WASHINGTON — The Army has approved a new background option for portraits and DA photos, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey announced today.
The background, officially titled “Background, Photographic, #88, Totally Fly,” features a criss-crossed network of luminescent pink and azure laser beams set against a subdued field of midnight blue.
Dailey conveyed his enthusiasm about the new photo option.
“The chief [of staff] and I decided that we need an inspiring photo backdrop, one that puts the professionalism and honor of the American soldier on full display,” Daily said.
“We’re also at a time where we are looking to the past for inspiration,” he continued. "The early '90s were a time of great heroism and noble sacrifice in the American Army, from the deserts of Iraq to the streets of Mogadishu. I can think of no better way to honor the legacy of our 1990s military than by this classic backdrop.”
“I think you’ll agree that, as they used to say, it’s 'all that and a bag of chips,'” he added.
The background will be available for portraits in lieu of the American flag, as well as for DA photos, for any soldiers who want to accent their promotion file with some "visual flair,” the new regulation states.
Some on social media have expressed surprise that the background omits the American flag entirely, but this couldn’t be avoided, Daily said.
“We tried to fit the flags in, but that left us with fewer lasers,” he explained.
The new background is not without controversy. Ned Hazelton, an attorney representing the School and Sports Photographers of America, claims that the background bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain popular school photo background from the early 1990s.
“This background has been in use by school photographers for years,” he said. “This is outright plagiarism like when they ripped off MultiCam and called it OCP [Operational Camouflage Pattern]."
Despite potential legal challenges, the background will be available at all Department of the Army Official Photograph Facilities, Army HRC confirms on their website.
“When scheduling your photo, please select your background from the drop-down menu: ‘Flags,’ or ‘Rad Retro,’" the website instructs.