Model Trisha Kay Holton poses for photographer Glen Hertz at Marion Oaks Golf Course - photo courtesy Glen Hertz
(LIVINGSTON DAILY PRESS & ARGUS) - A recent photo shoot that allowed models to pose nude at the site of a former Livingston County golf course has a resident asking questions.
On Saturday, nearly 40 models and photographers gathered for a day of what organizer Rebecca Tremble called "portfolio building" at the former site of Marion Oaks Golf Course, comprising 230 acres on D-19 south of Howell in Marion Township. The property, just north of Parker Middle School and south of Interstate 96, is owned by the Van Gilder family.
"There are hundreds of opportunities for good photos out there," she said.
The group, called Lansing Exposure Group Shoot, abbreviated as L.E.G.S., seeks to help up-and-coming models network with photographers in a "safe environment," the Lansing woman said.
She and photographer Lewis Smith, also of Lansing, formed the group in 2009 on ModelMayhem.com, a portfolio website also for stylists, makeup artists and digital designers. It eventually expanded to Facebook.
"You do get weird photographers, and that's why we formed this group," she said. "But word does get around."
At the group's first event, organizers asked one photographer, whom Tremble said was "confronting a model in front of other models and photographers," to leave. It never "got physical," she said.
Howell-area resident Roland Tomlin came across the ModelMayhem.com listing for the shoot recently when looking online at aerial maps of the former golf course.
"How is this allowed in our county?" he asked in an email to the Daily Press & Argus. "... Did the township approve of this?"
Some - but not all - models posed nude Saturday inside buildings, such as the course's former clubhouse, or outdoors in areas not visible to the public, according to Tremble.
"We don't allow pornography," she said. "There isn't any exotic nudity.
"It's all done in a classical or artistic manner."
Southfield-based photographer Marc Beauregard said not all models posed nude.
"There were a lot of different things going on," he said. "We were doing fashion, glamor and artistic expression.
"Everybody was working within their comfort zone."
Beauregard, who has participated in other group shoots in the Toledo and Detroit areas, said he likes the creative challenge they present.
"The shoots happen in such a short time span compared to a full, dedicated shoot, and there tend to be a lot more unknown variables," he said. "Intuition and imagination play a crucial role."
Marion Township Supervisor Robert Hanvey said the municipality wasn't aware of the photo shoot.
"Our concern would be impact in the neighborhood, traffic issues or noise," he said. "In this situation, I don't know if there would be much of an impact."
Hanvey said he's not sure Saturday's use of the property qualifies under its agricultural tourism zoning district, but he doesn't have an "exhaustive list" of the criteria. Zoning Administrator Annette McNamara is out of the office this week, he said.
Fowlerville-area resident Martin Smith said he received permission to be on the property from owner Rick Van Gilder, for whom he works. He serves as location coordinator for L.E.G.S. Tremble said property owners are paid for land use from fees collected from participants.
Van Gilder did not return phone calls.
Tremble said the more informed people are, the better. She invites those who would like to observe the group's next shoot to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Livingston Daily Press & Argus