Thursday, July 31, 2014

Class(y) pictures

And so it began, almost fourteen years ago, this business of class pictures. Right there on the left? That was preschool, age three, just after his very first shaving accident as evidenced by the mark near his lip. Then second grade on the far right, soon after he became acquainted with the barber shop and the Princeton with a flip haircut.
Then I must have blinked, as third grade through seventh grade took us past elementary school and middle school as well.
Are you growing your hair again? When is picture day again? Eleventh grade? I blinked again.
These photos all sit in the desk in our kitchen, most of the packages nearly intact. We tend to not give out the class photos every year. Part of the reason is that we barrage family with photos at plenty of other times during the year. Mostly though, I just don't think these tilt your head and say "cheese" photos capture much personality. Make no mistake, I love having them and am amused every time I look at them. I enjoy seeing the evolution of the cheesy grin and how some of those shirts were only worn once, but their existence in the closet has been documented. (I'm looking at you second, fourth and seventh grade. Oh, eleventh grade, you came out of the husband's clean laundry.)

Every year, before flipping that big white picture envelope over, I ask my kids the same thing, "Do you like how they turned out?" That is all I really need to know, so that I can adjust my own reaction accordingly. Do they find the picture an acceptable representation of themselves for yearbook distribution? That sort of makes it sound like a lot of pressure, but they just need to come up with a simple yes or no. To retake or not to retake, that is the question. Who am I to make the decision as to whether or not the folded arm pose is cool or if someone really intended to have that hairstyle immortalized in a one inch black and white?

This year is different though...senior pictures, portraits even! Cue some dramatic music, and grab me a tissue.
I had no idea what my son's senior pictures would or should look like, but it seemed like they were supposed to be different from our usual package E. I wanted them to capture him somehow. I figured I would try some shots on our own before deciding whether to call in professionals. The first round was terrible. He was in a very bad mood, and even if one had turned out well, I could not have happily looked at a framed version every day knowing how grouchy we had both gotten with each other.

I started to consider relevant props and settings, then merged the two ideas as we got ready for our trip to Cape Cod. The idea of being himself seemed to intrigue the boy. I had to plead a bit one evening and threw in the honor of getting to drive the seventeen year old beach mobile to the beach parking lot. Here is a glimpse at what happened...

I hadn't gotten a shot that I could call a senior picture, per se, but that jump in the air was what I had set out for. We walked, laughed and clicked a few more times, and then headed out...
...and then this happened...
...I checked the camera display just to see what I had, and something caught in my throat. How had this boy aged just in the few minutes it took us to head off the beach? This? This is what his senior picture is supposed to look like. I quickly drew in a deep breath, told him it was perfect, and asked him to just stay put for a few more seconds...
...just a few more seconds.


  1. Awww. The violin at the beach is a great...Hold on, did you say he was shaving at 3!?! Man, oh man, puberty comes earlier and earlier each generation.

  2. Awe, these turned out great. I'll be taking my son's Senior pictures soon too. :)

  3. The pics came out so good! He's lucky they allow pics like this in the yearbook. Ours had to be uniform, done by the same photographer. The pictures of me and my classmates were horrid.

    1. Oh, sorry, let me clarify...the picture for the yearbook has to be a standard pose, indoors, but a lot of people do several different poses during their sitting.

  4. Wow. It was interesting to watch him age so quickly. I can't imagine what that feels like for you. Well, I can, sort of.

    The beach pictures are fantastic... all of them. Although, as you say, the one of him sitting in the sand is PERFECT for a senior picture. I think it's safe to say his picture will be unique (and awesome).

  5. That first picture? Magical. That last picture? Even more. That one even had me reaching for a tissue. Just a few more seconds, and I will probably be bawling, just out of sheer empathy.

  6. The evolution from child into young adult, is amazing. His smile alone in that last shot, absolutely makes that picture something special.
    The rest are stunning.

  7. NO NO NO!! No growing up here! Won't happen. Brick on everyone's heads!! But if they were to do this, I'd want one just like yours. AMAZING photos. PROPS. Got it. And beach. These are just beautiful!