Published: 00:01, 09 July 2015
A mum has slammed a company for airbrushing her daughter’s birthmark out of a photo without her permission.
Lauren Holsten took 18-month-old Lexi to The Forum to have her photo taken dressed in vintage clothing.
But when she collected the images a few weeks later she noticed the tot’s strawberry naevus mark on her right cheek had been removed.
“It’s not that big to be fair but you can notice it," said Miss Holsten.
"It’s about the size of a five pence piece and it’s quite raised too. A lot of people look at it."
"Her dad once had someone ask him ‘what’s wrong with her?’ and I had a drunk person tell me I should be ashamed and disgusted of having a child like that. I just bawled my eyes out in front of him.
“I want people to be aware of strawberry naevus marks so my daughter doesn’t grow up thinking she is different.”
Upset, she returned to the shopping centre, along with Lexi’s dad Dylan Hudson, 20, to question a representative of Domingo Photography, which took the image.
“I was really upset and I cried. I’ve never experienced anything like that. The other company had never asked about it and never offered to airbrush it out" - Miss Holsten
Miss Holsten, also 20, of William Street, Sittingbourne, said: “I often have her pictures taken by another firm so I’ve got photos to look back on of her growing up, but I thought I would give this company ago.
"On the day they were taken nothing was mentioned about her birthmark and I didn’t mention it either because to me its normal.
“When I collected them I was with a friend and Lexi’s dad. The woman was rushing me and Lexi was running around so I only had a quick glimpse at them.
“I was on a train to Sheerness to meet a friend when I looked at the photos and thought ‘where the hell is the birthmark?’
“I could see it had been airbrushed out and it hadn’t been done very well.
“I was really upset and I cried. I’ve never experienced anything like that. The other company had never asked about it and never offered to airbrush it out. Even if they had I wouldn’t have it done because it wouldn’t look like her.
“When I spoke to the woman I stressed how upset and disgusted I was that a company would do that. She basically said she thought it was a ‘cut’ which it quite obviously isn’t.”
The single mum-of-one, who has since been sent the original images, chose to share her story to raise awareness of strawberry birthmarks, which are caused by a collection of blood vessels that form a lump under the skin.
Despite numerous attempts to contact Domingo Photography, nobody was available for comment.
A spokesman for The Forum said: “Following an investigation into the discrepancy between one of our shoppers and an external photography concession, I can confirm that the situation has been resolved.
“The business in question did not meet our high standards of customer service and will not be returning to shopping centre.”
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