Pennsylvania Photographer Weeds Out Bullies, Refuses to Photograph Them

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Jen McKendrick, a professional photographer who works in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania, declared on her web site this week that she has taken a stand and will not photograph “ugly people.” But wait a goshdarn second — she’s not talking about outer beauty — she’s talking about inner beauty. And after she happened upon several of her scheduled clients writing vicious comments about other students on Facebook, she decided that it was not going to be her job to make people who were ugly on the inside look beautiful on the outside. Even if it cost her business. (Spoiler alert: Business is doing fine!)

While she doesn’t say how she found these comments, McKendrick says that she found a page created by a high school senior, a girl with whom she was scheduled to have a two-hour photo session, trying to make her look as pretty as possible for her senior portrait. All while this girl and her friends were saying “vicious” things about other students on a Facebook page specifically created to bully other students.

“It was beyond ‘your clothes are ugly’ or ‘you don’t have any brand clothes’ or ‘you are ugly, your hair is not right.’ It was vicious. It was talking about sexuality,” McKendrick said.

McKendrick got screencaps of the comments on Facebook, emailed them to the girls and CCed them to their parents (“Oh SNAP,” as the kids would say), two of whom apologized for their daughters’ behavior. (All of their $212 deposits for their shoots were also fully refunded.) On her site and on her own Facebook page, she said she’s been prepared for a backlash, and apart from a tiny amount of exceptions, she has yet to receive one. (A couple of commenters say this is a bad business decision. They should really enlighten themselves to the powers of the Internet.) And while McKendrick knows she won’t be able to weed out every single bully, nor can she change the behavior of any bully, she can and will do what she can to keep a positive face on her business. She points out that as an independent business owner, she answers to no one but herself, and upon witnessing such an ugly display, she had to take control of her business’s image and reject something that she felt would represent her in a negative light.

And who wants to help a mean girl look pretty? Not Jen McKendrick.

So, if you are the parent of a student in Indiana County, Pennsylvania or its surrounding areas and you would like your children photographed by someone with a no-tolerance policy on bullying, allow us to direct you to Jen McKen Photography.

(photo from Jen McKen Photography)

(Jen McKen Photography via The Huffington Post)

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