Exploiting real Black women wasn’t enough for this photographer, so he made some on his computer
Because Black models are scarce, right?
by Ari Bines
Just when I thought the world couldn't get any more racist and misogynistic, technology has found a way to exploit Black women for the profit of white dudes yet again.
London-based photographer Cameron James Wilson is computer generating a dark-skinned model in 3D, whom he calls Shudu. The reality is he's putting every aspiring model out of work (not that there was a lot for darker women in the first place), and it's making me furious.
So my skin is a trend now? Gottcha.
Wasn't awear skin and clothes are the same thing.
— Gabby (@you_wannabe_xo) February 28, 2018
This is just another example of colonialism
Wilson told Affinity that he saw a shift in popularity towards dark-skinned models, and used his 3D program to create Shudu. Maybe he was thinking about the ever-growing list of fashion controversies where white women have dressed in Blackface and African prints to appeal to the culture, so I suppose Wilson felt his creation of Shudu was the solution…? In actuality, this is just another roadblock for women of color trying to make their mark in modeling and the fashion industry as a whole.
Darker skinned models are routinely turned away for being "too deeply complected", and that's only when a Black woman can get her foot in the door period.
Basically, Wilson is saying that Black women are good enough to make him money, but not good enough to get paid. There's a word for this, you know….
I can't even put into words how wrong this is. Why is it so hard to just pay black women
— 🌸 (@ForDarkGirls) February 27, 2018
Wilson says he did it to represent the diversity of models of today, but by creating one of his own, he's gone against the idea of putting in the work to search for an actual dark-skinned model.
His 3D model is already Insta-famous
Shudu may not be real, but she's got more Instagram followers than you or I. Her 39,000 fans adore her, and many of them don't actually know she's fake.
Shudu isn't Wilson's only 3-D creation either. The London photographer also created a dark-skinned male model named Nfon as well.
The photographer has also created another digital model named Nfon. pic.twitter.com/NqcJNyROHS
— Affinity Magazine (@TheAffinityMag) February 27, 2018
It's going to change the fashion industry for the worst
Wilson's technology is a danger to the fashion industry because it's bound to give designers and fashion curators even more reason to turn models of color away. Not to mention we'll go back to seeing a lot less of them in ad campaigns.
Doing all of that instead of just paying a black woman to model… 😒😒😒 pic.twitter.com/jUGmzcn5n7
— Shonnia Burton (@shonnia21) February 27, 2018
This isn't a new idea, though. It's just the latest move for replacing people with tech, and it could ultimately eliminate the need for print modeling.
Not only will models have fewer gigs period, but they also could get paid way less for the shoots they do actually manage to snag. The same goes for makeup artists. If there are no actual faces to beat for the gawds, that's even more jobs down the drain.
And I have been trying to get scouted for modeling for years.. pic.twitter.com/NvG5J92sOx
— Hamdia Ahmed (@hamdia_ahmed) February 27, 2018
No matter your skin color or gender, this will fuck the industry's job prospects in every field. Perfect computer-simulated models mean no retouchers, no lighting experts, no seamstresses, and no producers. You can recreate an entire 20-person shoot with a few clicks of the mouse. And that should terrify you.
I don't know about you, but this photography is becoming a a real-life version of that terrible Disney movie Pixel Perfect with Ricky Ulman, and I'm genuinely scared for future aspiring models who want to pose for the camera for a living.