Chinese fashion photographer in Dior controversy apologizes

Chinese fashion photographer in Dior controversy apologizes

Beijing A famous Chinese fashion photographer has apologized for her previous work after online critics called it an insult to the Chinese people, and fashion house Dior removed one of her photos from a show in Shanghai.

Chen Man has acknowledged criticism of her previous work, including “Young Pioneers,” a series of photos of a young model with backgrounds of major landmarks such as China’s massive Three Gorges Dam or with an image of the country’s first lunar orbiter flying from underneath. her dress.

The criticism was reported by the state-owned Global Times, which said comments on social media described her work as “implicit child pornography and insulting to young pioneers,” the name of a Communist Party youth organization.

“I thought deeply and blamed myself for my naivety and ignorance at the time. Chen wrote this week on her social media account, I think I still have to formally apologize to everyone.


She wrote: “I am a Chinese born and bred, deeply in love with my motherland. I know, deeply, that as an artist, I have the responsibility to record and spread the culture of the Chinese people.”

She joined many Chinese and foreign celebrities, brands, and artists who publicly apologized after criticism of their work in the state media. Some were interrupted for refusing to apologise or if an apology was deemed insufficient.

Chen’s apology came more than a week after Dior was attacked for the photo at its Shanghai gallery, which depicts a model of Asian descent with tan skin, freckled skin and dark eyelids carrying a Dior bag.

Critics considered the image to contravene East Asian beauty standards for fair skin, and said it perpetuated Western stereotypes of Asian faces, such as slanting eyes.

At least one photo editor has praised her work in the past for creating an aesthetic that wasn’t Western or Japanese and South Korean magazines. And in 2019, the Global Times described Chen as China’s response to American photographer Annie Leibovitz, calling her a “shining star” with a unique perspective.


Dior removed the image, adding that it was part of an art project and not an advertisement. In a statement on its Chinese social media account, Dior said it “respects the feelings of the Chinese people” and “strictly adheres to Chinese laws and regulations.”

Other luxury brands have previously been embroiled in controversy in China. In 2018, Dolce & Gabbana’s ad sparked public outrage after the Asian model in the ad was directed to eat pasta, cannolis and pizza with a pair of chopsticks. The videos were later removed.

Chen’s social media posts said she accepted criticism of her work including that of a particular brand, but did not specify Dior.

The photo from the Shanghai fair was taken in a style similar to a series of covers that Chen did for British fashion magazine iD that featured 12 young Chinese women from different ethnic minorities. Many women didn’t fit into what had become a popular definition of beauty in China – some had small eyes, others had freckles.


Sixth Tone’s photo editor Ding Yining praised Chen’s work in a 2018 article for the state-backed English language features website.

“From her work, Chen appears to prefer models with narrow, one-lidded eyes and a sense of traditional East Asian elegance,” Ding wrote.

Chen told Sixth Tone that “as a professional visual artist, I believe I should help more people recognize the face of modern Chinese beauty with more confidence.”

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