Fear and Loathing on Picture Day

Slapping me in the face in the same manner as a kamakaze chickadee was the realization that today is Picture Day.  I hate Picture Day. I hate it with the white-hot burning intensity of a thousand suns. To be fair, I’ve always hated having my picture taken and have in the past gone to great lengths to avoid it.

What I hate about having my picture taken is the artificiality of it. I loathe the fake-smiling happy pose, the artfully arranged “spontaneous” group hug, and worst of all the serious held tilted contemplative shot. I hate them all. None of these pictures will ever reveal anything at all about the subject other than that they paused whatever actual activity they were doing so that someone else with a faulty memory can reassure themselves that you were actually there.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard from folks who look at their own picture protestations that they don’t really look like that. Is this similar to the phenomenon of people hearing recordings of their own voice? Could it be that there is more to you than your picture?! Say it isn’t so! I’ve spent my whole life perfecting my image! There can’t be more to me than that! Noooooo!

Because these pictures are so artificial, they can only portray the surface. There is no art in modern day portraiture, no deeper truth to be gleaned from study. Do we really need to make high school more superficial than it already is? Shouldn’t some responsible adult step in and put a stop to this blatant objectification of our students?

Years from now when these students are flipping through their yearbooks, they might recall seeing “what’s-his-name” in the hallways, but they’ll have to look at the caption to remember who he was. Even at that, most of what they’ll recall is what that person looked like, which is surely nothing like how they appear now.

If we must take pictures for the yearbook, let’s limit ourselves to photos of our students actually doing something in school. Any picture worth anything should show our students actually engaging in something, not staring mindlessly into a camera. (They do enough mindless staring as it is) I suppose this is where we express our concern that not every student participates in school and wouldn’t get photographed. Well, if they’re not participating perhaps they also would rather not be photographed and we should respect their wishes.

God I hate Picture Day! And if any of you are wondering, no I didn’t smile for my picture.


2 thoughts on “Fear and Loathing on Picture Day

  1. irishpirate81

    I say “Nay” to you, sir. You are, as usual, completely wrong. Picture day is awesome. I repeat, awesome. Everything from the kind of creepy photographer who maybe keeps some of the negatives in his “private collection” to the strange blue sky-with-clouds backdrop (I mean, are we suppose to think we’re magically floating in the sky?). It’s all awesome.

    I think I know where your anger is really coming from. Oh, you can dress it up with arguments of “superficial” and “fake” and “beauty is not skin deep” and all the other arguments of the not-hot. But that’s not the real reason. No, you hate picture day for one reason only. Because of the free combs. It’s another, painful reminder of that fact that you’ve been bald since preschool.


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