‘New’ school photos: a rant

An old fashioned camera.

Sometimes I wonder whether I’m becoming a grumpy old git before my time, but surely I can’t be alone in this particular “it wasn’t like this in my day” rant. I really don’t like the new way in which they do school photos.

In case you’re one of the fortunate people out there whose children are still made to sit and stand on benches in the traditional group pose, I’ll put you in the picture. So to speak. The photographers now get the kids into small groups and make them strike poses that are supposed to be informal but just look forced and awkward.

I won’t publish the picture here as it includes other people’s children so, to describe it, some of them have their hands on their hips or are leaning on their classmates’ shoulders while others are lying down with their faces in their hands. They stop short of smiling at their watches or noticing something interesting in the middle distance, but only just.

I don’t think they even pose as an entire class either. It looks to me like they take several shots of the small groups and edit them together into one really long print. It’s like a cross between the poster for Trainspotting and a mail order catalogue.

I’m all for trying out different approaches here and there and actually favour informal pictures for things like weddings, but school photos aren’t the time or place. It’s school – not the start of some cheesy 1980s American sitcom!

Photos of this kind should capture an essence of the time and place, but these are shot against a stark white background. They’re not going to bring back nearly as many memories in years to come, which is a bit sad.

Could you imagine other groups going for style-over-substance shots like this? Will we soon be seeing the army ‘at ease’? How about politicians at international summits? Will they be leaning back-to-back with folded arms and knowing smiles?

I can’t help but feel that this is a cynical ploy by the photography companies to get parents to pay more to get a frame thrown in. After all, who already has one of that shape and size already lying around at home?

We bought it, of course. It seemed wrong not to. But we went for the “cheap” option of the print in a cardboard tube. It cost nearly £15.

I’m going to put it next to last year’s…

A cardboard tube in a drawer.

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