Photographer Vanessa Hicks, got herself in hot water after a newborn photo she posted to her professional Facebook page went viral. The navy veteran who is also married to a military man says she never could have anticipated the backlash she got from the photo of another military father in uniform, holding his baby in an American flag. The online furore, she said, started from a Facebook page that attacked the photo for desecrating the American flag.
Naysayers criticised the photograpgher and her husband, and also the father whose name appears in the photo as seen above. Some insisted he needed to be disciplined or sacked. But Hicks stood up for her picture and called on her friends, fans, family, and anyone who loved the picture to defend it and share. Now, she may be making prints to sell of the photo, and she believes this is a win for those in military service who often give their lives in defence of the country, the flag and all it stands for.
If you can't read it above, Vanessa Hicks wrote on her Facebook page.
I posted a picture that I had recently taken of a military man holding his newborn son in a vinyl prop flag that I purchased at The Dollar Store. I love the shot. The family loves the shot. Most of you loved the shot.
Yesterday, I woke up to see this photo was shared on a group site that is meant to bash other photographers. It was in their opinion I had disrespected our nations flag. I had disrespected our country by taking this picture. Several of these people not only bashed the picture, but me, saying I should be ashamed of myself, my husband should be ashamed, etc and I received several private messages to my business page. They even took it a step farther and bashed the service member in the picture, hoping he gets in trouble for participating in desecration of the flag.
I am very well aware of our U.S Flag code. I also know exactly what desecration of a flag is. It's when you pull into ports and you see protestors with our flag and have spray painted horrible things on it. It's when you watch the news and you see other countries burning our flags, and you are a young Quartermaster scared because you know you are just a few nautical miles from that exact country.
I almost let these cyber bullies get me yesterday. I could have easily deleted the picture off of my business page and ended it with that. I almost did. Then I thought, WHY?
These cyber bullies would win!
So I went to the group and I stood up to them. I stood up for what I believed in! And you know what, so did so many others! A photography group saw the picture and agreed there was nothing disrespectful about it and went to the page and stood up for it. Friends, who I didn't even say anything to, somehow saw it and went and stood up for the picture.
The HONOR of the picture.
In the last 24 hours, the image has gone viral. From my business page, over 12,000 people have seen the image.
This morning, two local reporters have contacted me wanting to talk about this image and the affects of cyber bullying and pages like this.
I didn't ask for any of this. I just took a picture.
But, I stood up for the picture. To me, that is what being an American is about.
**I have been asked by many if they could share this picture and status and you sure can! I'm not doing this for any other reason except for every service member, including this one in this photo, who has wrapped in this flag that so many wanted to defend, the main thing he would fight for, his family. The men and woman in our military, they are the true heroes. Not me, I just took a stand.**
Photos via Facebook/VanessaHicks