The face on Jen McKen’s site is open and happy. She looks like the kind of woman who would make a great friend, the kind you’d talk with for hours in a café, your laugh wrinkles deepening every time you got together.
She does not look like a radical activist. She looks like the woman she describes, boisterous and funny and so full of enthusiasm you have to smile just looking at her photograph.
But this photographer has backbone. Don’t bother asking her to turn her lens on you and your friends if you’re a bully. She knows photography. She could make you look fantastic, but she won’t. In fact, she does make people look fantastic. Take a look at Cassidy or some of the other high school seniors she has photographed.
But if you trash somebody on Facebook, don’t call Jen to book a session. She’s not coming. She means it. On August 16th she made it official by posting this on her Facebook page:
“If I’m wrong, please speak up. I came across a page on facebook that was created (by someone under a ficticious name) thats purpose is to bully, ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their class mates. While visiting the page, I found several teenage girls that have scheduled sessions with me for their senior pictures. I am emailing them tomorrow to cancel their shoots. I do not want them to represent my business and I am beside myself at how MEAN and CRUEL they were on that page.”
Then she blogged about it and wrote, “If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!”
The news went viral. Photographers, media, Facebook users, bloggers, and Tweeters tripped over each other to comment. Naturally there were a few grumps who took her to task for her stance, but most people praised her gumption.
She may think of herself as just an ordinary person, but most ordinary people sit back and swallow their discomfort instead of speaking out. And speaking out is what it takes to end any bad situation.
Jen McKen, you give me hope.