Happy Monday all! Over the weekend something interesting was brought to my attention concerning using the flag for photography purposes. I have seen the photographs with it used as a background, or with a baby wrapped in it, and even for boudoir with the lady wearing nothing but the flag. Of course being a military spouse and a proud American, I have always admired the photos that were patriotic, but never really took the time to think about the way the flag is suppose to be used and what the "Flag Code" states is appropriate. I was inspired to “spread the word” about what I discovered. Here are a just a few details to keep in mind.
(These facts are from www.ushistory.org and are taken from the Flag Code.)
1) No disrespect should be shown to the flag. Publicly mutilating, trampling, defacing, defiling, defying or casting contempt, either by words or by act, upon the flag is never tolerable.
2) The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.
3) A flag is a flag or anything by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag.
4) The flag is never to be used for advertising purposes.
5) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor any part of it, nor attached it to any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
6) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel.
7) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, including the ground.
Also, I think it important to note “the Flag Code serves as a guide to be followed on a purely voluntary basis to insure proper respect for the flag. The Supreme Court has ruled that politically motivated violations of the Flag Code are protected by the First Amendment. The Flag Code has no provision for enforcement. No fines, no penalties. There is nothing law enforcement can do when the Flag Code is broken.” (www.ushistory.org).
Keep in mind that in no way I am giving legal advice but rather reaffirming what the flag code states, as there has been debate about what is acceptable use in our industry. Talk to your lawyer before you do anything and cover all of your bases.
Basically, what I have taken all of this to mean is that by using the flag as a photography prop or background, there is always a chance that you may somehow offend someone. You also may offend someone by posing a baby in its birthday suit, taking a shot of a kissing couple, or doing boudoir photography. You will never make EVERYONE happy. The flag represents this fantastic country we live in…use it respectfully and you should be just fine.