6

I am a single mother working 2 jobs to provide for my 3yo daughter. I'm looking online for boyfriends and I met a man I would like to date.

This man has offered me money to take pictures of my daughter. He said it would just take one hour, he would set up in my basement and just take some pictures. And if I ever felt uncomfortable I could ask him to leave.

Sometimes I get the impression he's more interested in her than in me. But I think it is perhaps a good thing because I need someone that loves my daughter too.

I could really use the money, but I'm not sure if everything is okay about this. It gives me an uneasy feeling. This is such an unusual request. Could there be some other motivation, something I don't see or is he just a nice guy who wants to help my daughter and me?

He's getting impatient for my answer and I'm afraid he won't want to date me any more if I refuse.

  • Claudia, I have heavily edited your question. Could you please read it and say if I got your points correctly? – Stephie Nov 10 '15 at 16:49
  • 7
    Please contact your local police. (At least, this is what I'd recommend people to do in the UK.) – DanBeale Nov 12 '15 at 21:16
  • 3
    The basic answer echoes other commenters: This person you speak of is neither someone who is exhibiting good boyfriend traits, nor good photographer traits. Whatever the motivations of this person, (which we cannot guess and should not guess) it's not going to ultimately be productive nor positive for you or your child. Decline the offer. – dwoz Nov 12 '15 at 22:12
  • I strongly suggest you read this article! – Stephie Nov 14 '15 at 6:49
  • You NEED to call the police ASAP, they even may decide to (depending on the state) use this situation as a "bite" to catch him if he is a pedophile. – Caterpillaraoz Sep 6 '17 at 7:23
24

No. Just no.

I appreciate @anongoodnurse's attempt to give him every benefit of the doubt, but this situation is not anything close to professional. A professional photographer, or even a serious amateur, would tell you exactly how he plans to use the photos. He would have to ask you to sign a model release if he was going to use them for any kind of legitimate purpose, like a photo contest, advertising, or just to have in his portfolio for future use.

Further, his offer to pay you is another huge red flag. If he thought she's make a great model, again, his first approach would be "Have you considered entering little Susie in this talent search? I do a little photography on the side and would be glad to take some headshots for free," not "I'll give you money to take pictures of her."

This guy is not indicating that he loves your daughter or wants to be a father to her. He is attempting to commodotize her. Do not ask him to explain more about the pictures or his "business" or "hobby" as a photographer. What's to stop him from finding a photography business with a generic name and claiming that its website is his? How would you know all those cute, semi-professional pictures of kids he shows you didn't come from a stock photo site or Instagram? In fact, if I were in your place, I would not contact him again beyond a generic "I don't think this relationship is a good idea," and would not respond to any further attempts to contact me.

14

The question presents a number of 'red flags' which would make me immediately suggest that you walk away.

Even in the absolute best case scenario with your daughter, you haven't even established a relationship with him and he's already using emotional blackmail, taking advantage of your emotional state and unreasonably pressuring you to make a decision on something that you're clearly not comfortable with.

I wouldn't consider those healthy behaviours in any relationship, new or otherwise. Look at it this way - if one of your friends was in that situation, what advice would you give them? (I'm going to bet it's not 'give him what he wants'.)

As a photographer myself I've shot loads of pictures of kids, some of them I've recommended for modelling but I wouldn't be offering up cash to a stranger to set up in their basement, I might invite them to a studio for a 'time for print' session but it would be a strictly no-pressure ask. Throwing money at someone you don't know and then pressuring you to let them into their home to set up in a basement seems very wrong photographically speaking.

If you strongly feel that his interest is/was in your child and not you then I would contact your local police department. It may be nothing but they would rather investigate and find nothing; if nothing else they can give you background on how those who would seek to harm children operate in your area and specific things to look out for.

  • 2
    I'd second the suggestion to ask the police if they have any interest in this guy. Online predators don't get caught by people who just "walk away" (although walking away is the least that you should do). If he is harmless and not a predator, the police can figure that out but if nobody is willing to alert them to what a potential predator is doing that person may very well go on to victimize a child whose mother isn't as concerned as you are. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Nov 13 '15 at 18:52
3

Yes, there could be some other motivation. It's hard enough dealing with hidden motives of people you know well; trying to figure out the true motives of strangers you've met on the Internet is next to impossible.

I think you know how strange this is or you wouldn't have posted here.

The possible motives are almost innumerable.

If he is a professional photographer of children, and your daughter is such a beauty that the photographer is certain the combination of her looks and his talent with a camera will make his career take a new and amazing direction, that might certainly be one motive for wanting - even pressuring you - to allow him to take pictures of your daughter. However, this motive should be relatively easy to ascertain. Does he have a website with pictures of beautiful cherubs watermarked with his real legal name and his buisness.com address? Does he have a studio? (Why a basement? Is there something to hide?) Can he give you references from satisfied parents? If not, this is not likely his motive.

He may be an amateur photographer who wants to practice his hobby with a lovely model. That should also be easy to ascertain by looking at his online portfolio. Are there lots of good quality photographs? What does he specialize in: still lifes, landscapes, portraiture, architecture, basements, abandoned places, basements with children in them, what? How does your daughter fit into those categories?

In fact, looking at his portfolio might tell you a lot about this man's motives. Do be a sensibly harsh critic here: if he has an excessive number of mediocre photographs of children taken in basements, then he's not in it for the art of it.

The motive being hinted at in your question is pedophilia. One possible motive is that he wants to sexually exploit your daughter by taking pictures of her with the intent of distribution for money, or possibly only for his own use. (By the way, a parent who allows pictures to be taken for this reason risks prosecution.)

I understand money is tempting, and certainly if I were in desperate straits, I would probably think this was heaven-sent and I'd let my daughter be photographed for money. But I would, as you've stated, chaperone the session, and furthermore insist on the presence of, perhaps, a local off-duty vice squad member. If he's only interested in her as a subject of art, what can possibly be the objection? Money is money and art is art.

Finally, a person's interest in photographing your daughter in the basement doesn't necessarily translate to either good boyfriend material or good father-figure material. That has to be assessed in ways different from his interest in photography.

Did you do a criminal background check? It seems untrusting, but in this day and age... you can tell a lot about a person by doing so.

I hope this is helpful.

Internet-Facilitated Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Findings From a Nationally Representative Sample of Law Enforcement Agencies in the United States

protected by anongoodnurse Nov 10 '15 at 19:08

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.