(School)Photographs and Memories

I wrote about my school picture experiences and now it is time to discuss my kids’ school photos. As I mentioned in that post, the job of school photographer is not high on my list of dream jobs. School photographers are asked to capture photos of as many kids as possible, in as little time as possible, for as little money as possible. Not ideal conditions for creativity or high quality. Fortunately, I know this going it so I am not surprised by the results. Still, I’ve come to appreciate school pictures for what they are, a time capsule. They capture my kids where they are at this particular place and time.

I am the opposite of my mother, I DON’T fuss about what the kids wear. Trust me this makes for some interesting attire, but hey, that is an area where I can give them complete control. This policy holds true even on picture day. Fish had her picture day outfit picked out AS we were shopping for back to school clothes. Mim is more of a fly by the seat of his pants kind of kid. I was very curious to see what he would pick and pleasantly surprised with his selection

What I see when I look at her picture, is a girl who is growing up and beginning to explore her place in the world. She’s done a great job maintaing her pierced ears Now, she’s growing her bangs out, and experimenting with hairstyles. She told me about pulling all her hair to one side (oh, the memories) and I think it makes her look more mature. She’s working to find her footing. She can be shy and reluctant to stand up for herself, and in her face, I see that tentativeness (am I doing this right?), but I also see earnestness and her easy smile. Her rigid posture tells me she still wants to please and follow directions (she never sits that straight on her own) but at the same time, I do see a bit of a desire for independence. I suspect this has more do with her clothing selection.

What I see when I look at his picture, is my wiggly little boy. A boy who struggles to follow directions. Sometimes he doesn’t follow because he wants to do his own thing, sometimes (as I’m betting is the case here), he doesn’t follow because he is so excited he doesn’t stop to listen to the words that have been said. I’m sure the photographer told him to sit up straight and put his shoulders back. All he heard was shoulders, the result is the shrugged position. I love the orange striped polo, it is from Land’s End. We bought it on sale ($5 FTW!). He picked it out and while it isn’t my preference, it reflects him well. He is LOUD and vivd.

Probably the worst thing you can tell a kid is to “say cheese”, the resulting smile is usually something like what we have here. My Internet friend Firemom, taught me that asking them to say “boogers and cookies” or some other farcical quip typically generates a giggle and thus a more natural smile. But, I like his smile here because it shows he still has all his baby teeth. He talks a good game (his vocabulary would knock your socks off), but his maturity doesn’t always match his speech.

Once a year, I pick out their clothes and we go to the Target Portrait Studio. There, a photographer with only slightly more time poses them and talks with them and snaps away. I’ve recently started letting each of them bring an additional piece of clothing and an item to pose with. These are the pictures I hang on my walls.

Soon, I will find an independent, professional photographer and invite him or her into our life for an hour or two to capture where we are as individuals and as a family. In the meat time, I’ll look at the pictures I have and appreciate them for what they tell me.

The original version of this post had digital copies of the pictures included.  Then I remembered this post by Heather Sphor. I downloaded the plug-in she suggested, but found (at least on her site), that I was still able to save photos to my hard drive. I’ve posted pictures of my kids here before, but before I go whole hog on this post, I need to consider things a little more. I also need to run some more tests on the plug-in.


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