Pennsylvania photographer Jennifer McKendrick probably had no idea how much attention she would generate when she took a stance against teen bullies in her town. But oh boy, did she do just that. And it's just that kind of attention that has folks in her town and elsewhere talking about teen bullies and how best to stop them.
Last week, McKendrick was scheduled to photograph four teen girls for the senior portraits when she stumbled upon a Facebook page on which the girls had commented. According to McKendrick, the sole purpose of the page was to "bully, ridicule and say mean and hurtful things about their classmates." Did McKendrick turn a blind eye? No way.
McKendrick called the girls out on their nastiness, sending an email to them (cc'd to their parents) cancelling their photo shoots while including screenshots of their comments to explain why she was calling off the sessions. She elaborated on her decision in her blog in a post entitled "I Won't Photograph Ugly People."
"I mean how could I spend two hours with someone during our session trying to make beautiful photos of them knowing they could do such UGLY things," McKendrick writes. "Realistically, I know by canceling their shoots it's not going to make them 'nicer people' but I refuse to let people like that represent my business."
The support for her decision has been overwhelming. To date, McKendrick's Facebook page has more than 17,000 "likes" and hundreds of comments from people applauding her decision to take a stance against teen bullying. McKendrick cost herself the fees of four photo shoots by sending that email, a decision that I'm sure was difficult for the fledgling photographer to make. But something tells me that she will recoup those costs 10-fold from folks who may have never heard of her before, but now will drive far and wide to get their pictures taken by such a famous photographer.
Hats off to you, Jennifer McKendrick. Thanks for reminding us all that we can stand up to teen bullying by simply not tolerating their behavior.