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Thursday, October 07, 2010

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The Scrooge of School Picture Day

Today is school picture day. I hate school picture day. Those of you who follow me on twitter might have caught me grumbling this morning that school portraiture is to photography as school lunches are to cuisine. I'm a rank amateur with a cheap point 'n' shoot, but I can take a photograph of my kids that's a hundred times better. Why on earth would I shell out a minimum of $12 (the lowest priced package this year) for a couple of wallet size photos from a turnstile operation with all the technical skill and artistic merit of a coin-operated photo booth? As a matter of fact, I like photo booth pictures much more. It's a racket, in my opinion. And don't even get me started on the recently adopted tactic of taking pictures again in the spring. I'm going to write in my own package code on that form when it comes home in the backpacks: NFW.

I explain my objections to my children, and they nod and act like they understand, but then I worry that, deep down, what they hear is, "Mommy doesn't love you enough to want your school pictures," and I always cave in. One of these days, I'll arrange them all in an album in chronological order, I tell myself. But the prints come back, and are soon buried under mail and homework papers, eventually getting tossed in a box or drawer, still in the envelope.

Next year, I swear--every year--I'm going to stand firm.

But then I remember these, and how glad I am to have them, as dated as they are. Pull-down painted backdrops and all.

First school photo at two years old.
My teacher Mom brought me in for picture day.
First Grade.

Second Grade.

That's the thing about cheese, I guess. It gets better with time.

What's your stance on school pictures?



Blogger Courtenay said...

we had them yesterday, too. only our packages start at like $25. i never buy them because any framed pictures in my home are ones where they're much more natural, or candid, not with the fake show-all-my-bottom-teeth smile. i tell my kids, you have yearbooks and student IDS that look like tiny driver's licenses. we're good.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

This is very timely, as my son started school this year and we've had the first round of school pictures.

I hated the pictures. HATED. He was wearing a green button-down shirt over an orange t-shirt with Nemo on it (his choice) and the background was - wait for it - robin's egg blue. YIKES. It was primary colour overload. I had no intention of buying the silly things.


They do capture something. And when he heard me mumbling about maybe not buying them, he immediately thought it was something he had done wrong that made the pictures unacceptable. So, I bought. Enough to give some to family and tuck a few in Xmas cards.

I have all of my school pictures, for all thirteen years of public education. Some years we were so poor we only got the one 8 x 10, suitable for framing - but there they are. Just this year my mom presented them all to me in an album, and I treasure it even as I cringe at some of the pictures (coke bottle glasses and hand me down everything do not a stunning image make).

12:23 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Oh my goodness you were the cutest kid EVER! I love it!

I'm with ya on the whole "school pictures are a racket" thing. Plus, it's a total crapshoot - who's going to be picking their nose? Have half-lidded eyes? Slumped shoulders? or all three?

12:32 PM  
Blogger berit_k said...

I just fought this battle on Wednesday- complete with last minute wardrobe changes for Thing2- who refused my shirt offering for one of his own choosing. When i suggested that maybe we skip buying them this year, they said out loud "Don't you LOVE US ANYMORE?" (actually, it was more of a screaming accusation). heavy sigh, i forked over 2 checks...

12:45 PM  
Blogger nicole said...

Oh wow. Your school pictures are GREAT! Like glamour shots, really. I refuse to publish ANY of mine. EVER. I had the worst haircuts in history. I graduated from a bowl-cut to a mullet. Eew. xo.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Tena Laing said...

I love the St. G pics! The background is so familiar. We had the unfortunate experience in Grade 1 of the photog thinking Tara and I were one person and chucking one of our pics - I think Tara's. Gave us both a bit of identity disorder. Need to go into storage and dig them out.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Rowena said...

I'm pro school pictures. They are what they are, you know? Crappy artistry and all, they capture that moment, outside of the parents' will, independence of the child, what they wore, if their hair was messy and wild or neat, the crazy styles, how the kids stand.

It's perfect.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I agree with you. I think school pictures are usually mediocre at best. Lately there has been an option for a "magnet" package where they make the kids pictures into a magnet. I've decided to start getting those instead of wallet sized photos. I take my kids for studio pictures once a year and while they aren't expensive and super top notch photography, they are always much better than school pics. I send those out to the grandparents, etc. But there's something quirky and fun about the awkward school photos so I am going to put them on my fridge and enjoy them that way.

4:46 PM  
Blogger RW said...

here is the thing.
two years in a row my son has somehow missed picture day.
so I have a photo of his twin sister in both grades 9 and 10 and we have nothing ... really irritates the grandparents because up till last year they had matched sets.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Cid said...

I hate school pictures too, but every year I buy them because my children who are usually very photogenic bring home photos that make them look like they are being raised by wolves. I always forget what day it is so inevitably they haven't brushed, let alone washed, their hair and they are wearing some hideous shirt that I haven't yet "lost" while doing laundry. But I have to admit that I love this moment captured in time. And to top it off, last year they talked me into buying the mugs with their mugs on them. Now I can enjoy it every morning with my coffee.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

mine haven't got to school age yet but I do remember hating them as a kid. like you said, you can take photos miles better than that yourself, seems like a waste of money to me - but then i'm a complete scrooge

10:52 AM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...

My kids are required to pick a pose prior to picture day. The poses are so unnatural that they never turn out well for my son who refuses to smile on command. I prefer the pictures that friends and family take at random times through out the year. I think it has been over two years since I bought the school pictures.

11:28 AM  
Blogger patsyrose said...

Thing about purchasing school pictures is that you get one of the complete class and that's so much fun to go back and look at in later years.

I have one of Cindy smiling broadly out of her grade 2 class and wearing a pearl necklace. I'd told her it wasn't suitable for a little girl and she snuck out wearing it anyway.

Do it for the memories, Kyran.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I love those photos of you and still pine for the daughter YOU NEVER GAVE ME.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Eti l'Yeti said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Automatic filer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I think you look gorgeous. A little girl reflecting the woman to come in so many ways.

I hate photo day too. But this actually may have helped me like it a little more

6:41 PM  

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