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Iconic Tayla Harris photo goes viral around the globe

Michael Willson’s photo of Tayla Harris has taken the world by storm

PHOTOGRAPHS have the power to inspire and enlighten, as exemplified by the much-talked-about image of AFLW superstar Tayla Harris in full flight.

The superb action shot of the brilliant Carlton forward at the height of her kicking motion – captured by AFL Media’s award-winning senior photographer Michael Willson – has gone viral.

Its rapid dissemination has been as much a result of its powerful visual impact as some of the unsavoury reactions it has received.

The photo attracted glowing responses from fans awestruck by its spectacular meshing of technique and athleticism. Unfortunately, it also attracted vile comments on social media, prompting Harris and others to demand action against the culprits, with her outrage shared by the AFL community and broader society.

Take this, trolls ??

— Michael Willson (@MichaelCWillson) March 19, 2019

Fellow sporting and public figures, including Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander, expressed their support for the 21-year-old.

The story was covered by overseas news networks including CNN and the BBC, who further distributed the photo to curious audiences largely unfamiliar with Australian Football.

“My hamstring is OK but derogatory and sexist comments aren’t.”

Online trolling of Australian rules footballer Tayla Harris has been compared to sexual abuse.


— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 20, 2019

“Think about this before your derogatory comments”

How social media comments on a photo of Australian Football League star Taylor Harris sparked outrage:

— CNN Sport (@cnnsport) March 20, 2019

Furore over Tayla Harris photo shows how vicious social media can be via @IrishTimesSport

— Irish Times Sport (@IrishTimesSport) March 20, 2019

The photo was posted, the photo was taken down and then all hell broke loose

— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) March 20, 2019

As of Thursday afternoon, the image, which has been compared to the iconic shot of AFL legend Ted Whitten, had attracted 53,000 ‘likes’ on the AFL and AFLW’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It received the second-most interactions on the AFLW Facebook page, behind only a photo of an embrace between former Western Bulldogs vice-president Susan Alberti and star Katie Brennan after the Dogs’ premiership triumph last year.

On Twitter it was the most interacted AFLW post in the past year.

Here’s a pic of me at work… think about this before your derogatory comments, animals.

— Tayla Harris (@taylaharriss) March 19, 2019

On Instagram the Harris image received the second-most interactions to an AFLW post – trumped only by Meghan Markle handballing a footy during her Australian tour with husband Prince Harry in October.

Some might say Harris is fast becoming AFLW royalty. The snap of her full-blooded kick was certainly majestic.