On my quest for new models I had been using traditional sources, mainly the porn agencies in LA. Sometime in 1997 I stumbled across a primitive HTML designed website called Glamour Models.
Their tagline was “Fashion, beauty and figure models & photographers portfolios. Bringing models and photographers together”. Glamour Models was one of the first sites of it’s kind: A photography enthusiasts site but it was more like a social network with a little artistic nudity thrown in. It had a fun and engaging forum which was moderated by the site’s owner, a great guy named Dave Hall. He was a webmaster and a photographer. I hung around there for several years – it was very addictive.
Glamour Models also held photo shoots and seminars for photographers and models in interesting locations like old Western towns or beautiful mansions. The shoots ranged from fashion and glamour to bikini, lingerie and nude. I attended a few and found them fascinating.
One of the events I attended was a fashion / bikini shoot (non-nude). Some of the models were young teens, accompanied by a parent. It was held outside at a beautiful park with rolling green grass and ponds. I was sitting next to a mother watching her aspiring teenage daughter model a bikini. In front of the scantily clad teen was a bank of middle aged male photographers firing off photos in rapid succession. The models were paid by tips so the photographers would periodically drop money (or maybe candy?) in a jar adjacent to her. She strutted her body in a myriad of sexually provocative poses. Just about the time I was wondering if Mom might be concerned she yelled: “That a girl! Work it! Make that money!” Whoa, excuse me! Mom is grooming daughter to be a stripper! I suppose some of the Mothers at these events were the same child beauty pageant Mom’s we’ve all seen on Oprah.
Legitimately the Internet was now making it possible for models to seek out and get their own work – bypassing the one in a million chance of being discovered by one of the monopolistic modeling agencies. It was the start of a new cottage industry.
While Dave was the consummate professional who loved photography and the art of shooting the female form, there was a flip side: The gray area between legitimate photography professionals and pervs using his site to meet nude models. Conversely women could potentially exploit it for escorting or other less professional activities (which I found running rampant later when I moved to Hollywood) exposing inherent dangers for both parties .
As if I should talk. The first girl I ever contacted through Glamour Models I ended up having a relationship with for a year. She was a 24 year old Polish model named Dita. She had announced on the website that she would be coming to Los Angeles soon and if anybody wanted to book her for legit, non-nude and “implied nude” photo work – to contact her. Although I needed models who did full explicit nudes, I wrote her and we started talking. She asked if I could pick her up at Los Angeles Airport and I said yes.
On the date of her arrival I went to Los Angeles airport and waited outside of customs. I watched the passengers walk down the long corridor towards me on their last stretch into the United States. I waited as the procession became fewer and fewer people. Finally the hall was empty. She didn’t make the flight? Was she held up at customs? Had I been duped? I waited another 30 minutes before I saw a lone figure emerge. As my last hope came closer I could see it was a tall beautiful female. I stood up. She smiled and waved. It was a tall slender model looking Dita. She was stunning and exotic.
I drove Dita to her Aunt’s house which was located in a pretty bad part of L.A. In fact her Aunt told me the house next door had recently been firebombed. Within three days Dita was staying with me in Orange County.
Dita was a first for me on several levels. This was the first relationship I’d had since I separated with my wife a year earlier. It was my introduction to dating much younger women. She was 24 and I was 38. It was also my first of several relationships (and sporadic escapades) with girls in the industry or what I call . In other words, having a relationship due to one’s close proximity on a regular basis due to work or other factors. If you were stranded on a deserted island…you know, eventually something would happen. Even the least attractive of men have a chance when a woman is forced to get to know them. Finally this was also the beginning of my reputation as a safe harbor in a sea of sharks, something the adult industry coined derogatorily: “Captain Save a Ho“ (more on that later). I would eventually find myself in this position often. Although this was Dita’s first visit to America, she felt comfortable in asking me to pick her up at the airport instead of any one of the numerous photographers who had written her online. When she arrived I was immediately her tour guide of Los Angeles and Orange County. I also drove her to shoots and met with her photographers. If they had any nefarious intentions – they would be less likely to try anything when a guy dropped her off.
A few weeks into my new relationship, my wife suggested we go back to counseling once more to see if our marriage was salvageable. I drove to the therapists office with Dita in the car. During the session my wife told our female counselor: “Basically I was a bitch to Matt for the entire year leading up to our separation” I thought to myself: Wow! so it was as bad as I remember. I guess I’m not crazy after all! Shortly after those words came out of her mouth the therapist asked if I wanted to give our marriage another shot. A car salesmen once said to me: “Besides buying a home, a car is the most important decision you will ever make.” He was wrong about that. This was the most important decision I could make, something that demanded some time to think about. However there they were, waiting impatiently for my answer. On one shoulder was my wife confessing she had emotionally abused me for a year and on the other shoulder (waiting in my car) was a beautiful young Goddess, having daily sex with me – literally treating me like a king.
In a few moments I made a decision that would shape much of the rest of my life. If I were emotionally a more mature man I may have taken a different path, but I looked at the therapist and my wife and defiantly said “No”. I suppose I felt some revengeful satisfaction out of ending it when she was looking to me for some forgiveness. A shameful moment in my life.
To this day I have no idea if I made the right decision. I don’t know if my wife and I were meant to be together or not. I do know it might be hard to think clearly and objectively when you muddy the waters with a new “rebound” relationship. I’m sure I didn’t give counseling and my ex the chances they deserved.
I have to admit I was so enamored with Dita. As pathetic as it sounds I couldn’t believe I was in a relationship with such a beautiful young babe. I remember one night waking up next to her and just studying her perfectly designed face as she slept. I’m sure she was dreaming because she was smiling. How cute I thought. Then while I was admiring – she farted.
So much for fantasy.
Through the years I kept in periodic email contact with Dave Hall. In December 2015, I wrote him again. It had been 4 years since our last email exchange. I didn’t hear back. I rewrote him in January 2016. Again nothing. I revisited his site – it looked much like it did 19 years ago with that funky old design. I checked the Forum to see if Dave was actively moderating. There was a message:
I am sad to announce that Dave Hall, AKA GlamourModels.com has passed away this morning. This is truly a shock as I was extremely optimistic regarding his recovery. He was telling jokes and planning for his next big event all the way to the end. Many many people knew Dave from way back in the day. Myself included. He was one of the first photographers I ever met in person and he taught me a lot of what I know today.
In the last email I wrote to Dave Hall I had asked him if he knew of any locations to shoot outdoor nudes in L.A. His response:
I moved out here to shoot outside, but it’s wall to wall buildings and pavement out here. I shot once in Franklin Canyon in the north Beverly Hills area, but it’s a park on a mountain… and there can be people walking around. That’s about the only place I’ve ever found… but I don’t go out much looking any more.
Like many of the people I developed Internet relationships through the years, I never actually met Dave Hall in person. We had different trajectories using the same instrument – the camera. I believe he was a little embarrassed to publicly acknowledge he had anything to do with such a crass commercial porn photographer like me 🙂 (he once posted a funny audio clip directed at me of a guy saying “I guess that’s what you get when dealing in the flesh trade!”) but I am glad I found him. He was a purist and one of the unsung Internet pioneers.
As evidence from my last email from him, I’m sure he is walking around heaven looking for the perfect location to shoot.
Here’s to Dave Hall.