Friday, January 16, 2009

Demonstration at Saint-Germain des Prés

(12:00 PM edit) These people are demonstrating! What do they do for a living? They model. Who do they usually model for? The Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (a public fine arts school). Why are they angry? Because they are paid 11 € an hour and suffer bad working conditions (ie the cold!). They are not the first models to demonstrate: last December, the ones of Les Ateliers Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris protested the Paris town hall's decision to make tipping illegal as of October (before then, students would traditionally tip them at the end of a modeling session). Estimated loss: 200 € a month (some work 70 hours a week). I missed this desmonstration at the time, where they posed in their work outfit! Only in France...


  1. I'm assuming they don't wear those hazmat suits when they model...I really enjoy Parisian manifs. I saw one once wherein seemingly every taxi in the city converged on one square and parked, utterly blocking 5 or 6 streets. The drivers all got out and went into the cafes!

  2. You were right, Eric, this is an intriguing photo. I wonder why they changed the rules? How much is 200 Euros a month in relation to costs there? Is that a week of rent? or a trip to the grocery store? Just curious...

    PS. I'm glad you got this photo instead of their "work outfits"! :)

  3. Oh, for Pete's sake! The students should keep tipping them anyway. I've been an artists' model, and it can be quite hard work holding a difficult pose for a long time. And you can get pretty chilly standing around in your birthday suit! Right, Lois?
    Congrats on GF, Ange --

  4. My back would be killing me after about 10 minutes in this position! The other photo is quite an eyeful!

  5. They look like they are about to "tip" over. Is that the point of this pose?

    I agree with Alexa in that the student artists should tip them anyway. Illegal to tip - pffffft! How dare they interfere with this basic courtesy.

    Thx for the link to the first demonstration!

  6. How on earth have you managed to catch such a subject and take this picture, Eric? Incredible!
    Hopefully you don't need models for your sublime website, because if so, in a case of an unfair demonstration of silly models (...), I would be deprived so much that I can't even think of it...
    You are simply the best!! Hmmm what else?

  7. Hey hey you got a link to the nudies then? I'm glad. Yes that was quite a lot to take in and yes I clicked the photo. Why not? :) The ones in the white suits look good too.
    Shame about the loss of cash to these people. I think they should have walked along the street naked with people throwing their tips out in front of them on the path. Throwing their TIPS I said.

  8. I love it! Only in France indeed! Perhaps New York too, but definitely never around here. A photo and story that was well worth the wait!

  9. Tipping, illegal?!! What's the rationale behind that? Is it because they are considered "government employees?" (rolling eyes) Who cares if they get tipped anyway. Oh, let me guess, the weren't paying taxes on that?

    Meanwhile, Sarkozy is considering something similar to AirForce One, isn't he?

  10. Alexa, "Oh, for Pete's sake! The students should keep tipping them anyway." You crack me up! hahahaha "Right, Lois?" Absolutely Alexa!

    Soosha_q, Nope, not in NYC. When I posed for the Arts Students League in NYC, no tipping was permitted. That was a good idea Paris had, because the pay is very low, and I was a poor art student at the time. I can see why they would be upset with losing 200 € a month. What's happening to Paris; they are making everything that is good, illegal?

  11. What is the rationale behind the no tipping? Does an exhorbitant tip suggest something else is desired other than a merci for the modeling session. Why would the Paris town hall make it illegal? There is certainly something missing...besides their "work outfits." :-) Perhaps Lois or Alexa could explain.

  12. I have to believe they were cold during the December demonstration...? I think the income tax hypothesis holds weight. Just like wait staff here, nobody really reports the tips accurately on the tax form. I wonder: who gets punished for breaking the law--the models or the tipping students? Can you see the scene?

    "Ok, kid, how much did you give to this guy?"

    "Really officer, I didn't tip anything!"

    "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it before. What about you, pinkie? How much did you accept from the kid?"

    "Nothing. Nothing at all. I wouldn't take from a child!"

    "Ok, you're both going to jail."

    "Oh, no! My father won't pay my tuition if he finds out! Really, officer, it wasn't much..."

    "Shut up kid! Don't squeal to the cops! Keep your mouth shut and we'll be ok."

    Fade out and voiceover: There are a million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.

  13. "What about you, pinkie?"... "a million stories in the naked city" lol Jeff! That's one way to warm up in our blistering sub-zero temps. Merci bud!

  14. Only in France...that's so true. That's why I love this country. This new law is stupid. What is it for? Tomate got the point: "they weren't paying taxes on that? "? Exactly!!

    Fortunately, tipping in bars is still allowed (for now!!), and tonight I got enough to buy food for the whole week. So, go to hell Paris Town Hall!!

    The white clothes remind me the Stagiaires strike.
    The naked pictures are nice too. :)

  15. Jeff -- LOL indeed!

    Guille -- I'm happy for you, but wondering why you get to have tips (which you SHOULD, don't get me wrong) and these poor life models don't. C'est pas juste, quoi!
    (Aussi, the stagiaire's strike—ca s'agit de quoi, s'il te plait??)

  16. Je ne comprends pas. In many jobs where you don't make enough to live on, you accept tips to supplement your income. If the models can't receive tips, they should receive commensurate raises!

    Holding any physical position for a long time, even an easy one, is extremely difficult. I've never done art modeling but I've done print modeling and it can be tough.

    I love how you included the details of the architecture in the photo, Eric.

  17. I thought it might be a nice gesture for the students to drop some cash in a trash can sometime and then, at the end of the session, ask the models if they wouldn't mind taking out the trash.

  18. Eric this is great. I hadn't heard of it in the news, so PDP becomes better than France5 every day!

    I really don't know what to say. My first reaction was to jump in and leave a comment, but after reading all of the others, I'm now confused. I agree with Guille's real life example and bien sur, Tall Gary's proposed solution. I also agree with Lois "What's happening to Paris; they are making everything that is good, illegal?"

    On the other hand, after seeing poor people around the world just struggling to live, this protest all seems a bit foolish to me.

  19. Alexa, I was speaking of the trainees' strike, but I can't find in "demonstrations"...

    Michael, it's a matter of proportion. Of course it doesn't seem to be important compared to all the people living with low salaries, but if these people earn the SMIC too (less than 950 euros per month), 200 euros are non negligible... To me, it's not foolish.
    I don't especially want to speak about me but the tips I get allow me not to use my credit card for days.

    Tall Gary, I love your idea!

  20. My apologies to the demonstrators. I actually made a confusion between two different categories of models:
    - The ones paid by the Paris Town hall who used to receive tips
    - The ones paid by the Minister of Culture who never got any tip but complain because they are not paid enough.

    The ones in the photo belong to this second category. I just edited the caption.

    It's complicated...

  21. Well thanks for telling us Eric, so they need to be paid more! Danger money perhaps from the cold? Tall Gary's idea is excellent.
    Guille I'm glad you made some tips - tips are fab. They're also essential to some. I used to be very glad of tips as a young teen working in a hairdresser's. Without them, it wouldn't have been worth getting out of bed.

  22. Of course it is ;)
    But your apologies Eric? Are you kidding?
    I do trust models to feel much than happy by the interest you have given to their cause!
    Are they really demonstrating BTW or is it a way to attract attention ?

  23. Ok... Ok... I got confused about who is who... any way... I didn’t like the pict... but... let me said something... what is Paris without art and artist??? Lol... Tipping illegal?? Tell will be starving then... I like Art and Artist whats wrong if they received money from others?? Tax? with the money that they will received, are going to paid taxes when they buy something... The important thing here is the tourist money stays in Paris... one way or another will be in goverment hands... Isn't enough that Paris is soooo expensive?? LOL... too much explain.. I guess..

  24. Just one thing about tipping. Tipping is not illegal in general, only within public premises. I suppose this was meant to avoid the corruption of civil servants.

    For instance it's illegal to tip the guy behind the window at the post office!

    The Paris town hall considered that since these models work within a city (public) school they should follow the same rules. Which makes sense...

  25. Perhaps if they don't like the pay or the conditions they should consider getting a REAL job. Or do they do this solely because their one skill is allowing others to study their naked bodies? Just curious...

  26. Well it's all about making a reasonable living somehow or other, isn't it? Either you get a good pay and you pay tax on it, or your pay is poor and you complement with tips. But low pay and no tip just doesn't do it, eh?

    I loved the link to the earlier demonstration. Yes, only in France.

  27. BTW your glow-in-the-dark fluorescent Christmas tree yesterday is out of this world! Who would have it in their living room? Possibly someone who's in 1970's nostalgia and has orange sofas to match
    LOL !

  28. And WOW your Place de la Concorde ferris wheel at sunrise of 2 days ago is absolutely MAGIC!

  29. It does make sense, Eric.

    Becky, I'm sure there are many reasons for choosing to be an artist's model. I don't think voyeurism is prevalent here, however. Mostly, these are probably students themselves, just taking any work they can get to make ends meet. Times are tough.

  30. Becky -- It IS a real job. Unless you believe that the world doesn't need art or artists (who sometimes need models).
    Just speaking for myself: I'm about as far from being any kind of exhibitionist as you can get, was posing for a serious artist/sculptor, and living in Italy, where I didn't have a work permit (and my usual job skills didn't translate anyway).

  31. Pont Girl I just had to mention you over at mine - there's a house fit for a Duchess there. lol.

    Tipping a post office worker in the UK would be, well, not de rigeur shall we say, but I don't think illegal! There are lots of tipping habits to learn in England, for sure but it's usually about politeness and etiquette, rather than the law. Er..unless the police. You can't offer money to the police, clearly. ;)

  32. Becky, please define "real job". And please tell us how everyone can pick and choose whichever one they want.

  33. It seems to me that instead of complaining, they should be thankful that they have jobs.

  34. Oh give them the damn tips...a tip is at the discretion of the person who gives it. A couple of those guys could use a little extra money to buy a yogurt or a quiche or a good lunch. They look a bit underfed. Les pauvres!

  35. Or wine tonton! This is France after all and we have our priorities here. Or did I mean "whine"?

  36. Loved your response Petrea!

    Guille, don't take my comment the wrong way. I'd never stop tipping you no matter what the law...

  37. For instance it's illegal to tip the guy behind the window at the post office!

    No offense, Eric, but in many cases, who would want to?!! Of course, I suppose it depends on the post office and who is behind the counter, but still, in general, my personal experience with people working for government entities in Paris hasn't been the best, so I wouldn't tip.

    (By the way, I just saw Becky's comment. Becky, with all due respect, I think you're wrong about these models. I don't think they do it for ego. I believe they do it strictly to supplement their income, as one would, say, wait on tables in the States. Some people just don't feel bad about nudity, more power to them.)

  38. plus d'infos sur

  39. Becky, Oh my .. whatever possessed you to write such a comment?
    Your understanding of this situation seems to be outside your comprehension!!
    Next time it might favor you to understand a situation before you "comment"!
    From, an artist who NEEDED living models to truly learn how to draw the human body!!