Ah, school photos. The time of year when every parent feels the pressure to fork out the big dollars for what is essentially, the worst picture ever taken of your child.
I’ve just done this with my son’s preschool photos.
I actually only found out about the photos because I was cleaning out the containers growing penicillin from his bag and happened across a scrunched up piece of paper. On one side was a drawing he assured me was a “dragon breathing fire” but looked remarkably like a drawing of dick and balls. On the other side was instructions for this year’s preschool photos.
Oh goody, they’re on today.
Given that I’d already run the gauntlet of getting him dressed, this year’s theme was going to be “clothes that are too small for me but it wasn’t worth the fight getting me to change”.
Naturally, the photos were scheduled for just after morning tea so my son would be probably be red and sweaty with random bits of hair stuck to his face, not dissimilar to what I imagine pre-teens look like after jostling for a fan girl pic of Harry Styles.
I was also keen to see how every year they manage to outdo themselves in the “wtf is he doing” shot of my son. Pale, staring lifelessly like a stunned mullet and with a bung eye that I’ve never seen anywhere except in these pictures. Like any mother I think my kids are gorgeous. Amazingly though, each and every school photo makes them look like Gollum.
Smile. Image from New Line Cinema.
For these lasting memories I get to fork out no less than $45. That was the cheapest option, I checked. Of course every pack contains passport sized photos (which can't be used as passport photos anyway) and a special keepsake for Grandma. Look forward to that one, Nan.
I feel the pressure, it's true. All the other parents are buying them. I don't want my son thinking I don't care. But really, these pictures won't be earning a space on the mantel piece. Some of them are truly so bad that I imagine robbers breaking in and spending a solid 15 minutes trying not to wet their pants with laughter as they catch a glimpse on the way to raid the undies drawers.
In truth, school photos do have a purpose. These are the pictures I will bring out at his 21st birthday. God knows they'll serve a laugh, because without fail, every year, I'm presented with a cardboard folder that I open with quiet excitement only to be greeted with a kid who kinda looks like mine dealing with extreme constipation.
Confessions: The time I felt like a terrible mother. Post continues after video.
But let's be honest. In the day of iPhones and all this technology do we really need the good old fashioned school photo? I mean, show me a mother whose phone isn't full to the brim of pictures of their kids. Actual happy ones, with good memories attached to them. Real smiles, real laughter. Candid photos where the sun was just right and they looked like something out of a Bonds ad. Not a photo that was taken when they were carted off into the school hall like cattle to have their two minutes in front of a blue and grey backdrop which hasn't changed since you were sitting in front of it.
I've got pictures of my kids to document their childhood, I don't really need a staged one that cost me more than I spent on their school shoes but I'll keep doing it because that's going to be one hell of a 21st slideshow.