Picture Day Memories Prove Fun

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Montana Mooney, Reporter

If you attend Rider, there’s a good chance that as I’m writing this you are getting to experience all of the wonders of the oh so infamous picture day.

I myself have already gotten this year’s yearbook picture over with, thanks to my being a senior. Senior pictures were definitely in my top five least favorite pictures to take out of all of my twelve years of sitting uncomfortably in front of a cliche background with a camera facing me being operated by a complete stranger.

The entire process of taking senior yearbook photos was uncomfortable. Finding the Lifetouch building was challenging, and once in the building I was surrounded by large (very nice) pictures of friends and former peers. As a girl, I had to put on an odd grey skirt thing and pull it up above my chest, only to have it covered by the lovely black v-neck that ties way too many times in the back. All of that is worth it, though. Finally getting the pictures in the mail is exciting, even if you hate most of them. I found one that I liked in the whole group, and I used it. Easy as that, although it hasn’t always been that way. Many of my past pictures have not worked as smoothly.

I can still remember my kindergarten school picture. I can’t remember having the picture taken necessarily, but I vividly remember the night before. My mother’s first child’s very first picture day had to be perfect, and I guess she decided that meant I needed highlights. I think she knows better now than to make any really drastic appearance changes the night before picture day after sitting for hours on our couch, attempting to pull my incredibly thick hair through a shower cap type contraption full of holes (for a more natural highlighted look, I suppose) using a painful utensil that seemed to destroy my scalp. It seems like that picture day memory really set the tone for how the next 12 picture days in my life would go. Joy.

Up until about sixth grade, many of my pictures seemed to be in the Ben Franklin Elementary yearbook twice. Why? I had a sister, and my mother was one of those moms that felt it necessary to dress her children identically on picture day, even if that meant striped turtlenecks and bows on top of our heads that were almost as large as our faces or curly hair and furry green vests.

My mom was also a fan of “enhancing” our features by means of lipstick and mascara. Not so much to where we were Barbies, but enough to make me feel like one. You can’t even tell in any of the pictures, but as a child my mother’s picture day “enhancements” just really bugged me. I think it all just went downhill after the whole highlighting incident.

The worst part of picture day has to be the actual photo taking process. The entire 3-minute, smiling until your face twitches uncontrollably, dry eyed stare without a single blink until the photographer finally takes the picture, struggling to keep your hand off of your itchy nose, photo taking process. While getting the picture taken and the photographer tells you to tilt your head to the right while pulling your chin up and placing your hand on your hip, they may as well be saying to pull your foot up to your shoulder and juggle chainsaws. It’s impossible to take a picture without feeling completely uncomfortable, no matter how “natural” the picture is supposed to seem.

Picture day is easily one of the most awkward days of every school year. It only lasts a few minutes, but between outfit planning and fake smiling, it’s just a painful experience. Some of my very worst pictures have turned into some of the very best stories, though, and ten or twenty years from now I’ll get to relive every hectic, highlighted, lip-stick covered memory of my childhood that I left lingering in a book next to all of the beautiful people I spent twelve of the best years of my life with.