Use of a model’s likeness

We have had a query about the model’s rights with regard to publication of artworks made in their image. Note: this does not include photography. Photographic modelling requires use of a contract, in which all conditions for publication of the photographs are written and agreed to.

As a life model, we are being engaged for the use of our image. The artists are paying us for the privilege of looking upon us, and taking down a version in their artwork.

For some models, privacy is a concern, and they would like to remain anonymous. This is a valid concern. You can ask an artist not to use your real name in their work, and/or use a pseudonym. You can also ask an artist not to tag you or refer to you in their social media or other publication platforms.

It is not reasonable to ask that an artist restrict the use of their artwork (note: this is not applicable to photography). If an artist wants to exhibit, publish, or show their artwork which features you as the model, this is their right. Rights to use of the artwork remain with the artist.

There may be an exception where the artwork depicts you in a manner that is morally in conflict with your values – for example, if you are depicted committing an act of violence. Otherwise, the artist retains the right to use their artwork as they see fit.

If the possible publication of your likeness (drawn, sculpted, painted etc.) is of concern to you, you must make this concern known before you accept any booking. Life modelling for non-photographic artworks may not be a suitable profession for someone with this particular concern.

Please contact the committee if you would like to discuss.

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The Life Models' Society (LMS) is a collective of artists' models. We were formed in 1989 to provide a means for life models to get to know each other, and as a support group to standardise rates of pay and to improve our working conditions. Although we do not have the resources to act as a booking agency, we publish a list of available artists' models which is sent to all our subscribers, and updated several times a year.

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