As many of you know, the Japanese are big on picture-taking. Visit any tourist attraction within the country and abroad, and the point will be made. The more people into taking pictures means more people into building their own portfolios with more advanced equipment.
The otaku culture also has its roots in Japan and the meaning domestically is less about those loving all things anime, but having a strong passion for something. Now, take a camera-loving gentleman who may be single or in a relationship involving a cold bed and offer him an outlet to take photographs of cute, young Japanese women and the existence of Photography Clubs—or satsuekei which translates directly as 'Photography Events'--becomes apparent.
PC's are pretty bizarre and some border on the fine gray line of what is acceptable. Almost all agencies 'employ' (that is in quotes because the girls are almost certainly contractors on a pay-when-there-is-work system) young Japanese women who love being in front of the camera—which happens to be a sizable chunk of the population.
A site such as Fresh Club is a pretty solid example of what PC's are about. At first glance, it looks almost like a very casual hostess club. Reading the text, it's not about spending 'quality' time with a companion in a smoky room, but you and perhaps a few other people with photo bugs taking pictures of a 'model' in various environments and in various states of undress.
The issue of a gray area comes to light by how one takes the pictures and what the model is wearing. Sometimes angles become a bit too risque and clothing a bit too sheer or simply ceases to exist. Although some customers may be looking to build a legitimate portfolio for future paid assignments, a good deal of the customer base these PC's cater to just shoot for the joy of shooting cute girls.
As shown on the Fresh Club site, some of their models are OK with shooting in bikinis. It says so just beneath their photo. Others aren't and some don't even want their pictures published. From that point of view, working as a model for a PC is a pretty lucrative gig that can remain covert. It also pays well with an hourly pay ranging from 3000 to 9000 yen (approximately $30 – 90). Of course, you need to be popular and have people willing to sign up otherwise you'll just be another face on an overpopulated models listing...and of course, some models do agree to take part in special nude events...
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