Thursday, October 18, 2007

Say "cheese"

Today is School Picture Day.

What? It didn't register on your radar? You didn't mark your calendar?

Don't worry. I didn't either.

We did remember this morning, which is a vast improvement over past years when I've sent my children off to school in tie-dyed shirts, gym clothes, and Elegant's usual colorful outfits. Some years, I'm not even sure I washed the maple syrup off their faces.

Today, the girls gave some thought to what they were wearing, but I didn't guide them or suggest that they dress up. Hence, Graceful is wearing her usual uniform of t-shirt, casual pants, and sneakers.


Oh well.

I haven't always been so blase' about School Picture Day.

When I was growing up, SPD was a big deal. The one time of the year we had our photos taken by an actual professional. Occasionally my family would put on our church clothes and go to the Sears Photo Studio or some place equally not artistic.

We'd plan our outfits in advance for SPD. My mother would make sure that we kids matched so that our photos looked good when grouped together. My sister would roll her hair in hot pink sponge curlers. I'd either do the same or possibly sleep in braids overnight for an appropriately wavy effect that screamed "late 1970s."

Flash forward a couple decades to Graceful's first year in school. I think I sort of paid attention to SPD, but I don't know, maybe not. I'd have to go find the photos to see what she was wearing.

See, it just doesn't register with me.

I don't know what kind of people they hire to take these photos, but I question how much experience they have. I mean, I know it's a shitty job to take photos of hundreds of kids each day, but is it THAT difficult to get the kids to smile? Or to not tilt their heads in some asinine manner? Or to not look like deranged lunatics?

I've learned to buy the bare minimum photo package because the chances are really quite good that the entire lot is going to get tossed in the trash anyway. Yes, the photos have been that bad. And that's coming from me, the mother of two very photogenic kids. Think passport photos and you can get a good idea of what I'm talking about.

I'm not totally immune to the allure of having wonderful professional images of my children, which is why I have an appointment next week with a local photographer who I know will get amazing shots of my kids. We've been going to her for years and she's just terrific. She's more expensive, a helluva lot more than school photos, but oh so worth every penny and then some.

Here is a photo from three years ago:

The crappy quality of the photo itself is my fault, as I just did a quick scan.

Plus, the photographer won't let Elegant tilt her head like this:

Yeah, I know, she's pretty cute.


alison said...

Our SPD is tomorrow. Today is Rae's birthday. She's wearing her fave dress to school today. She also wants to wear it tomorrow for SPD. Dilemma. Do I let her do what she wants, thus boosting her self-esteem. Or do I worry that the teacher/volunteering mums at the school might form the opinion that I am a drunken slattern too lazy to ensure my child goes to school in fresh clothes each day. Hmmm, I'll think about it tomorrow, probably 10 mins before we have to leave: "But Rachel, the pink sweater is sooooo pretty" <- the distraction technique might work.

Oh, and your girls are gorgeous!

Patience_Crabstick said...

Actually, I think they force you to tilt your head at an asinine angle. I almost wrote a big ranting post about SPD, mainly because I don't see why a big business (Lifetouch) should get access to schools and disrupt the day and make tons of money while taking away instructional time, all so parents can get yet another overpriced package of bad pictures. It really bugs me. That and the fact that they want to take your child's picture even if you haven't sent in an order. I almost got into a rumble with the photographers on the soccer field who actually thought that they could tell me that picture taking was mandatory. What part of "You are NOT photographing my child" didn't they understand?

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Alison, let her wear what she wants and don't worry about what the others think. Thanks for thinking my girls are gorgeous!

Patience, I'm with you on the whole thing. Luckily, I don't get sucked into the guilt or marketing.

nejyerf said...

man....i wish we could do SPD in our office!!

i used those pink spongy rollers too! i used to pray that my hair would come out in ringlets like trixie belden.

instead it came out looking like rosanne rosannadanna.

Happy Working Mom said...

I remember going to so much trouble picking my outfit and making sure my hair was perfect for school pictures. At least when I was in middle school and high school anyway. Why not elementary school? Because we were home schooled, and my mom actually exercised her right to the public school extras like school pictures. I was always so thoroughly embarrassed when she would drag us over to the local elementary school so we could line up with all the other kids just staring at us wondering who the heck we were, so that we could get our pictures taken. Oh the humility!