School memories come rushing back


I like to dabble in photography from time to time. I’ve taken photos of my daughter playing in the yard, my stepson’s senior pictures and candid photos of my family that turn into posed smiles when they notice me in the corner with my macro lens.

I edit some images in Photoshop for lighting and levels, but never have I fixed a crooked smile or an enduring birthmark. Those little so-called imperfections are what make our kids who they are.

Apparently, one photographer didn’t see it that way.

When Australian mom Angela Pickett got her son’s school pictures back, she noticed something off. Instead of a toothless gap, he had a mouth full of teeth.

In her blog, Pickett wrote about how she didn't realize, when seeing the photos, he still had teeth at the time the photo was taken. However, she quickly realized, after looking at his recent class photo, that last year's baby teeth had been photoshopped in.

Of course, her post went viral and the media went wild.

The company apologized, said it was a training issue and that it should never have happened. But Pickett’s story brings up an interesting point. Our kids see edited images online, in magazines and on TV of models and celebrities. If you ran into some of these idolized people in person, you may not even recognize them.

I distinctly remember a photo of me from second grade: a slight overbite, crooked smile and straggly bangs in my eyes. Would it have looked more appealing in a magazine if my teeth were straightened and my fly-aways were erased? Probably. But it’s who I was — an awkward girl who would eventually outgrow her gangly, clumsy arms and legs, crooked teeth and thin hair.

Now, when I look in the mirror and see both my flaws and strengths meddled together, I hope my daughter will see that it’s not about being perfect. The scar on her chin from stitches, the rosiness to her cheeks and her scattered curls on her head are what make her...well...her.

Like Angela Pickett, I want those little quirks captured in photos so I can remember them for a lifetime — even when the empty spaces are eventually replaced with permanent straight teeth.


Jen Schneider is a local middle school teacher and mom to two children.

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