LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A source close to the investigation told KFOX14 a Las Cruces firefighter faces discipline up to unpaid leave after his wife was photographed breast-feeding while wearing his uniform. The firefighter did not want to be identified.
The photo is part of a series by El Paso photographer Tara Ruby.
"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," Ruby explained. "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 you know supposed to be positive."
KFOX14 asked the Las Cruces Fire Department why the investigation began. A department spokesperson said because this is a personnel matter, they cannot discuss any aspect of it.
Ruby said she has photographed mothers who are police officers, doctors, teachers and more. She said photographing this mother in her husband's uniform has a story behind it.
"This story is a powerful one and maybe it's not one everybody's ready to hear," Ruby said.
She said for every negative comment, she receives many more positive ones.
"I've actually had firefighter women reach out to me and say, 'I was in that position. I breast-fed while I was a firefighter," she said.
In September, Ruby's photo of Fort Bliss soldiers breast-feeding in uniform went viral and reached international news outlets. Ruby said she will continue to photograph working mothers and fight to normalize breast-feeding.
"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.
Tara Ruby Photography: https://tararuby.com/