I didn't betray Bingle: photographer
April 2, 2007 - 8:25AM
The photographer responsible for nude snaps of Lara Bingle has defended himself from allegations made by the face of Australian tourism's management that he "betrayed" her by cashing in on the photographs.
Gavin O'Neill, one of Australia's most successful nude photographers, who has shot such celebrities as Penelope Cruz, Megan Gale and Tara Moss, told smh.com.au he was being blamed for the "mis-management" of her career.
"This shoot was done with the full knowledge and support of her agency who set up the initial meeting to discuss the shoot in the first place," O'Neill stated in an e-mail.
"So they are well aware of the exact purpose of publishing them in European magazines, as agreed, so I find it all a bit confusing as to why her agency would now slander me in the media, accusing me of cashing in."
On Friday, Bingle's manager Priscilla Leighton-Clark, owner of Priscilla Model Management in Potts Point, told smh.com.au the publishing of one of the photos on GQ Germany's website were a betrayal of trust.
"[O'Neill]'s cashing in. He has betrayed Lara and her family," she said.
"He lulled the family into a false sense of security."
O'Neill denied the accusations, stating he has the full support of Bingle and her family, as well as full copyright co-signed by Bingle.
"The images were shot when she was over 18 and fully able to make up her own mind, and will be published in europe in due time, as intended from the beginning," he stated.
Leighton-Clark said the photos were taken when Bingle was 17.
The photo has since been removed from the GQ website, replaced by a blurb: "Welcome to GQ Germany, Australia! It's always nice to have visitors from Down Under, but our servers were not prepared for this sudden rush. So our work here was done, before it even started. Cheers mates!"
According to O'Neill there are 14 photos of Bingle as a result of his photo shoot, of which three or four are nudes. They were originally taken for submission to the Italian GQ magazine, O'Neill stated but were postponed when Bingle got the Tourism Australia job.
He stated he currently has offers from "a few European magazines" to publish the whole selection, and said whether he sold the photos would be based on "the quality of the magazine and definitely not the amount of money" he would receive.
The nude photographs of Bingle - including one showing her sitting in a field of long grass, and another with her wearing pink silk sleeves with the ocean behind her - came to light last week.
Men's magazine Zoo Weekly revealed it would be using them in their defence of legal action brought by Bingle for defamation, misleading conduct and breach of copyright after the magazine used photographs of her in a bikini on a beach after she turned down their requests for a nude shoot.
Bingle said the spread defamed her by implying she consented to pose in a G-string bikini for a smutty men's magazine, was the sort of model who would invite readers to achieve sexual pleasure from her photographs; and was prepared to demean herself for money by being photographed scantily clad for a smutty men's magazine.
She also said Zoo engaged in misleading conduct by representing she had posed topless for the magazine and had said, "I'll make you come", words contained in a speech bubble on one of the photographs.
In response, the magazine's publisher, Emap Australia, said: "Emap rejects completely the allegations made by Lara Bingle and will defend this claim with the utmost vigour."
O'Neill told smh.com.au his photos of Bingle had no relevance to the court case. "The context of the magazine it was shot for is not based on cheapening and sexualising the model.
"European magazines are famous for celebrating and glorifying the women they feature, in a very tasteful and respectful way.
"[They] are good enough for almost every supermodel in the world to appear in o a regular basis," he stated.