is not much different than a bad Yelp review. "It's just part of doing business," he said.

So this is why I'm making this blog post—to tell my side of the story.

If you've been following me for awhile you probably know a little bit of what's going on. For those of you who don't, let me give you a brief summary: I worked with this girl three times during the start of my photography career. After I realized she was catching feelings for me (more on that later), I distanced myself. This is something she never mentioned in any of her posts, obviously.

Then 1.5 years after our third and final shoot, she goes to the internet and writes these negative things about me. She claims she had talked to me beforehand but I can tell you that this is not true. I had to talk to her first.

rebecca jurgensrebecca jurgensrebecca jurgens

Some of her accusations may not make sense to you and, frankly, they don't to me either. The girl she is referring to, Morgan, was someone I was seeing at the time. I gathered her statement from her in case I needed it in court. She told me I can forward anyone to her if they had any questions about her involvement that Rebecca put her in.

In the second screenshot, Rebecca brings up some points that I address, but let me reiterate. I'm friends with most of the models I photograph. We have stronger personal relationships than professional ones. So when I ask you if I can sell our images (e.g. my photo book), I have a good feeling you'll say yes because of our friendship. It's very, very unlikely I'll ask you if we are not friends or have not discussed it beforehand. Here's a model release from my most recent shoot. I don't need to tell them where I'm posting the photos nor compensate them. But there's no way I can get anyone to sign anything if I was secretive about it. What I tell them is it's for my book, selling it allows me to continue to do photography full-time, and I'll give them a digital copy when I'm done or if they want a physical copy, they can pay for the price it takes me to make it. I've also been known to buy burritos.

rebecca jurgens

The river I "made her" get in was cold and, yes, it wasn't discussed prior to the shoot. What was discussed, however, was that we'd drive around the mountains and find cool locations and shoot on the fly. So when I asked her if she would get in, she said yes as long as it didn't take long. I put my camera on burst mode and shot as much as I could in less than 30 seconds. It was so fast I ended up not liking any of the photos so I didn't use them. Photographers, don't ever let someone berate you because you won't post a photo you don't like.

Late last year I decided to live stream all of my shoots because of false accusations such as this. I'd mount my phone to the top of my camera and allow viewers to watch what I'm doing in real time. I told everyone that it was a good way to give my followers a look behind all of my shoots. When in reality it's because I was scared of something like this happening again. This time I would have definitive proof that it didn't. No one should be this paranoid about something they love doing.

And I feel that this is obvious but I'm going to hammer it out anyways. Just because I've taken photos of nude women (18 years old or older, mind you), doesn't mean I can't ever take a photo of a minor. That makes as much sense as me not allowed to take a landscape photo because I focus on portraits. When I shoot someone who is younger than 18, I make their parents very involved in the first couple shoots. Then at some point they trust me enough to even allow me to stay at their house when I'm visiting town. Like I said, I'm friends with most of the girls I photograph. Nothing strange or weird ever goes on so I feel awkward even having to discuss any of this.

Rebecca also said my apology was lousy and halfhearted...

Read part 2 here.


Further Reading

Morgan and Rebecca's conversation about the accusations.

Morgan and our mutual friend's conversation about the accusations.

My conversation with a friend that accompanied my first shoot with Rebecca.

I hope I have provided you with enough information to help shed light on this subject. There will be a part two if you're still skeptical. If that still doesn't do it for you, feel free to contact any model I've shot with to ask them about my character and how our shoot went. Honestly, please do. I'll also be answering any questions you may have on Twitter so questions and answers can easily be seen. 

It's very important to note that, for the first time, I've provided you with her first and last name, and social media accounts. Feel free to contact her for any questions on her part but DO NOT be disrespectful towards her. She's been on a personal vendetta against me but I'm not going to do the same for her. I fully expect her to make a new statement as well as other people who may come out of the woodworks for other stupid things. Believe I'm ready for those, too.


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  • Hey Mark, I had a very similar experience last year/this year.
    Same story, they didn’t get ALL the photos, one girl even wanted all my Raw shots because she felt entitled to them because she’s a photographer (5 shoots under her belt).
    Then the social media besmirching began, sexual predator etc (never touched a model, ever).. I also didn’t say my part of the story, didn’t feel i needed to, i just let it go and let it dissolve naturally. It’s part of the game man, girls afterwards get a little bee in their bonnet, and see a way to get attention..that’s how it is. Keep fighting the good fight man.. love your work.

    Jason on
  • This is the craziest shit I’ve ever read LOL! Does she still accuse you of all this bullshit even after you released those text messages to her and everyone else? She’s obviously just insanely jealous or looking to gain something out of this.

    Eric M Schroeder on

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