Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This week’s pondering? Why are parents still paying out silly money for school photos?
In this day and age, when we all pretty much carry a camera around with us daily in the form of a mobile phone, why are school photos still a thing?
1. I own a camera, my kids own cameras, my mum is an actual photographer – I have plenty of nice pictures of my children and they are not unrealistically posed in front of fake bookcase backdrops in a bright blue sweater. They are wearing their own clothes, and are looking happy rather than forcing smiles.
2. What am I supposed to do with 28 of the same picture in a variety of inconvenient sizes? How many of these do you actually expect me to fob off on my family. My mum has 6 grandchildren, should she be expected to have pictures from every year of their schooling littering her walls! (In fact, she has only 2 photos of family up at all, one of my brother’s wedding and one of my nephew… Totally not bitter about it…)
3. How much!!!!
I am not forking out the best part of £40 for 28 copies of the same picture! I can literally buy my son a cheap smart phone and he can Snapchat filter to his hearts content for that price!
You may notice that I feel particularly, and possibly unnecessarily, strongly about this, and I think I have discovered why, let me tell you a tale…
All of the kids met at the local park to wait for aforementioned vintage bus to take them to the party. My mum came with me to drop him off for one very good reason. She is a photographer and was going to get some shots of Ethan and his ‘squad’.
She got some amazing pictures of him with all the people he wanted pictures with, there were even some cool ‘hanging upside down’ casual shots; candid, fun photos that really captured Eth and his friends.
And then a few weeks later, the school sent home the ‘official’ prom photos. I am not going to lie and say they were rubbish, they were lovely pictures. One of them has him wearing his trilby on a jaunty angle and looking very cheeky. They were, however, no better than the ones my old dear had taken, so I opted not to buy them and save myself £30…that was my first mistake.
Do you know how I can remember exactly what those school pictures looked like 2 years later? Because one of them is sat on my mantal piece right now.
Did I cave and buy them? Did I bollocks!
We had been having problems with school for a while, mainly because they seemed to be obsessed with us being ‘poor people’ ; as full time students we were entitled to child tax credits, so got free school dinners. Therefore when we opted out of trips or buying hand made Christmas cards we were contacted to ask if was because we couldn’t afford it. This same scenario played out when I turned down the prom photos.
I used to hate how, in the old days, the photos were sent home, unrequested, so you either had to send a cheque in, or hand the pictures back in. Photographers got wise to people scanning and copying the pictures, so started sending thumbnail sized snaps with watermarks home instead and encouraging people to buy them online.
I think the prom photographer was pretty sure he was going to cash in on the whole ‘last photo at primary school’ vibe and an entire set of pictures was sent home… And promptly returned back to the school.
Then I got the phone calls – there is nothing that makes your stomach turn over more than call from the school in the middle of the day. Have they had an accident? Has someone beaten him up? What’s happened!
Turns out ‘what had happened’ was the school team had decided I must have been mistaken in my decision to not buy the photos, and were phoning to check I was sure… I got about 4 calls in all.
On the last week of term Ethan came home and the photo pack was casually thrown on the sideboard.
“They thought you would want them”
he stated. I was ready to make the offending package bounce back to school, when he added.
“They said we can have them”.
I will never know if they still talk about the tight-assed mum who refused to buy the end of school Photo’s, and I don’t care as now they are both in High school and the only calls I get are ones telling me Ethan will be late because he has detention… But at least they aren’t asking for money.
And there are now only two school pictures on my mantal; one of an adorable baby and his older siblings, taken in 2006 and one of a cool looking 10 year old wearing a trilby on a jaunty angle. It is actually a really good picture.