A New Mexico firefighter is under fire after a photo — taken by a professional photographer — surfaced of his wife dressed in her husband’s PPE uniform, breastfeeding their child.
The Las Cruces firefighter is now facing the likelihood of unpaid leave after the picture was posted. When questioned by KFOX-TV about the investigation, the Las Cruces Fire Department spokesperson said it was a personnel matter and could not give out any information.
The image is part of a series by El Paso photographer Tara Ruby, whose photos featuring Fort Bliss soldiers breast-feeding in uniform went viral and gained international attention in September 2015.
“The intention has been since the very beginning to show that a mom can be a full-time mom and still work a full-time job and do both equally at the same time,” says Ruby. “I was mad for the mom and the husband she has that’s supporting her in this. It was never intended to be anything negative. It’s only […] supposed to be positive.”
Ruby says that she’s been given a lot of encouragement, despite some negative feedback.
“To think that support was instantly negative and to date, nobody has reached out to talk to me. If someone has an issue with a photo that I took or the meaning behind that photo, they should reach out and ask me. I don’t understand why this is happening,” Ruby said.
On Feb. 27, in response to the backlash, Ruby posted an update on her official Facebook page writing:
This portrait was made to show the power of a working mother, for all mothers that might be in the firefighting career field. I created this for that purpose and that purpose only. I can’t wait to create more portraits for this collection. Let me know if you have any ideas on other career fields that you would like to see a portrait like this created for!
The post has received more than 3,000 likes so far.