Dior and fashion photographer apologize for controversial photo

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French luxury brand Dior and Chinese fashion photographer Chen Man have apologized for the controversial photo of a Chinese woman that has since been removed from a Shanghai exhibit.

The apology: In a post on Weibo on Tuesday, Chen, 41, said that she reflected on the backlash she received in the past weeks and that she was “immature and ignorant,” according to South China Morning Post.

  • I am Chinese, born and raised, and I deeply love my motherland,” the photographer wrote. “I know as an art worker I need to shoulder the responsibility of recording and delivering Chinese culture, showing the Chinese beauty with my work. That is a goal I kept persisting in and want to work for.”
  • Similarly, Dior also issued an apology, saying the company took down the photo the moment it received online backlash. 
  • “We highly value people’s opinions, respect Chinese people’s feelings and strictly follow Chinese laws and regulations and will assist relative departments in evaluating all publicly displayed works,” Dior wrote.

The controversy: The exhibition photo that set off the controversy featured a freckled Chinese woman staring into the camera while holding a Dior bag. It was first put on display at the Lady Dior exhibition at the West Bund Art Center on Nov. 12 but was taken down on Nov. 23 following the backlash.

  • Many social media users were outraged by the photo, suggesting it perpetuated a Western stereotype of an Asian woman’s aesthetic.
  • Chen was previously called out for her 2008 photo series “Young Pioneer,” which was criticized for depicting an “overly sexualized” model next to pictures of Chinese landmarks, and again in 2012 for her photoshoot collaboration with Vice media’s i-D Magazine, Sup China reported.
  • Many took offense at Chen’s 12 i-D covers for the Chinese New Year, notably for her use of “spooky makeup” and the “slanted eyes” of the models, reminiscent of the concept she used for the Dior photo.

Featured Image via Beijing Daily

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