Federico Pignatelli: Redesigning The Fashion and Modeling Industry Through Photography and Bills of Rights
It’s not often that we get to speak to an industry legend so listen up! If you aren’t familiar with Federico Pignatelli, then you are about to get an earful today. Mr. Pignatelli is a world-renowned photographer and founder of The Industry Model Management. An agency he started after witnessing the unfair conditions models are expected to work in. Not only did he create an agency but pen to paper to create the Model’s Bill of Rights. This document is aimed at pointing out the offenders, and holding the standards much higher than they currently are for models. I had the chance to ask some questions about his career and his plans for the Bill of Rights:
Niara Jackson: How Did you get your start in photography?
Federico Pignatelli: Many years ago, while in Milano. My then girlfriend who was a model, couldn’t be happy enough with the pictures that professional photographers would take of her. So I challenged myself, and I succeeded in doing better than them and my passion grew from there, with many models asking me to take their pictures.
NJ: What actions or events occurred that prompted you to create the Models Bill of Rights?
FP: The modeling business needs to be regulated as it is currently prone to plenty of abuses. Owning an agency, The INDUSTRY Model Management, I decided to be one to stand for necessary change and make things happen. Over the years I heard plenty of complaints from models of other agencies about how they were taken advantage and exploited, so that gave me a strong motivation to take action.
(photographs by Federico Pignatelli above via @federico.pignatelli )
NJ: One thing mentioned in the Models Bill of Rights is "Not charging unreasonable fees while creating a hostile work environment." What type of fees could a model be charged?
FP: All kinds of unrealistic and abusive fees, from overcharges on test photoshoots, travel, model apartments or even website fees.
NJ: In most recent years, the fashion industry has attempted to be more inclusive when hiring models. Do you see the same effort being made when it comes to models’ rights?
FP: There is some effort by agencies in adapting, but way more needs to be done.
NJ: In a perfect world, how would you see the Models Bill of Rights applied? And what punishment would you see fit for any offenders?
FP: All Agencies should adopt the Bill of Rights, to regulate themselves and give a sense of security to the models. Offenders should be listed publicly as such and such be eventually excluded from operating in the business.
NJ: In what ways are you working to push this initiative to be an industry wide standard?
FP: Being an example with my own agency and constantly lobbying for others to join my effort and initiative.
Cover image via Rubenstein PR