A Nampa woman entered three photos of her grandchildren into contests at the Western Idaho Fair — and one got rejected even before judging began.
The photo depicts Stacy Coleman’s daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, breastfeeding her baby, Brightlynn Loveleigh. Coleman took it last fall at the hospital.
“It was the baby eating for the first time. You couldn’t see any nipple, and she wasn’t naked,” said Coleman, a truck driver who was on the road Monday afternoon and spoke to the Statesman by phone. “I didn’t think anyone would be bothered by it. It wasn’t about the boob, it was about the baby.”
Because Coleman and her husband were out of town — they are truck-driving team — she had a friend drop her photo contest submissions off at the fairgrounds. She was dismayed at the text messages she received from her friend about the photo of Brightlynn Loveleigh.
“The guy who was putting the tags on them stopped when he looked at it. Then he said, ‘I don’t think we can allow this one,’” the friend said in text messages shared with the Statesman. “He talked with the other guy and a woman, and they all said, ‘No.’ They said they have to be cautious about any body parts. They handed it back to me. Sorry.”
Coleman said she called the fair to find out if she could enter the photo a week ago, and the woman she spoke with didn’t know. And she never heard back.
“It seems obvious that it’s a newborn nursing right after birth,” Coleman told the Statesman. “Nothing seems explicit.”
Becki Woodbury, a spokeswoman for the Western Idaho Fair, confirmed that the photo had been rejected under a “no nudity” rule.
“Any photo that shows any nudity at all, no matter the subject, is rejected,” Woodbury told the Statesman via email. “Appropriateness on nudity in photos can be subjective, therefore, the photography department takes a hard line on this rule.”
Coleman, an amateur photographer who submitted photos in fair contests for the first time this year, said she feels like the Western Idaho Fair is behind the times.
She said she breastfed all four of her children — and public breastfeeding is now legal in Idaho. Mothers in Idaho have the right to breastfeed in any public or private place they’re legally allowed to be.