Thursday, September 11, 2008

Picture Day.

Typing "picture day" immediately reminded me of picture days in school. Those were pretty much the worst, right? All of my school pictures were taken before the golden age of digital photography so whenever the photo packages arrived with the 8x10 of my non-smile and half-closed eyes peering through the window of the Lifetouch envelope, I just shoved the whole thing in my bag before my friends could ask to see. Kids always compared photo packages too for some reason. Like your parents loved you more somehow if you signed up for package A, which came with 105 pictures, as opposed to package E, which came with a yearbook photo and one wallet.

The photographer's main job was to pass out combs, as if it was going to be a fly-away hair that ruined the picture and not his shoddy work or the ridiculous background choices. Sitting in front of a neon green or bright purple background was wonderful for a child of the 80's. All of my elementary school pictures look like advertisements for highlighters. But the really exciting backgrounds like "outer space" or "autumn" were the most memorable. I have a space picture. I also have one in which I'm sitting in front of what appear to be lasers. All of those pictures are still in my parents' house, shoved in drawer of the dining room hutch.

My sisters and I recently met up with Deb and Steve to have a family picture taken. I know a lot of families do this regularly (and include a pic with their holiday update letters, letting the world know how great their lives are, even though no one asked) but my family has never actually taken one together. So because we were all able to meet at the same time, my mom scheduled a session and we went to have our first ever professional family photo.

We all decided to wear white button-down shirts and jeans because it's classic and because we always wanted to be in a Gap commercial. I've mentioned before how I have a terrible sweating problem, so I refused to put my shirt on until the very last minute and had to keep explaining to the photographer that I had my shirt with me, and I'd put it on when she was ready. She claimed she was ready so I got dressed and 25 minutes later, as she was still setting up lights, my shirt was ruined.

My mom's one request before going into the studio was that she didn't want to sit on the floor. "It can be a casual picture, I just don't want to get on the ground." So of course, once we were ready to take our places the photographer said, "I want to try a few different things. To start, mom, why don't we have you lay here on the floor." and my mom happily agreed. The photographer arranged the rest of us and started to take the pictures, using different suggestions of things people might find exciting to get us to smile. The problem with this was that my dad finds everything exciting, and agrees with almost anything people say. So as she was using her smile technique, my dad kept turning around to tell us how great her ideas sounded.

Photographer: OK, Martin Family! You're going on a cruise!
Dad: Oh, a cruise girls! That sounds like fun!
Photographer: Mr. Martin, up here please. OK, and you just won the lottery!
Dad: Oh! Better get those tickets, today might be our lucky day!
Photographer: Just a smile please. Keep your head facing the camera. And, you're out at your favorite restaurant.
Dad: Oh, Jess, what was that place in San Francisco? The rolls!

By the end of the session the photographer was just saying "smile."

We took a whole bunch of cheesy family pictures and then my sisters and I wanted to take a few together, so the woman asked my mom and dad to get up and step aside. However, my mom had been seated on the floor for quite awhile, and her knees were not agreeing with her, so she was having some trouble getting up. Sabrina gave her a hand, but apparently my mom was just going dead-weight, so my dad rushed over to help, sort of lifting her from behind, as Bri pulled on her arms. By this point my mom was giddy, and she started to fall back a little so I went over to assist my dad and Sabrina but realized that my mom wasn't making any effort whatsoever to help herself up. Naturally, this made me burst out laughing as Nessa shouted at the photographer to take the picture. "This should be the family picture. Please take it!"

She didn't. But I'm thinking of having a portrait of the scene painted.


Anonymous said...

That damn laser background! It cost extra for that background and I was so excited the time my Mom let me upgrade from Generic Blue to the fancy laser one. In retrospect, that was a poor design choice on my part. There is no outfit that goes well with fake pink and blue lasers. Especially when you have red hair.

The really fancy package included a white wicker chair. If I had been raised by P.Diddy, I probably would had the deluxe package with the White Wicker chair. So, I'm adding that to my list of reasons I am glad I was not raised by a celebrity. Although, I suppose being raised by Wayne Gretzky would have helped my hockey game.

Jess said...

explain this wicker chair package to me. the school photo was taken of you on a wicker chair? or was a wicker chair given to you as part of the deluxe package?

I thought the Easter Bunny had exclusive rights to white wicker chair photos. was your elementary school photographer the Easter Bunny? or did you go to school at the mall? so many questions.

You raise a great point about the laser background outfit dilemma. I went with a shirt that had bright bedazzled lasers on it (not kidding) so the whole picture looked like I was caught in the tragic cross-fire of a neon space war.

oh, and i had a perm.

so, not like we're keeping score, but, i win.

Anonymous said...

You had me at bedazzled. You win.

The school wasn't actually a mall but, since we didn't have any malls around, the school board figured we wouldn't know the difference and called it a mall. Hoped to make it seem more exciting. It made things confusing when the movie mall rats came out. Equally as confusing when I went to 'Cuse and everyone kept asking if I wanted to go to the Carousel mall. I was like "No thanks, bitches, I'm through with classes for the day".

Side Note: Did you see the episode where Stella walks around in a bikini top? She's got like a 50 year old face on the body of a 17 year old. My entire wardrobe is now leather, as clearly it preserves the skin.

Jess said...

ha!! love it.

the mall/school thing is classic and makes total sense if you think about it.

gym=sporting goods
front office=information kiosk
cafeteria=panda express
and the technology labs were called Burlington Coat Factory. I don't know how that fits in, I kind of just wanted to type Burlington Coat Factory.

was the carousel mall the first mall in america to have a carousel? why do all malls have them? there's a documentary there, i think.

great effing call about stella. that was too funny. forget wayne gretzky as your guardian--an all-leather wardrobe is how you improve your game. didn't you ever see Mighty Ducks 6?

MFB said...

"we always wanted to be in a Gap commercial"

I'm just sayin'... it's in writing.