Indiana photographer Amy Hael is drawing lots of attention these days, most of it good, but some of it critical. The reason for the spotlight? A photograph she took that features a baby sleeping with a wooden replica of a BB gun. The photo is obviously intended to evoke memories of the classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story, with the baby dressed in a pink bunny costume and wearing eyeglasses with black rims like the lead character in the movie.
Near the baby sits a leg lamp that looks very much like the one included in one of the movie’s most popular scenes. Some took offense at the image, however, and expressed their discomfort with the pairing of a baby with a firearm.
Hael posted the photo to the Facebook page for her photography company, Coffee Creek Studio, earlier this week. She included an announcement that only 49 days remained before Christmas and added a disclaimer the clarify that “Baby Ralphie” was not injured in any way as a result of the photo as the gun he’s shown holding is a wooden replica and not an actual gun. As reported by Fox News, however, the disclaimer did not go far enough for some who found it in bad taste.
Some expressed their anger with Hael and indicated they would go elsewhere for their photography needs.
“Will now unfollow you. Who the hell would take a picture of a baby and a gun just for money. Such a waste since you are so talented. Think hard about your lack of principles.”
Another described the photo as part of a “gun culture” that’s become mainstream.
“Also unfollowing and unliking you. Extremely distasteful…. Guns are never ‘cute’, not even as a prop or movie reference. Disgusting. The gun culture in this country is a disgrace.”
Hael offered her apologies for an offense that was taken and explained that was never her intent.
“This photo is in no way meant to encourage gun violence or offend anyone who has been affected by gun violence. This photo is not about a baby posed with a ‘gun’… it is about love, tradition, family, and happiness. [‘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.”
Others came to Hael’s defense and said they enjoyed the photo, adding that it had brought back fond memories of Christmases past and a classic holiday movie that has become a tradition in households across the country.