A Chinese fashion photographer whose pictures for French fashion brand Christian Dior sparked fury for ‘perpetuating racial stereotypes’ has apologised for her ‘immaturity and ignorance’.
Beijing-based photographer Chen Man shot an image showing a Chinese woman with ‘sinister’ small eyes and a ‘gloomy face’. according to critics, for the Lady Dior exhibition in Shanghai.
After furious backlash from internet users and Chinese publications, who claim the image perpetuates Western stereotypes of Asian faces, the image was swiftly removed from the exhibition.
The 41-year-old, who was also criticised on social media for a similar set of photographs shot for i-D Magazine in 2012, said she ‘formally apologises’ for some of her ‘past works’.
However, some commenters have stood up for the photographer, with one writing on Weibo: ‘Why can’t a Chinese woman with small eyes also be considered beautiful? I don’t see any problem with this.’
A Chinese fashion photographer shot an image (pictured) showing an Asian woman who critics say was portrayed as having ‘sinister’ small eyes and a ‘gloomy face’ for the Lady Dior exhibition in Shanghai
Taking to social media platform Weibo, Ms Chen said that she had ‘reflected deeply’ and ‘blames herself for my immaturity and ignorance at the time’.
Ms Chen said that she loves her country ‘deeply’ and that she wishes to portray ‘Chinese national culture and show the beauty of China’ through her photographs.
The photographer said she was ‘deeply aware’ of the seriousness of her criticisms and that she has removed the ‘relevant content’ from her online portfolio.
Ms Chen is a successful fashion photographer in China and has worked with with major brands worldwide and has shot for fashion magazines Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire.
After furious backlash from internet users and Chinese publications, Beijing-based photographer Chen Man (pictured in 2014) has ‘formally apolagised’ for some of her ‘past works’
The photographer, who has two children with husband Raphael Ming Cooper, runs her own high-end production company Studio 6, working across China and Los Angeles, which she founded in 2008.
The image was first displayed earlier this month, quickly sparking a backlash from internet users and local newspapers who said it was a ‘prejudiced’ image.
China Women’s News, the official newspaper of the All-China Women’s Federation, said the image was ‘extremely uncomfortable’.
‘Granted, there is no one standard of beauty, and there are differences in aesthetics between China and the west, but in the eyes of some foreigners, a pancake face, squinting eyes, a flat nose and high cheekbones are the forever symbols of “Asian women”,’ the paper said.
Ms Chen, pictured in 2017, is a successful fashion photographer in China and has worked with with major brands worldwide and has shot for fashion magazines Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire
The photographer, pictured with late German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in 2016, runs her own high-end production company Studio 6, working across China and Los Angeles
‘It is they who forget that beauty comes in many forms. Why is it that, in the works of some photographers, in the adverts of some foreign brands, there is only the stereotypical aesthetics of the netherworld?’
Meanwhile the Beijing Daily accused the photographer of portraying the model with a ‘gloomy face’ and sinister eyes’ in an editorial.
‘The photographer is playing up to the brands, or the aesthetic tastes of the western world’, the paper stated.
‘For years, Asian women have always appeared with small eyes and freckles from the Western perspective, but the Chinese way to appreciate art and beauty can’t be distorted by that.’
However some social media users have defended the photographer, with one user writing: ‘Chen Man is one of my favorite fashion photographer. Love most of her art works’
However some social media users have defended the photographer, with one user writing: ‘Chen Man is one of my favorite fashion photographer. Love most of her art works. Awesome and extraordinary. Can’t understand ‘ppl’ digging her old portfolios to ‘cancel culture’ her’.
Another commented: ‘lmao wtf? So what they actually mad about is that Chen Man chose women who are not part of the actual beauty standard. Yup she chose women that many people think are ugly and also get very creative with their makeup. And what about it? If they don’t understand art, ain’t her fault.’
According to the BBC, the fashion house said in a statement shared to its Weibo account: ‘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’ and claimed the picture was an artwork and not a commercial advertisement.
MailOnline has contacted Dior for comment.