According to a recent Yahoo article, Shelbyville, Indiana based photographer Amy Haehl is drawing ire for including a replica gun in a recently released infant photo inspired by the perennial film A Christmas Story.
The photo features some of the most iconic props from the popular holiday film, including glasses, the pink bunny costume, and the leg lamp, but it was the baby-sized wooden gun replica that created the initial controversy. In a Facebook post, Haehl, who runs Coffee Creek Studios, wrote that she'd long wanted to create a photograph inspired by the beloved movie, and that staying true to the movie meant including the object of Ralphie's feverish Christmas desires.
“This photo is not about a baby posed with a 'gun'… it is about love, tradition, family, and happiness,” Haehl wrote on her Facebook page. “['A Christmas Story'] has encouraged smiles, laughter, and happiness for 35 years. It also happened to be filmed right here in the Midwest where I was born and raised."
Not all commenters agreed with Haehl's sentiments, however. According to a Fox News article, the following comments, left on the original Facebook post by unhappy users, have since been deleted.
Some Yahoo commenters also wondered whether the photo was in good taste considering the current political climate around firearms.
"I don't know. How can we think this is cute when again there is a massacre with kids involved. I just can't think this is cute."
After searching through comments sections on the news articles and original post, though, most comments seem to be highly supportive and encouraging. Even Haehl herself said, in her Facebook statement, "other than a few negative comments which is to be expected, there has been an overwhelmingly positive response to this photo and loved by many."
One wonders whether a few negative comments were worthy of the original article, and if articles of this kind are being written merely to create and take advantage of online knee-jerk outrage. What will this trend mean for photographers in the future, when a few negative comments can spawn several articles on large media outlets looking to take advantage of potential outrage? In this instance, it looks like a talented photographer is benefiting from the coverage and receiving loads of support, but how will such a trend affect photographers in the future? Will we see efforts at causing controversy merely for the potential press, or will photographers hold back from sharing images in fear of online reprisals?
Do you think the content of the photograph deserves critique? Do photographers have a responsibility to tip-toe around emotionally charged issues, or is our first duty to our own creative impulses whether it offends others or not? Sound off below.
Lead image used with permission of Amy Haehl