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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk
Thread started 15 Jul 2017 (Saturday) 19:17
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How would you have dealt with this.

 
Colin ­ Glover
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Southport nr Liverpool United Kingdom
Post has been last edited 12 days ago by Colin Glover. 2 edits done in total.
Jul 15, 2017 19:17 |  #1

First up, I have Asperger syndrome. So I'm direct, and don't always realise when I cross the line, even unintentionally. So tonight was a free charity gig, a fundraising ball. I goofed big time.

I'm getting ready to photograph a group of 4 on the balcony. One girl (mid 20's) has a birthmark on her shoulder. 2.5 inch by 1.5 inch, and noticeable. Obvious, but not glaringly so. First thought was to get them to bunch in, hoping that the guy next her her would cover the mark and problem solved. That wasn't happening as the mark was still visible. So I politely, or so I thought, asked him to move over to cover the birthmark. Big mistake. I was accused of being insensitive and horrible. I apologised and then tried to explain that most women wouldn't have wanted it showing. Then I asked if she wanted me to shop it out. That was me being even more horrible and they thought I was deliberately being insensitive on purpose. So now I'm feeling awful. It was one of those wishing the ground would swallow me up moments. Turns out the guy, who I found out is one of the organisers, wasn't impressed at all.

So, 1). How out of order or insensitive was I? 2). How would you have handled it. It really upset me, that I upset someone that way, and that my Asperger Syndrome was responsible.

I guess I should have just took the picture and cloned out the mark.

Any advice on how to avoid this in the future is gratefully appreciated.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
That's my line!
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The Uwharrie Mts, NC
Jul 15, 2017 20:34 |  #2

Tough situation. I'm familiar with ASD stuff, of course we are all unique regardless.

There really isn't much you can do about it other than to apologize to the organizer, assuming you have his/their email I would send one out tonight or maybe tomorrow morning when you are fresh. I would not go into too many specifics about why you perceive and react differently. Maybe just one sentence that says you struggle with reading situations and responding according to social norms.

Assure them that you are truely sorry and have learned from the experience.

Do not make it long and wordy.

Ask that they forward the email to the woman and try to move forward with the work you need to complete.


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OhLook
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Jul 15, 2017 22:31 |  #3

Colin Glover wrote in post #18402925 (external link)
I politely, or so I thought, asked him to move over to cover the birthmark. Big mistake. I was accused of being insensitive and horrible.

At that point, they were at fault. Without having been there, I can only say that you probably came off as a little insensitive, and they overreacted. Just because some random people you encounter don't have Asperger's doesn't mean you can take them as models of perfect behavior in social situations.

A tendency to assume that others share one's beliefs and attitudes is so common (yes, among neurotypicals) that there's a name for it, the "false consensus effect." In this case, you assumed that the woman considered her birthmark abnormal or disfiguring, something to be hidden, because you thought she'd look better without it. If she minded it, she could have covered it with clothing or makeup.

I guess I should have just took the picture and cloned out the mark.

That can get you in trouble too, for the same reason.

Another option is to pose subjects differently, maybe have them face in another direction to make a three-quarter view so the shoulder is turned away from the camera, without saying why.


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texkam
"Just let me be a stupid photographer."
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Post has been edited 11 days ago by texkam.
Jul 15, 2017 23:27 |  #4

Did you consider that the girl feels the same way about her birthmark as you do about your Asperger syndrome; that it's who she is and it's nothing to hide? No, you didn't. Yes, you stepped in it. Hopefully, as mentioned above, a sincere apology and a contrite admission that this unfortunate incident has led to an epiphany on your part might be enough to earn you forgiveness and move the shoot to a positive conclusion.




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Archibald
You must be quackers!
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Jul 16, 2017 00:03 |  #5

Ugh. Sometimes things like this just happen. You blame your Asperger's, and maybe that was contributing, but I have done things like this too, and worse, and as far as I know, I don't have Asperger's.

You had no way of knowing how the group regarded the birthmark, and ended up saying the wrong thing.

Now, after everybody went home, you have no way of knowing how they feel. Maybe they regret overreacting - because they did overreact (and maybe they recalled moments when they screwed up)... on the other hand, maybe they are even madder.

So all you can do is apologize as others have already suggested, saying the minimum, because you don't know how your message will be received.

Really, I think most of us do unfortunate things at times, or perfectly reasonable things that are misinterpreted. You just can't predict the next such episode. Just take your losses and move on.


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john ­ crossley
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It's Grim Up North
Jul 16, 2017 01:13 |  #6

Well, if the young lady didn't try to conceal her birth mark, why should the photographer.
If somebody was overweight would you tell them that you could make them look slimmer with photoshop?


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Archibald
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Jul 16, 2017 01:33 |  #7

One good rule of thumb is to never make a comment about someone's body.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jul 16, 2017 03:56 |  #8

Colin Glover wrote in post #18402925 (external link)
1). How out of order or insensitive was I?
2). How would you have handled it. It really upset me, that I upset someone that way, and that my Asperger Syndrome was responsible.

I guess I should have just took the picture and cloned out the mark.

Any advice on how to avoid this in the future is gratefully appreciated.

1) Very.
2) I would have just taken the picture of people as they are. It's akin to asking someone to block someone else's face from a picture because you don't like the look of it.

Nope. You should have just taken the picture.

This isn't the first time you've had problems editing people to how you think they should look. There is your problem. Keep doing that and you are going to keep finding yourself in problematic situations.


Peter

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Colin ­ Glover
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Senior Member
Joined Aug 2012
Southport nr Liverpool United Kingdom
Jul 16, 2017 06:00 |  #9

Thanks for all your advice. I guess that as I'm a late diagnosis Asperger, I'm learning to adjust to try and be more "Normal" if that's the right word. So I'm always being told to be more aware of the little details and ensure that everything is as good as it can be. Plus, everything we as Aspergers do is learnt behaviour, so when you get women asking if you can take a picture so they look slimmer, coming to this situation 10 minutes later, the Asperger's brain over compensates and assumes that the subject will want to look their best. Couple that with the directness of being Aspergers and you see my point. Especially when one bride complained about looking too old last month, and I don't want to be criticized for not working around the problem. I guess that as folks said, I should have taken the photo and done nothing. Lesson learned. A good example would be Coke V Pepsi. If I offered Archibald a drink and he says "Coke", what do I do if they only sell Pepsi? Do I buy one and risk him not wanting it? Or do I leave it when he might have been OK with it? When I get one thing wrong then I tend to automatically try and compensate next time, and that can be just as bad.
In this situation I should only have acted if asked, and only then done or said something. I guess if a woman is concerned about how they look in a photo they'll tell me. Once again guys, thanks for your comments.


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OhLook
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Post has been edited 11 days ago by OhLook.
Jul 16, 2017 10:49 |  #10

Colin Glover wrote in post #18403164 (external link)
Plus, everything we as Aspergers do is learnt behaviour, so when you get women asking if you can take a picture so they look slimmer, coming to this situation 10 minutes later, the Asperger's brain over compensates and assumes that the subject will want to look their best.

The mistaken cognitive jump here goes from "Woman A wanted to look slimmer" to "Woman B disliked her birthmark." Overweight people may or may not be distressed by their width. Some who are distressed regard it as a temporary condition ("This waistline isn't really me. I'm going to lose those pounds"). The birthmark, however, has been with this woman forever. It's part of her permanent body image. If you try to hide it or remove it in PP, she can reasonably infer that you think it's ugly. She also has grounds for complaining that the picture doesn't look like herself. Similar variation exists in attitudes about moles and freckles.

You can ask men to straighten their ties or note that a bra strap has slipped off a shoulder (try to be discreet about this one). But don't ask subjects to take off their glasses just because you think glasses are unattractive.

I guess if a woman is concerned about how they look in a photo they'll tell me.

She might be concerned about having every hair in place in her expensive coiffure but be unconcerned about a birthmark.


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bpiper7
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Richmond Va.
Jul 16, 2017 11:53 |  #11

OhLook wrote in post #18403270 (external link)
The mistaken cognitive jump here goes from "Woman A wanted to look slimmer" to "Woman B disliked her birthmark." Overweight people may or may not be distressed by their width. Some who are distressed regard it as a temporary condition ("This waistline isn't really me. I'm going to lose those pounds"). The birthmark, however, has been with this woman forever. It's part of her permanent body image. If you try to hide it or remove it in PP, she can reasonably infer that you think it's ugly. She also has grounds for complaining that the picture doesn't look like herself. Similar variation exists in attitudes about moles and freckles.

You can ask men to straighten their ties or note that a bra strap has slipped off a shoulder (try to be discreet about this one). But don't ask subjects to take off their glasses just because you think glasses are unattractive.

She might be concerned about having every hair in place in her expensive coiffeure but be unconcerned about a birthmark.


This is an interesting discussion. Sorry for the OP's discomfiture.

But I'm curious, hypothetically what would you say to "de-emphasizing" the birthmark to some degree in post?

Same answer?


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
That's my line!
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Joined Jun 2011
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Jul 16, 2017 12:01 |  #12

bpiper7 wrote in post #18403307 (external link)
This is an interesting discussion. Sorry for the OP's discomfiture.

But I'm curious, hypothetically what would you say to "de-emphasizing" the birthmark to some degree in post?

Same answer?

when you take a picture of a bald guy, do you add a little hair to his head?


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DaviSto
... sorry. I got carried away!
Joined Nov 2016
Abuja Nigeria
Jul 16, 2017 12:03 |  #13

bpiper7 wrote in post #18403307 (external link)
This is an interesting discussion. Sorry for the OP's discomfiture.

But I'm curious, hypothetically what would you say to "de-emphasizing" the birthmark to some degree in post?

Same answer?

Yes ... very good question. One I have been thinking about.

My answer ... I would definitely have de-emphasized the birth-mark a little but not so much that it was obvious that I had done so. I think that would be exactly what the subject would have preferred. She 'owns' her birthmark but she doesn't 'proclaim' it.

I would also have taken the shot with the other shoulder forward and left it up to the group to figure out which they liked best.




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Wilt
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Post has been last edited 11 days ago by Wilt. 3 edits done in total.
Jul 16, 2017 12:06 |  #14

As in most cases, you cannot WIN in this situation, the woman will always make you wrong because you are wrong...no matter how you handled it, it will have been wrong.

 :p


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DaviSto
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Abuja Nigeria
Post has been edited 11 days ago by DaviSto.
Jul 16, 2017 12:15 |  #15

Wilt wrote in post #18403321 (external link)
As in most cases, you cannot WIN in this situation, the woman will always make you wrong because you are wrong...no matter how you handled it, it will have been wrong.

 :p

I detect a little weariness ... possibly reflecting experience.

But I will stick by my answer which still offers the most possible 'deniability' (maybe 'avoidability').
a) but your birthmark is barely noticeable;
b) you did not hide it, so I did not either ... but I can;
c) I think the group-shot as a whole works much better with the left shoulder forwards, don't you?
d) I use a third-party commercial retoucher ... I'll be having words with him/her.




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