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Hoosiers Offended By Wedding Photo

By Margaret Lyons in News on Aug 18, 2008 7:53PM

Officials for the Indiana State Fair win today's WTF award. The pulled this wedding photo (click to embiggen), which was the state contest's highest-scoring picture, because, according to fair officials, people complained about its content. You know, because it's a...married couple sitting? The hell?

Photographer Randy Baughn says he's as lost as we are. "I went to the fair last Thursday with my wife, and we went to the exhibit, and the print wasn't there," he tells us. Baughn says he asked a fair representative what happened to the picture, but only after pressing the guy—and saying that he took the photo in question—did Baughn get an answer. "He finally told me they were getting four to six complaints a day, people saying stuff like 'it's smut' or that they wouldn't bring their daughter to see it," Baughn says. That was the first he'd heard that anyone objected to the picture. "I see more leg square dancing," Baughn says. "I saw more muffin tops and cleavage walking around at the fair." Baughn identifies himself as a conservative Christian, which is why, he says, the uproar—especially in the comments on the Indy Star's website—is even more baffling.

"This has turned into a liberal vs. conservative issue, and I didn't expect it to go there," he says. "I've received dozens of e-mails and phone calls from people saying they support me, they support the photograph—but no one from the conservative right, which I think I am, felt compelled to [contact me]....People are saying there's no way I could love God, or no way a Christian could support makes my chest ache," he says. "I want to say, 'drop the bat! I'm on your team!'"

"It's a married couple that has affection for each other, showing how in love they are—I see things at wedding receptions every single weekend I find a lot more offensive," Baughn sighs. "If my daughter wants a photo like that on her wedding day, I'll take it," he says. "It's her husband!"

State fair rules allow complained-about photos to be removed at the organizers' discretion, and the picture was apparently rehung since the story ran in the Indy Star. [In the interest of disclosure, I know the reporter who wrote the Indy Star story.]