An Apology

*Now that Manuela and I are photographing special Celebrating Marriage sessions, I thought it might be a good idea to clarify some of the things written here.  The pictures I refer to in this post were not pictures meant solely for a husband, but pictures meant as publicity shots for an artist.  The inappropriateness of these pictures was not in the clothing choice or posing alone, but the clothing choice and posing as it pertained to the intended audience.  Portraits from our Celebrating Marriage sessions are intended only for husbands and wives to share, and are not displayed anywhere on our website or blog.

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As I go through the first stages of my life as a photographer, I am navigating through some difficult choices and having to make some difficult decisions. Photographers are often put in the unique situation of creating artwork that is based, not on the artist’s vision, but that of the subject. It’s a difficult path to tread and I’ve made some mistakes. I’m certain they wont be my last.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I am a Christian. You know that I keep the Old Testament Commandments. What you may not know is that I have what many might say is an “extreme” practice of modesty in my own personal life. I wear head coverings.  I don’t wear pants (except when on a photo shoot, in which case pants are a whole lot more modest when I’m crawling around in the dirt, chasing a two year old!) I keep the hem of my skirts below the ankle, and the sleeves of my shirts below the elbow. These are practices I have adopted in my own life, something I have felt led to do.

Why am I mentioning this? Because, as I said before, photography is an art form where the artist is not creating work according to his/her own vision, but that of the client. Family photographs are much different than wedding photographs, which are much different than “glamour shots.”

Lately, I am asking myself the question: How do I adopt the vision of my client without compromising my own convictions? I’m not saying that I shouldn’t photograph a woman in a tee-shirt and jeans, but could I shoot an ad for Victoria’s Secret? Obviously not.

As a dear friend wrote to me: “Photographers have a lot of power to direct the eyes and the mind. I think fundamentally, that we shouldn’t distribute pictures we wouldn’t hang up in our own home for our husbands and sons to see. A Christian shouldn’t distribute images that encourage men to lust.”

I apologize to all of you who have seen pictures of this type in my portfolio. I apologize for putting them out there for your husbands and sons to see. Above all, I apologize to my clients. *I* am the one who had responsibility for setting up the shots. *I* am the one who posed them in ways which were not wholesome. I have no excuse and I’m truly sorry to those of you who have been effected by my transgressions.

As I navigate this new territory, please forgive me if I make mistakes. Please forgive me if you look (or have looked) at my portfolio and have seen something inappropriate (and if this happens again in the future, I would appreciate you bringing your thoughts to me.) I will be praying as I muddle through this new experience and ask that your prayers be with me, too.

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This entry was posted in Femininity and Womanhood, Modesty, PERSONAL. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to An Apology

  1. Tracy says:

    Rina,
    It’s Brian. You must have gotten feedback on the picture of [describes picture.] This is going to be interesting to see what comes of this because the question that came to me was…..How is Rina going to think like a man? Because I know you. If its the picture I’m thinking of I know you weren’t thinking in a sexual content.
    You’re in a unique situation.
    Brian

    • Rina says:

      Brian, I’ve edited your comment a bit so as not to point fingers toward certain pictures or people. The subjects in these pictures were responding to my own direction and posing according to my own instructions and I don’t want anyone to cast blame on, or think badly of, those who are in the pictures I am apologizing for. The photos in question exhibit an extreme lapse of judgment on my part. Was I thinking in a “sexual” content when I took the pictures? I wish I could hide behind your kind comment and say “no.” I wish I could agree with you that I just wasn’t thinking “like a man” and I didn’t know there was anything wrong with them. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While I didn’t go into the shoot consciously thinking “lets make these sexy and lustful,” I did go into the shoot with a certain vision in mind – one that the world would identify with and appreciate. I can only say, by way of explanation, that sometimes my “old man” shows itself in unexpected ways. I didn’t write this apology because someone told me they were offended by the pictures. I wrote it because after I finished editing them and publishing them in my portfolio, I began to feel convicted regarding the sexual nature of some of them. I hold myself to a higher standard than this and an apology, though difficult, was necessary. I am sorry that you saw them, and sorry that others saw them. I am sorry for putting them out there. And I want people to understand that I’m still trying to figure out how to live out my convictions through this medium that has been such a blessing in my life. I pray and have confidence that God will continue to teach me, and if I stumble along the way, I pray that those of you who are my friends in Christ Jesus will hold me accountable and be willing to tell me if I’ve crossed a line.

  2. Tracy says:

    Rina,
    I almost said let me know if I can help but then again I won’t because I would be in more trouble than I could bargain for.
    Brian

  3. Mrs. Parunak says:

    Thank you for your sweet and humble apology and for being so sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You’re an inspiration!

  4. Tracy says:

    Rina and Mrs Parunak,
    From a humbled heart thank you for showing me a Godly way in which this situation was handled by the acknowledgement of the seriousness of it and acknowledgement from the outside.
    Brian

  5. Patti says:

    Rina, I obviously did not see what you are talking abt. I have never seen anything in your portfolio that is questionable. You need to remember though, no matter what you do, there is going to be someone out there who is going to see something bad in something you do. Satan works that way. I know a young girl who went to a church here in BG along time ago. She had little money and had gotten a job and bought new clothes. Her skirt was right at her knees not above. When she went in that Sunday morning, so excited to be able to worship in clothes that weren’t tattered or handmedowns, one of the deacons, pulled her over and told her she had to leave, because she was causing young men to lust. She left that church and never went to another and got into drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, etc. As far as I am concerned it was the deacon who was lusting, because there were other people with much less clothes on for the young men to lust after. As far as I am concerned, that man will have to account for what he did. Jesus wouldn’t turn her away. I’m not saying this because of your photography, but in that there will always be people who will criticize and be holier than thou. That doesn’t mean they are right. You have to trust what God puts in your heart and I know you will.

    • Rina says:

      Patti, I have taken the pictures in question out of my portfolio, so that’s why you haven’t seen them. As for people seeing something bad in what I do, there wasn’t anyone who said they were inappropriate (actually, there were a great deal of people who assured me that they WEREN’T), but after I published them in my portfolio, I began to feel convicted regarding the sexual nature of some of them. I agree with you, though, that there will always be someone who sees the negative in what we do, and I know it’s not always easy to stand our ground when facing that. I’m so sorry for the girl who had that experience with her church… that’s very sad and a reminder to me that we need to be careful in how we handle the perceived “sins” in others.

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