I’ve been photographing some of the students at the residential training events that I participate in for a number of years, and each weekend I put a slide-show together of the previous day’s images which we play as they arrive on the Sunday morning. I usually receive positive feedback, for whilst I don’t go out of my way to make anyone look bad, some of the expressions that I capture during the Saturday activities can be quite dramatic.
Aware of the sensitivities, particularly when working with multi-cultural groups I always offer people the chance to opt out of being photographed if they have any issues.
When I asked the question today I had one person in my group of nine who expressed this wish, though I was surprised at her reaction. She was a pretty and well-heeled Chinese girl, who I might stereotypically have expected to be keen to have her picture taken, and probably making the bunny ears “V” sign as I did so.
She went on to say that her reason was the pictures I had taken of her the previous day; a couple of candids of her reactions to a short video we shared with the whole group. One showed her looking slightly worried, and the second captured a moment of nervous laughter. (The video we showed was implying that the students would be required to build record breaking human tower). Not only did she not like the pictures, but she hated me!
All morning then I studiously averted my lens until I discovered later that she didn’t like them because she though they made her face look big. I’ve looked at them again this evening and all I see is a pretty girl with a little trepidation, but keen to please I had another go with her co-operation later this afternoon. Her name is Yumin, which unusually I’ve not been able to discover much about.
One website, which I have little confidence in, does say however that:
You are always looking for a chance to do your own thing, to be your own person, and to have things done your own way.