It was class photo day recently for my son’s kindergarten class. We sort of dressed him up a bit for the occasion knowing that we probably won’t buy any of the obligatory packages offered by the “photographers.” Almost all of us still have at least one hilarious class photo from the fourth grade or thereabouts. We laugh at how funny we look, but in the end we treasure these pictures for the nostalgia and even the historical fashions of the period.
I for one, am happy to validate my pre pubescent memory of Miss Born who was indeed a stone cold fox. So here is how this works now. There are no class photos. Instead, each child is photographed individually and then a composite is made of the class. Why?? Are the kids so wound up on sugar that they cannot stand still for five minutes? This is wrong on about a million levels. Part of the greatness of the class photo is to see the one kid who is looking the wrong way because chances are that kid is still looking the wrong way even today. The new class photos are contrived, impersonal, and lacking in any photographic aesthetic. Not to mention that the final product is a crap ass electronic image printed on some flimsy costco paper, totally killing any hope of tactile pleasure. The company in charge also shoots some additional poses of your kid, ala shopping mall style with a cheezy background. The photos are sent home in an envelope that says, “look, love, buy.” Really, I looked and puked.
If you look closely at the above you will see that the face is out of focus, and the pose is just bizarre. That ain’t how my kid smiles. And sorry, but is that a hand drawn sun in the background? I know we all think we can do better these days, and people need to make a living, but sorry this will not do.
I’m adding one more image here, my father’s class photo of which I have the actual 16×20 hand made print. These are young men who were probably hit with a stick if they didn’t sit up straight, but the final product is a work of art, shot on a large format camera, meticulously crafted. Not exactly realistic for today’s working school photographer, and therein lies the problem. There are no longer any actual photographers, only button pushers, trained on a computer, not a camera. Boohoo.