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Chinese Photographer Apologises After 'Small Eyes' Dior Shoot Sparks Fury

By: Buzz Staff

News18.com

Last Updated: November 25, 2021, 13:23 IST

The image was later  taken down following the backlash. Credits: Twitter/ Carl Zha, Instagram/Chen Man

The image was later taken down following the backlash. Credits: Twitter/ Carl Zha, Instagram/Chen Man

Fashion photographer Chen Man has issued an apology after her photoshoot for Dior sparked outrage for its stereotypical depiction of Chinese women.

After pictures of a Chinese woman for the Lady Dior exhibition in Shanghai sparked outrage, the Beijing-based photographer Chen Man has apologised for the ‘small eyes’ shoot. The picture which showed a lady with narrow eyes was attacked for perpetuating stereotypical notions of Asian women from a Western gaze. A report in the Beijing Daily called the model who featured in the shoot as ‘sinister’ and ‘gloomy face’. The 41-year-old photographer said she was ‘ignorant’ and apologised for a few of her past works, too, as similar pictures taken by her in 2012 for i-D Magazine were also attacked. The image was subsequently taken down following the backlash from netizens and local media outlets. “I blame myself for my immaturity and ignorance [in my past works],” BBC quoted Chen in a statement released by her on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo. The French luxury brand also issued a statement on Weibo, “Dior, as always, respects the sentiments of the Chinese people… If any errors happen, [Dior] must be open to receiving feedback and correct them in time.” It also said that the piece was for art purpose and not meant for commercial advertising. However, not everyone agreed with the criticism. Some chipped in with supportive statements on why Chinese women with tiny eyes cannot be considered beautiful. Take a look at some reactions below.

The picture that courted controversy was first shown earlier this month at the French brand’s exhibition. The official newspaper of the All-China Women’s Federation, China Women’s News, termed the photograph with ‘swollen single eyelids’ as ‘uncomfortable’. While the Beijing Daily accused the photographer of ‘playing up to western aesthetics’ by portraying small eyes and freckles. Some users even said they would boycott Dior as it was an insulting depiction of how the west visualised Chinese women.

Chen, in her statement of apology, also blamed herself for the ‘immaturity’ and said that she had ‘reflected deeply’. She deeply loves her country and will strive to educate herself on Chinese history and ideologies to document it the right way through her work. She added that she realised the gravity of the criticism and had removed the content from her digital portfolio. Chen is a renowned fashion photographer who has worked with top magazines Vogue, Elle as well as celebrities like David Beckham.

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first published:November 25, 2021, 13:22 IST
last updated:November 25, 2021, 13:23 IST