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Friday, May 07, 2010


A couple of days ago, I got this weird e-mail totally out of the blue:
From: Jennifer Baumstadt []
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 5:02 PM
Subject: PAFA

Hi Melissa
I do coordination work for PAFA and we wanted to inquire as to your potential availability for live modeling for advanced drawing classes later this semester or perhaps early next.
Kindly let us know if this something you have done or do, and if the latter, whether you have any pertinent visuals you can e-mail us prior.
Thank you.
Jen Baumsuadt

I've never done art modeling before, but it's not something I'd be averse to - especially at the institute where, in 1886, Thomas Eakins was expelled for removing a (male) model's loincloth in a mixed drawing class. But that Lycos address made me scrunch my nose a little, even if the e-mail was copied to someone at PAFA. I replied, asking for clarification on "pertinent visuals" and the type of modeling involved.
From: Jennifer Baumstadt []
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2010 12:23 PM
To: Melissa Dunphy
Subject: Re: PAFA

sorry i did not get back to you sooner, as i am traveling in W. PA. We are glad of your interest. Don't worry about holding poses for extended periods, we have learnt from experience that for the models to do so can be straining and uncomfortable, so the instructors will definitely "move you around." But expressive poses would be great. You may want to look at as we use that extensively for ideas. If you click on the differing viewing angles you can get a good idea. We try and keep our models comfortable, especially as to studio temperatures, for obvious reasons. Our current hourly rate is $20-25.00, but sometimes I can get that adjusted upward a little.
Definitely send on some photographs/visuals that you may feel are pertinent to what we do. I will share them with our studio mgr. (if you don't mind) and she &/or myself will be back in touch with you certainly. thanks.

The plot thickens.

I have some revealing self portraits I shot for a photography course several years ago (Pro-tip: if you want to do well in a college photography course, get naked. Guaranteed instant A+. No questions.) but I've never digitized them, and I'd certainly never put them inside one of the interwebs tubes. To consider doing that required some rigorous investigation of legitimacy.

Recall that the first e-mail was cc'ed to A quick Google search revealed that must be Allison Syvertsen, the coordinator of educational programs at PAFA. Oh, wait. That's Syvertsen, with an E, not with an O. Alarm bells! I got on the phone to her, and whaddayaknow? She has never heard of this Jen person.

Someone was trying to scam naked pictures of me!

And in a fairly sophisticated manner!

I don't know whether to be outraged, amused, or flattered. Oh, my Internet, you are full of surprises even after all these years. How far you've come since "Tits or GTFO."

Click for Part 2!
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