Class Picture Time

5 Oct

It’s that time of year again. Every year, school children around America – maybe around the world – have their pictures taken. As parents, we make at least a moderate effort to dress them neatly and comb their hair so that they might look at least…presentable for posterity.

Beans, my 11-year-old daughter, had an especially fabulous accessory for her class pictures:

Yes. A black eye. Actually, as she has pointed out, it’s a black-green-purple-red eye. Honestly, I think it utterly captures her personality of late. And isn’t that the point of class pictures?

Isn’t it?

At my daughter’s elementary school, there was a little debate about this year’s pictures: about the photographers and a handful of parents who weren’t satisfied with the photos. To which I say – wha?? I mean really, short of the photo being out of focus – I really feel like any quirk in the picture is like a ding in an antique table – it lends character. Ideally, the picture itself should have just a hint of cheesy anyway – all the better to embarrass us in the future. Case in point:

I had this shirt in two colors. I'm not sure what was up with ghost me on the right.

I don’t mean to offend anyone who considers themselves serious photographers. I have no doubt you take tremendous pride in your work and I know it must be some kind of Herculean task just to get through hundreds of kids in a day, much less capture a shot without them blinking, moving or squinting. My hat is off to you.

With the advent of digital cameras, we’ve gone way beyond the days when the school portrait was the one “good” picture you could be sure you’d have of your kid. Now, we can keep snapping photos until we get a great one and then manipulate that photo until it’s almost perfect.

That’s exactly why I embrace the class picture as a visual time capsule of our kids – I want it to showcase the black eye, the messy hair and the missing teeth. I can only hope that, twenty years from now, those class pictures remind my children not just what they looked like, but what they were like. I just hope they don’t wonder what the hell I did with their hair or their clothes.

Seriously Mom, a bow? Geez.


5 Responses to “Class Picture Time”

  1. lexy3587 October 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    haha 🙂 i love the ‘ghost of you’ pic… it’s like you’re a character on a soap opera, and it’s part of the opening or closing credits 😛
    one of my school photos captured the bit of a cowlick i had (despite having long hair)… my half-ponytail and smooth hair was ruined by two devil-horns poking out of the top of my head. it looked like i had styled my hair like that on purpose as well, so my parents were very upset at it, lol.

    • Beth - Realist Mom October 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      What was with those ghost pictures? I didn’t even post my high school picture where I’m holding a fake rose under my chin! I should have people post their pictures on my Facebook page – yours sounds like a good one!!

  2. Utica315 October 13, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    I’m not a mom, a woman, a parent or even married for that matter. But I absolutely love reading your blog. You’re a great writer, but even better is your ability to relate your stories to any audience – intelligently without sounding pretentious.

    This article was outstanding. We love looking at those old school pictures. You’re right about them reflecting “who” we were. My brother can be seen as the preppy good boy, while no matter how long my mother spent making sure I looked perfect for that day’s shoot, it never failed that I would ruin my hair and clothes by the time the shot was taken. I was always the active, constantly moving one. And with digital cameras, you’re right about that too. Which, by the way, you definitely have a talent for photography.

    • Beth - Realist Mom October 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comments – it really made my day! I really enjoy writing and I’m so glad you enjoy reading!!

  3. Lorraine November 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    I always wanted that creepy pose–the “ghost picture”, as you call it. I was jealous of kids who got that one. But I must admit that seeing that picture today made me laugh. Guffaw, even 😉

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