Pose, smile, and keep smiling: picture day
Picture day is arguably the strangest obsession in elementary school and might as well be declared a holiday on school calendars.
It’s not just the students who get in a frenzy about perfecting their squares in the yearbook, but the teachers and parents, too.
For instance, the package plans are given out weeks prior to the actual day. This is most likely because it is a strenuous decision for parents to choose what color background will best complement their child. The next step after choosing the blue background (nobody picks gray or purple for heaven’s sake) is selecting the right pose. I imagine these are some of the thoughts running through a mother’s mind: should the photographer zoom in on my daughter to accentuate her eyes or should her shiny curls be the focus of the picture?
It is likely the parent chooses the latter due to the fact that they spent all morning taking out their daughter’s foam rollers and experimenting with a variety of bows. If it was an especially bad hair day, sparkly clips were the next best thing.
I know these are just a few of the problems girls encounter the morning of, but I imagine boys have their own stresses, as well. After all, how does a 7-year-old limit himself to only one dinosaur shirt to be featured in the yearbook?
What the reader has experience thus far is only the joy of fall pictures; spring pictures have now arrived.
With their arrival comes even higher stakes and more intensity. For spring pictures, the whole body is included rather than just a headshot.
This time around, the photographer gets to select the background. The background is not merely a solid color, but incorporates natural elements such as trees, waterfalls, wishing well buckets, and most importantly: fake rocks.
Fake rocks always make the cut- every single time.
By creating a “natural” scene, the student can be more in touch with his or her inner smile, which is only found frolicking through fields of sunshine. This also eliminates the problem of the deer-in-headlights look that is often found in fall pictures.
Also, the thrill of anticipating if the seat will be a bucket or leaf-covered bench is like no other. My classmates used to bet on which one be awaiting the class (not kidding).
Once the day is done, the waiting period begins.
After two or three weeks, the pictures will arrive into the hands of eager students. Some will suffer the fate of closed eyes and broccoli in their teeth, while others will get back a flawless picture. It possibly looks flawless because their parent purchased the touch-up option, but that is beside the point.
After having possession of the pictures, the get-to-work phase starts. This can be executed in many ways such as students cutting out wallet size pictures for their favorite teachers or framing and hanging the 8×10 in their hallway.
By the time a person enters high school, the happiness of picture day has subsided. It becomes more of a dread to walk up the auditorium steps and fake a smile in front of the entire grade.
But, in the exasperating moments of tilting heads, it is important to be grateful for flashing cameras and hurting cheeks.
Without school pictures, how else could we capture the preciousness of who we used to be and look at the transformation of who we are now?
What other way could so beautifully showcase the one thing we all have in common?
If you are still wondering what that may be, I will let you in on the secret. It is the smile within us that we all share.
So, thank you, picture day, for never failing to let us reminisce and engraining the word “cheese” into our brains time after time.