Post # 1
I logged on to Facebook today and saw that a photographer whom I’ve know casually for many years–she’s always struck me as a darling–and whom we were thisclose to booking for our wedding posted a shot of her husband and herself that made me uncomfortable. They were dressed up as stereotypes of a culture that, to my knowledge, is not their own; many of their friends had “liked” the photo and commented about how funny it was, so I’m assuming there wasn’t a noble cause behind it. In fact, I have no idea what the context of the photos might be, but I can’t imagine an instance when it’s okay to appropriate, stereotype, and laugh at another group of people.
I’m going to write to tell her we’ve chosen another photographer, but I’d like help thinking of what to say if she asks why–this will probably seem abrupt considering the nature of our on-going emails. Actually, I guess, I would like to speak up regardless of whether she asks. It seems important, though, to phrase it to ensure the message is heard. I don’t want something to get lost in the tone. Thoughts?
Post # 3
Perhaps you should ask her what the picture is for before you cut her? It is possible that it’s something legitimate.
ETA: I dress up to match my SO’s culture all the time in full Saree, gold jewelry and mehndi (henna) and is never intended or taken as something disrespectful.
Post # 4
I think you can just say you’re going in a different direction or a different look and feel and be done with it. Or that you no longer think this is the right fit.
Post # 5
Maybe she has friends of that culture who dressed them up? You might be taking it out of context. My Darling Husband and I have pictures of us dressed up as Chinese royalty. They were taken while we were traveling in China – dressing up for pictures is something done at national monuments for fun there. So, we actually were partaking in the culture within an appropriate context. I’d hate to think that anyone would think we were actually making fun of the culture or being racist!
Post # 6
I think it’s completely fair that I might be making incorrect assumptions, and each of you are right to call me on that. I don’t want to provide too many details and potentially damage her reputation in case she or a friend of hers uses this site, but regardless of what the context actually is, it is clearly not a photo of them participating in a special tradition or ceremony. The comments certainly make it seem like it was supposed to garner a laugh.
Perhaps, since I can’t fully attest that the context was something other than 100% legitimate, it’s best just to email as lilbluebird suggested.
Post # 7
@RedHairing: Personally, as a photographer, I would appreciate knowing that something I posted was the reason I was losing a potential client. It might sting to hear it and I might try to justify my actions, but ultimately it would be a learning experience for me. Perception is what matters here, not what the actual intent was behind the photo.
Post # 8
@RedHairing: If you are worried about things getting lost in tone, I think a phone call is best. It is so easy to misconstrue the intended meaning of text. That being said, I think a simple “we’ve gone with a different professional” email is okay. The likelihood of her asking why is pretty slim, but if she does ask just be up front with her. I don’t think that the inappropriate photo making you uncomfortable is something you should bring up unless she asks, though. I just think that has the potential to blow nothing into something, I’d avoid it, especially because you don’t know the context of the photo. (I agree with you, though, that there’s never an okay time to mock another person or group of people.)
I’ll pass on a piece of (unsolicited) advice that my Maid/Matron of Honor gave me about picking a photographer. Your photographer is someone you will be spending your entire wedding day with. He or she will be there when you’re getting ready, walking down the aisle, saying “I do,” during your first dance, eating dinner – all day. This should be someone you want to spend your wedding day with. If you’re uncomfortable about this photographer now, think about how you may feel about her on the big day, is she someone you want to share it with? I hope that’s not too preachy, I just know I was really happy someone said that to me before we picked a photographer.