Nude model sues college magazine over photographs

ILLINOIS — A nude figure model has sued ColumbiaCollege in Chicago and its student-run magazine claiming her privacy wasviolated when she was photographed for an article without providing her consent.Two photographs of the model posing for a life drawing class appeared inthe Winter/Spring 2003 edition of ECHO magazine in conjunction with anarticle about nude modeling. One depicts her from behind at the waist down. Theother photograph focuses on a student’s drawing with the model pictured in thebackground slightly out of focus.The model, identified in the lawsuitonly as “Jane Doe,” and the ECHO photojournalist, Brian Morowczynski,have starkly contrasting versions of their conversation in Professor Max KingCap’s life drawing class. Doe claims that Morowczynski said he would notphotograph her, while Morowczynski says that he explicitly asked if he could andshe provided consent.In the lawsuit, Doe said that she was posing nudefor King Cap’s class last fall when Morowczynski entered the classroom. She saidhe and King Cap approached her during a break, after she had clothed herself.According to Charles Lee Mudd Jr., Doe’s lawyer, Morowczynski asked ifhe could remain in the classroom to take photographs of the students, theirdrawings and the professor. “She asked, ‘You’re not going to takephotographs of me,’ and it was confirmed by the photographer,” Muddsaid.The lawsuit states that theclasses in which Doe has modeled have been “closed classes,” where only theprofessor and students registered for the class are present. Doe has modeled for Columbia College classes for more than eightyears and has been a figure model for more than 10.Doe saidthat she did give Morowczynski permission to stay in the classroom but not totake photographs of her.According to the lawsuit, Doe said she did notknow that photographs of her had been published in ECHO until she pickedup a copy in April, after the issue had already been on stands for twomonths.Fifteen thousand copies of ECHO magazine are distributedtwice a year on the Columbia College campus and in the surrounding area, and itis published on the Internet. “To her dismay and disbelief, Ms. Doefound herself portrayed nude in two prominent full-color, glossy photographs,”according to the lawsuit.She was further distressed that the articlecompared nude modeling to prostitution, her complaint says. “While nudemodeling is by no means related to the ‘oldest profession,’ it shares a fewcommon attributes,” the article reads. “One, practitioners must get naked formoney. Two, they’re been doing it for centuries.”Mudd, a privacy lawyerwho teaches at John Marshall Law School in Chicago, said that he understands theconstraints and limits that artists are under, but it was Morowczynski’sresponsibility to obtain Doe’s written consent before publishing the nudephotographs. “If someone photographs an individual and they appearprominently in the photo, and the photographer intends to publish the photo,they best ought to have the consent of the subject,” Mudd said. “Just as writtenjournalists have a burden to ensure the accuracy of what they’re reporting, sotoo should an obligation be put on photojournalists to obtain consent whereconsent is required.”Morowczynski gives a different version of theevents, which led to Doe’s suit. He said he contacted King Cap to ask if hecould photograph a nude model for ECHO. When Morowczynski arrived at theclass where Doe was modeling, he and King Cap approached Doe while she wasalready nude, and Morowczynski asked if he could photograph her, Morowczynskisaid.”I explicitly expressed that I was there to photograph her. I nevergave her the impression that I was there to photograph anyone but her,” he said.”She gave me her verbal consent to photograph her … When she made the verbalconsent, Max [King Cap] was present and in hearing distance, along with about 15students.”Morowczynski said that he then began to photograph Doe,starting from behind the model and working around toward her front side.”I was probably as close as 10 feet to her at some point during theshoot,” Morowczynski said. “I made no effort to conceal that I was photographingher.”Morowczynski said that he was in the classroom for about 30 minutesand then he thanked Doe and King Cap and left. He said he did not hear from Doeagain until the lawsuit.Morowczynski said that he is confident King Capheard Doe’s verbal agreement, but he is not sure whether the professor will backhim up. “I don’t think it would really be necessary to gain writtenpermission from Jane Doe to allow me to take the photos,” Morowczynski said.Doe is suing for the violation of her right to privacy, harmedreputation, loss of commercial gain, commercial loss, emotional distress andout-of-pocket expenses to cover the lawsuit.The lawsuit, filed in theCook County Circuit Court on June 4, names six defendants: Columbia College,ECHO magazine, Morowczynski, the student author of the article, JamieDegroot, and the two advisers to the journalism course in which ECHO isproduced, Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin and Lisa Jevens.Professor King Cap wasnot named in the suit because Doe believes that King Cap relied on Morowczynski”misrepresentations,” according to Mudd.King Cap did not respond to anemail asking for his reaction to the lawsuit.Columbia College has notyet been served with the lawsuit, according to Micki Leventhall, a spokespersonfor the school.”We have not had an opportunity to review the lawsuit sowe obviously can’t comment,” she said.Columbia will have 60 days torespond to the lawsuit once it has been served, according to Mudd.