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Photography News

Woman Fired After Body Positive Photo Set Goes Viral | The Consequences Of Expression

By Holly Roa on September 30th 2017

Social Media is the stage on which the dramas of our lives play out in 2017. Once a tidbit of information is unleashed, particularly if its privacy settings are “public,” all manner of twists and turns can be taken, and where what you’ve put out there ends up is anybody’s guess.

Recently, a shoot by Wolf & Rose Photography that can best be described as outdoor couples boudoir went viral as a promotion of body positivity, showcasing beauty with a body type less typically celebrated than what our senses are inundated with daily. The woman in the photos, Stephanie, is plus-size, and her scantily-clad figure entwined with her fiancé drew much applause from crowds weary of the same-old body type, and appreciative of representation.

[REWIND:] ‘BODY POSITIVE’ | IT’S MORE THAN A MOVEMENT, IT’S A REVOLUTION

Many people were enamored with the empowering set, unabashedly baring what is so often left covered to reveal a woman who reflects what so many see in their own mirrors. Fueled by these feelings, the set was shared like wildfire and ultimately was picked up by major media outlets like Huffington Post and was seen by millions of eyes.

Sadly, the social media roller coaster ride has taken an unpleasant dip – the unsuspecting heroine of body-positivity was subsequently fired from her job at Austin Bank Texas N.A, as a direct result of the viral photo shoot.

Of the situation, Stephanie told Buzzfeed,

”I gave over a year to a company that I worked really hard for and then to have them turn on me for doing something so positive, something that I was so proud of — to help myself as a woman — it was hurtful. People were pulling out their phones at work and showing the pictures and that was blamed on me.”

As a photographer, it gives pause when considering what to post on social media to promote one’s work. This particular scenario lurks in a grey area – no parties involved could have reasonably foreseen the extent that the photos would gain traction online, and arguably there are lasting positive consequences – though the job loss does dampen the triumphant feeling of seeing other varied body types elevated, it is still empowering to many women, and the photographer has received (and is still receiving) massive amounts of publicity over the ordeal. But Stephanie’s loss can’t be ignored as a real and unintended negative consequence.

[REWIND:] GETTY IMAGES NOW REQUIRES DISCLOSURE OF MODELS PHOTOSHOPPED TO LOOK THINNER

Per Wolf & Rose Photography’s Facebook page, Stephanie is pregnant and has just lost her insurance and maternity leave for what amounts to nothing. She’s “guilty” of nothing more than being a sexual female who doesn’t fit society’s mold of what is acceptable to show in a photograph. Albeit finance isn’t known to be a particularly free-spirited career path, there is really no reason to fire someone for something they’ve done on their own time that is harming no one.

Here’s hoping all the publicity helps Stephanie land before the eyes of an employer who is more appreciative of her as an individual and she ends up in a better place for it all.

About

Seattle based photographer with a side of videography, specializing in work involving animals, but basically a Jill of all trades.
Instagram: @HJRphotos

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter Freeman

    I don’t know what annoys me more, the invention of an imaginary term for an imagery issue, “body positive”, or the assumption the employer is wrong in their assement of the terms and conditions contract between them and their employee. She is naked in publicly exposed photographs. What makes anyone thing they know better?

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  2. Hagos Rush

    Okay,

    I have seen less clothes on women and men and have never seen it called offensive. Not every body in the world is perfectly shaped. And I too like Ron, fail to see what the heck is so “offensive” about these photos?

    Is it because the woman is plus sized? Also, employer…wtf? Last I checked you may want someone like this on your beat that actually reach the other half of the world (you know…plus sized). More money in your pocket and you as a company look like you represent humanity instead of perfection.

    #NothingWrongHere

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  3. Ron Waddell

    I don’t see anything offensive with the photos. How did they violate her employment agreement or offend her employer to the point they terminated her? Too many unanswered questions here…. 

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    • Ralph Hightower

      I don’t see anything offensive here either. She may be wearing a bikini, but topless. There’s no nudity in these photos that would offend anyone.

      However, Freedom of Speech has been in the news, and in the news before the presidential declarations of running in the primary.

      Freedom from Consequences is not a federally protected right. Just ask one of the “Duck Guys” from that A&E show.

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