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Picture perfect? Not much of a chance

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment
Originally published Sept. 26, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

I spent $39 Saturday, and I have no idea what I bought.

Oh, I have the vaguest of notions – two 5x7s, two 3x5s and 16 cute little baseball cards. There goes that dang weakness for cute again.

But as to exactly what the photos will look like, I have no idea. I was at work during the picture day portion of Big Guy’s soccer Saturday.

Which was probably a good thing. For one, it was pouring the rain most of the morning, and Dad got to suffer while I stayed nice and toasty at the office. For another, putting preschoolers before cameras always is dicey, and I’d prefer not to be around to see the train wreck. I’ll just write the check to cover the damage.

I swore I was going to avoid studio picture addiction, and I have done better than some. I know one parent who dutifully toted a baby to a studio every other month through age 1. And every single portrait remains on display, almost shrine-like.

It’s not as if the guys’ childhoods have gone unpreserved in images. I love photography and have album after album of candids. Not to mention stack after stack of prints un-albumed. I prefer candids over formal portraits anyway.

Besides that, studio portraits are dang expensive. I mean, $39 for four pictures and 16 cute cards? That’s a chunk of change, and I got off cheap this time. Next month, during picture day at school, the damage will easily be more than double that, if for no other reason than both guys will be photographed.

Still, despite the cost, it’s nice once in a while to have an image of your fantasy children – you know, the kids who are freshly scrubbed, neatly combed and smiling sweetly.

I have one portrait of the guys like that – Big Guy was 2, and hadn’t yet learned how to make really heinous faces, and Little Guy was 4 months, and didn’t care about much as long as warm bottles were available on demand.

I am so not counting on that this year.

Seems that there’s some sort of connection now between a camera lens and the muscles in the guys’ hands. I’m sure it’s an involuntary action – there’s no way they would deliberately try to frustrate me – but their monster claws appear the second they’re in front of a camera.

Thank God for digitals – I can keep shooting until they get bored with trying to frustrate me. Even with my film camera, I can fake it by firing the flash instead of pushing the shutter button. For some reason, they’ve never watched my fingers closely enough to catch on.

During school picture day, though, there’s no time for such ploys. No matter how skilled and patient the photographer is, there’s only a slight chance I’m going to get freshly scrubbed, sweet-smiling, neatly combed guys. That’s just not in their nature right now when cameras come out.

Unless they’re really hideous, though, I’ll buy the pictures anyway – unlike the soccer photos, with the school shots you at least get to see a proof before you write the check.

The shots might not be of my fantasy children, but, no matter how goofy the pictures, I’ll look at them and smile when I’m old and living alone with my dozens of cats.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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