PetaPixel

Photographer Refuses to Shoot People Who Are Too Ugly (On the Inside)

A Pennsylvania photographer named Jennifer McKendrick has caused quite a stir by canceling senior portrait sessions with a group of high school girls after discovering evidence of bullying by the teens on Facebook. While browsing Facebook, McKendrick came across a page containing nasty comments left by people whose names matched the ones on her client list, and subsequently cancelled the shoots. In a blog post titled “I Won’t Photograph Ugly People“, McKendrick writes,

This morning I sent out 4 emails to those clients while CC’ing in their parents explaining WHY I was canceling their shoots. I also included screen shots of the comments they made. They couldn’t deny it, I had the picture of what they said. I informed them that I’d be sending their deposits back and that they’d have to find another photographer. So far, I have received two emails back from their parents that claimed (I’m paraphrasing) they were shocked that this had happened. They apologized that their child acted in such a way and that they would deal with the matter. So far I haven’t received any backlash but I’m ready for it. I’m a small business owner and I have the luxury of making that decision. If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!

The post has already garnered hundreds of comments and tens of thousands of Facebook “Likes” supporting her decision to stand up against bullying.

I Won’t Photograph Ugly People (via HuffPo via Reddit)


 
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=821223738 Masharno Wolfe

    A very good decision on her part! Wondering how she ‘discovered’ the bullying though – were the screencaps floating around or something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=821223738 Masharno Wolfe

    A very good decision on her part! Wondering how she ‘discovered’ the bullying though – were the screencaps floating around or something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=821223738 Masharno Wolfe

    A very good decision on her part! Wondering how she ‘discovered’ the bullying though – were the screencaps floating around or something?

  • Nomis78

    Good on her, ill be honest if i was in her shoes and thought that i was running a business where i could afford to do this i would do the EXACT same thing

  • Nomis78

    Good on her, ill be honest if i was in her shoes and thought that i was running a business where i could afford to do this i would do the EXACT same thing

  • Jason Banks

    Great decision. 

  • http://twitter.com/zanf chris

    Sorry but this has been doing the rounds and she gives no evidence of the posts (like identity obfuscated screencaps) so I call fake.

  • Joshua

    I doubt she including screencaps that include the names and faces of underage girls for a reason.

  • Anonymous

    Bullying is behavior that shouldn’t be accepted, but I think this is outside her jurisdiction, so to speak.  I don’t think I like the idea of businesses reading posts online to decide if someone is a worthy customer.

  • Anonymous

    Bullying is behavior that shouldn’t be accepted, but I think this is outside her jurisdiction, so to speak.  I don’t think I like the idea of businesses reading posts online to decide if someone is a worthy customer.

  • lloyd -

    good move photo lady, stupid brat girls

  • ally

    so, you find it just too unbelievable that teen girls would ever post nasty messages, so it couldn’t possibly be true?

  • videoflyer

    Or, more to the point, you think she’d fake this up and cancel the gig because she simply doesn’t need the gig and thought that this would be an especially amusing way to not make money?

  • Fred

    @jdm8: Welcome to our new world! The solution is to not post stuff on the social media you don’t want the world to see.

  • http://twitter.com/delzey david elzey

    if you think this is invasive, there are businesses asking just-out-of-school applicants to access their facebook accounts during interviews to see how their potential employees present themselves online. refuse to show, sorry, no job.

    businesses have all kinds of reasons for wanting to know who they are interacting with, and the right to refuse service is a long-upheld policy among businesses. in this case, i’m with the photographer.

  • http://twitter.com/delzey david elzey

    if you think this is invasive, there are businesses asking just-out-of-school applicants to access their facebook accounts during interviews to see how their potential employees present themselves online. refuse to show, sorry, no job.

    businesses have all kinds of reasons for wanting to know who they are interacting with, and the right to refuse service is a long-upheld policy among businesses. in this case, i’m with the photographer.

  • Andreas Puhl

    Either that or just not be a bully in the first place, I agree.

  • Anonymous

    I would find that unacceptable as well.  I don’t really see where it’s the photographer’s business to do so.

  • Anonymous

    I would find that unacceptable as well.  I don’t really see where it’s the photographer’s business to do so.

  • Anonymous

    She could claim to not photograph “ugly on the inside” people and promote herself for the social media buzz.  So in reality, she might have made everything up.  It’s not like she actually has to cancel any gigs to fake a story like this.

  • Anonymous

    She could claim to not photograph “ugly on the inside” people and promote herself for the social media buzz.  So in reality, she might have made everything up.  It’s not like she actually has to cancel any gigs to fake a story like this.

  • Charles S

    It is her personal preference, it may not be right for you, but it is for her. . .

  • Anonymous

    OK, let’s take a different angle.  Would you feel comfortable if say, Best Buy looked up your internet activities?

  • Archie73in

    On that note, by doing what she did, she’s made it quite big on social networking sites and the media. Perhaps that’s what she intended by her actions (real or fake)

  • Slamwich

    I’m ok with it, since all I have to do is not be a mean person while being active on the internet.  In fact, I think it would be pretty great if Best Buy said “We’re not selling you this Xbox.  We’ve seen how you act like such a jerk when given anonymity online, and don’t feel like adding voice chat to your arsenal”.

    We’re talking about repercussions for people doing cruel things online.  An area where so many people feel more invincible and entitled to be rude and aggressive, because… what can anybody do about it?  It’s not like private information is being accessed or breached here.  We’re talking about things people are willingly posting to the world.  If all you are doing is talking about what you had for dinner, or how fun Troy’s kegger was the other night, nobody cares more than they did before, and there’s no effect.  If you are saying hateful, hurtful things to/about other people and being an all around terrible person, then finally there is a repercussion for that action.

    What horrors result from this?  People will have to stop being jerks online if they want goods and services?

  • Anonymous

    The “horrors” will happen when people start inserting other social or political agendas, and maybe agendas you don’t agree with.  Then you’ll start see the failings of nannying other people of whom it’s not really your business to nanny.

  • Slamwich

    I had assumed your question about Best Buy was in relation to if Best Buy took a similar approach as Jennifer did.

    i.e. if Best Buy is checking to see if you’re being a dick to other people, and if you are, then not selling you a product.

    Jennifer wasn’t inserting other social or political agendas.  She found a facebook group in/for her area with mean things in it, and she saw that she was scheduled to work with these girls that were saying mean things.  She didn’t care about their stance on the government, or what books they read.  She witnessed them being cruel and decided she wanted no part in it.

    She wasn’t nannying them either.  She didn’t tell them to stop bullying, nor does she expect them to stop.  But it is her business that she runs, and it is her choice as the business owner to deny service to those people due to their actions.  It’s like kicking noisy people out of a movie theatre.  When we used to do that, we didn’t say “You should behave better from now on”, we simply said “You aren’t welcome here if that’s how you choose to act”.

  • Slamwich

    I had assumed your question about Best Buy was in relation to if Best Buy took a similar approach as Jennifer did.

    i.e. if Best Buy is checking to see if you’re being a dick to other people, and if you are, then not selling you a product.

    Jennifer wasn’t inserting other social or political agendas.  She found a facebook group in/for her area with mean things in it, and she saw that she was scheduled to work with these girls that were saying mean things.  She didn’t care about their stance on the government, or what books they read.  She witnessed them being cruel and decided she wanted no part in it.

    She wasn’t nannying them either.  She didn’t tell them to stop bullying, nor does she expect them to stop.  But it is her business that she runs, and it is her choice as the business owner to deny service to those people due to their actions.  It’s like kicking noisy people out of a movie theatre.  When we used to do that, we didn’t say “You should behave better from now on”, we simply said “You aren’t welcome here if that’s how you choose to act”.

  • Slamwich

    If you wish to take the skeptical approach that’s fine, and you’re welcome to.  But even if that was her clever little endgoal, I’m much happier with a situation of “Woman refuses to work with people that are mean to others” becoming a big thing than “Dude chugs six beers and botches backflip”.

    Just the concept alone of somebody taking a stand against bullying and cruelty in an area where it’s so hard to control it is a great thing to bring attention.

  • Anonymous

    The Best Buy angle is because I wanted to know how much they want other people and businesses getting in their own private business.

    Stopping bullying is a social agenda.  If that wasn’t her social agenda, she wouldn’t be denying them services for being bullies.

    It is nannying, because she’s (supposedly) going out of her way to find out whether her customers are ne’erdowells in ways that have nothing to do with her photography businesses.

    This type of situation has nothing to do with kicking noisy people out of a theater.  It would be more apt to say you’re kicking people out of your theater for having been noisy somewhere else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174835197 Casey Myers

    Well I am sure there is a photog out there that loves to take pics of “Ugly” people!

  • Slamwich

    This wasn’t getting in to private business.  They were publicly posting in a group on facebook, hateful things about classmates for others to see.  This wasn’t sensitive personal information being breached and taken.  It was their open statements being witnessed.

    From reading the articles and her blog, it doesn’t indicate that she was going out of her way to find things out about her customers.  She was on facebook and found a local group created under a fake name where the purpose was to say mean things about classmates.  She read through some of them, and then noticed that some of the names were of upcoming clients.
    She wasn’t hunting down this information on them, or doing a background check.  She was surfing around on facebook, as many people do when they’re bored, she came across it, made a connection, and acted on it.  And she didn’t try to out the girls either.  She didn’t try to bring attention or hate towards them, she merely informed their parents that she would not work with them, and showed them specifically why.

    That “somewhere else” comparison works too, if you want to hammer it down.  The nightclubs in Darwin had a communication network between each other for outrageously drunk/disorderly patrons or repeat offenders on weekends.  If someone gets kicked out of a place like The Vic, and is wandering towards Discovery, the bouncers would call and give a heads up.  Those people wouldn’t get let into Discovery when they showed up, which made my shifts that much nicer.  It’s a system I support, because the message it sends is “If I do these things that should be universally accepted as bad things for a human to do, I won’t get have the same privileges available to me as people that behave.”  And before you try and say that’s crushing freedom or identity, I’m talking about “behave” in terms of no getting overly drunk and starting fights.  Not posting cruel hurtful things about others for the sole intent of making them feel worse about themselves.  

    If you are against someone making a statement in their personal area that results in a message of “People doing things that can be considered cruel or wrong in just about any human society will have certain opportunities or or services revoked for that behavior”, because you consider it a social agenda that has no place in her business, fine, that’s your deal.  But if Best Buy and other major retailers were set up so if they had determined with clear proof that someone was being an asshole and hurting others, they would not deal with that person, then people would probably have to stop being assholes if they wanted to get things.

  • Slamwich

    This wasn’t getting in to private business.  They were publicly posting in a group on facebook, hateful things about classmates for others to see.  This wasn’t sensitive personal information being breached and taken.  It was their open statements being witnessed.

    From reading the articles and her blog, it doesn’t indicate that she was going out of her way to find things out about her customers.  She was on facebook and found a local group created under a fake name where the purpose was to say mean things about classmates.  She read through some of them, and then noticed that some of the names were of upcoming clients.
    She wasn’t hunting down this information on them, or doing a background check.  She was surfing around on facebook, as many people do when they’re bored, she came across it, made a connection, and acted on it.  And she didn’t try to out the girls either.  She didn’t try to bring attention or hate towards them, she merely informed their parents that she would not work with them, and showed them specifically why.

    That “somewhere else” comparison works too, if you want to hammer it down.  The nightclubs in Darwin had a communication network between each other for outrageously drunk/disorderly patrons or repeat offenders on weekends.  If someone gets kicked out of a place like The Vic, and is wandering towards Discovery, the bouncers would call and give a heads up.  Those people wouldn’t get let into Discovery when they showed up, which made my shifts that much nicer.  It’s a system I support, because the message it sends is “If I do these things that should be universally accepted as bad things for a human to do, I won’t get have the same privileges available to me as people that behave.”  And before you try and say that’s crushing freedom or identity, I’m talking about “behave” in terms of no getting overly drunk and starting fights.  Not posting cruel hurtful things about others for the sole intent of making them feel worse about themselves.  

    If you are against someone making a statement in their personal area that results in a message of “People doing things that can be considered cruel or wrong in just about any human society will have certain opportunities or or services revoked for that behavior”, because you consider it a social agenda that has no place in her business, fine, that’s your deal.  But if Best Buy and other major retailers were set up so if they had determined with clear proof that someone was being an asshole and hurting others, they would not deal with that person, then people would probably have to stop being assholes if they wanted to get things.

  • Proscenia

    They are called paparazzi.

  • Proscenia

    They are called paparazzi.

  • Proscenia

    They are called paparazzi.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WMNADPBZJM2TOACRHA6MQE7IFA Kat Gallagher

    When our parents were children, and when we were children, our actions had consequences. If we were seen bullying another child and a business person observed it, he or she called our parents. You better believe there were repercussions when we arrived home. This is no different, only that it happened online. She observed bullying behavior by a group of children and called them on it. IMHO this should happen more often, it would make the world a more beautiful place. It takes a village to raise respectful, considerate people.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WMNADPBZJM2TOACRHA6MQE7IFA Kat Gallagher

    When our parents were children, and when we were children, our actions had consequences. If we were seen bullying another child and a business person observed it, he or she called our parents. You better believe there were repercussions when we arrived home. This is no different, only that it happened online. She observed bullying behavior by a group of children and called them on it. IMHO this should happen more often, it would make the world a more beautiful place. It takes a village to raise respectful, considerate people.

  • http://twitter.com/continually5 continually5

    She’s probably got a lot of friends on her page, including some of the people who are her clients.  This isn’t out of the ordinary.  The way Facebook works, is if you’re friends with someone who posts a comment anywhere publicly (either as an original comment or as a reply on someone else’s original comment), that comment could show up in your news feed.  That means, these girls who are bullies could either be her FB friend, or a friend of her FB friend, and their posts in this public group would have shown up in her feed.  That said, even if she wasn’t friends of these girls, if anyone she WAS friends with joined the group, she could have (out of curiosity), wanted to check it out.  I’ve done this before, too.  It’s not weird; it’s a way to find new interests on Facebook.  So, in doing that, she easily could have spotted people she had conversed with previously.  I know a few photographers, though I am not one myself, and many of them have numerous conversations with clients to get a feel for their personalities before their sessions.  It makes for much better work, and a much smoother session.  That’d mean she’s very familiar with these girls, knows their names without having to cross-check on a list, etc.

    I’ve seen a couple of places that she’s a wacko for stalking these girls, but there are really SO many possible, non-wacko reasons as to how she may have come across these hurtful comments.

  • http://twitter.com/continually5 continually5

    I don’t believe she was going out of her way to find out information about her customers.  I’ve stumbled upon a good number of comments left by my friends, or friends of my friends, that were posted in public groups (which, from the sounds of it, is what these girls were posting to).  That’s the way Facebook works.  If someone you know posts a comment or a reply on a comment to a public group, it shows up in your news feed.  Many photographers “friend” their clients on Facebook so it’s easy to converse with them and get to know them before sessions, to make for a more artful and accurate portrayal of a client’s personality, and for a smoother session.  This isn’t at all out of the ordinary.

    And, it’s very different from the Best Buy or movie theatre examples. No one in Best Buy or a movie theatre has to spend 2 hours in-person with you (and only you!), after numerous e-mails with you, and then has to spend hours editing the work they gathered during their time with you, with the goal of making you look more amazing than you really are. A theatre has, at most, 5 minutes of face-time with you, and no one at either places ever tries to make you look amazing. It’s completely different. It’d be more akin to an entertainment manager saying they can’t work for a particular actor/musician/sports figure for things they’ve publicly done. This happens ALL the time!

  • Kesima

    If she was sending around a post showing what the girls were saying to the general public she could end up with a law suit on her hands…  so she did the right thing and chose to send the screen capture only to the people involved….  not fake…  Smart!  

  • Faithfulsongbird

    Who you are when you are anonymous is really who you are. If you are nice anonymously, you are more than likely nice in person. If you are cruel anonymously, then you are more than likely cruel either in person, or behind someone’s back while being nice to their face. I can choose who I work with when I own my own business. If I choose not to work with a bunch of snot-nosed teenagers, I can make that decision. If I choose not to work with a grouchy senior citizen, that is my prerogative. It is called “Positive Peer Pressure” and it can work wonders if you let it!!

  • Faithfulsongbird

    Who you are when you are anonymous is really who you are. If you are nice anonymously, you are more than likely nice in person. If you are cruel anonymously, then you are more than likely cruel either in person, or behind someone’s back while being nice to their face. I can choose who I work with when I own my own business. If I choose not to work with a bunch of snot-nosed teenagers, I can make that decision. If I choose not to work with a grouchy senior citizen, that is my prerogative. It is called “Positive Peer Pressure” and it can work wonders if you let it!!

  • Faithfulsongbird

    Who you are when you are anonymous is really who you are. If you are nice anonymously, you are more than likely nice in person. If you are cruel anonymously, then you are more than likely cruel either in person, or behind someone’s back while being nice to their face. I can choose who I work with when I own my own business. If I choose not to work with a bunch of snot-nosed teenagers, I can make that decision. If I choose not to work with a grouchy senior citizen, that is my prerogative. It is called “Positive Peer Pressure” and it can work wonders if you let it!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_57JZIHDEU7733DVJM3SMKNV4PE Douche Criticism

    The problem is you’re taking one instance of a person’s online life and then judging their entire character by it. We may all do/say things things that we are not necessarily proud of, but there’s always a reason and one misstep does not a bad person make. Maybe these girls are having problems at home and taking it out on their classmates. Should someone should talk to them about it? Heck yes; parents, counselors, you name it. Does the problem have anything to do with this photographer? No. Reporting it was the right thing to do, but refusing their business is the definition of unprofessional. If you can’t separate your personal feelings from your work, you’re not going to do yourself or your future clients any favors.

  • Chris Pickrell

    Not that I’m criticizing her actions, I agree with them, but the problem with being a small business is the backlash may not be public. It may come in the form of less business.

    But kudos to her regardless.

  • Chris Pickrell

    In my experience, people will send a friend request before contacting for work. So it’s possible these people were on her friend list to begin with.

  • Chris Pickrell

    IF she were just defriending people, that’d be one thing. But she has every right to use the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule in her own business. It’s not invasive if it’s public, at least FB public.

    She’s not on patrol, stalking her clients. She saw some posts, and chose not to work with them, freelance photographers do it all the time. FB did not invent to practice. People don’t want to work with people who display bad attitudes. Or whose behaviors conflict with their reputation.

    This isn’t a new practice.

  • Chris Pickrell

    Your responses are bordering on making excuses to allow bad behavior. You need to stop. You’re making yourself look foolish.

  • Chris Pickrell

    No, your Best Buy analogy is reductio ad absurdem. You introduced the most extreme possibility and then formulated your argument based on that manufactured extreme scenario.

    The difference is, in your scenario you implied Best Buy would actively seek posts to refuse consumers. This person did no such thing. So not only is your premise absurd, but it’s not the same thing at all.

    And is bordering on paranoia.