Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Issue with Photographing the Oddly-Reluctant Child

You've all seen Samantha's photos here on my blog, on Facebook, on Instagram and, perhaps, way back in the past, on Flickr.  If I must say so myself, she's very photogenic - beautiful, composed, and cooperative, a ready, warm smile so often lighting up her face.

But that's generally only when I take her photo. 

Just me.

Ask her to cooperate with anyone else for a picture, be it for an informal ID, a class photo, or a school project, she crosses her arms, lowers her head and her eyes, pouts and shuts down.  Samantha?  you may ask, incredulously.  Certainly, not her!  Yeah, you would think.   

It's this weird phenomenon that I have not been able to explain.  It makes pretty much no sense.  Even her beloved 1st grade teacher tried to take her photo for a silhouette project the class was doing for President's Day in February, and she wouldn't cooperate with her, either, not even in an empty classroom on a weekend with me present.  Seriously, we tried everything.  And because Sammi knew that it was for that project, just. because., she wanted nothing to do with it.

The photo below, from an impromptu opportunity at some kid's expo to get an ID printed for her a couple of years ago, is a prime example.  It just doesn't get any better than that - I may hold on to it just to use it against her one day when I need her compliance during the tempestuous teen years.  Blackmail might just work.

 
So naturally, I was apprehensive when I needed to take her last week to our local post office to turn in her passport renewal forms and have her photo taken for her new passport.  She had been photographed for her previous passport at the tender age of 7 months, just prior to a trip to England.  It was a little awkward going back to England again when she was nearly 5 years old, as her original photo looked nothing like her anymore.  And I just could picture the conversation that would ensue on our next trip, as immigration agents looked from the sullen, miserable vision of the child I knew would be peering out of her new passport book, to the lovely, semi-cooperative traveler standing before them, unsure that it is the same child, chuckling to themselves as they wondered how she could live with that horrendous passport photo for the next 5 years, stretching into the combustible, hormonal, uber-sensitive pre-teen years.  I would suspect the necessity at some point of that book becoming conveniently lost...
 
So, as I stood before the gentleman in the passport office, signing papers, Samantha sat on a chair behind me playing a game on her tablet.  The man got up, came around his desk, and said, "Okay, time to take the picture." 
 
Poor man, had no idea what was in store, I thought.
 
Samantha looked up, said, "Now?" and closed her tablet cover, hopped off her chair, sat herself like a prim and proper little lady on the stool in front of the generic white backdrop...
 
...and smiled.
 
 
Wait a sec...is this my child?? 
 
Amazing.
 
After sitting happily for 2 identical shots, she stood up, put her arm around the man's shoulders, and asked to see the photos he had just taken, which he was pleased to show her.
 
And, to sweeten it even further, two days later was her school's open house, where she got to go to her new classroom, meet the teacher, and have a look around.  Her new teacher asked us to come a half-hour early, knowing that she may become a bit overwhelmed once the event actually started and students, parents and bags and bags of supplies began to stream in.  The teacher wanted to take her photo for a project she was working on, and would be photographing each of the children in turn.  Samantha cheerfully stood where she was asked, flashed her most beatific smile, and even pulled me into a couple of shots once the desired image had been captured.
 
Hmmmm...
 
Does this mean that I may not need to take and submit my own photo of her again (standing in our first floor powder room where the walls are a similar shade of purple to the school photo backdrop) for this year's yearbook?  I can only hope...but based on her reaction to the whole of the first day of school yesterday, I won't hold my breath.

13 comments:

Anna said...

Great post Becca! I'm hoping all the photographing anxiety is all in the past. Maybe we can move on?! Some issues are so draining. Thank you for keeping it real.

Lisa said...

Too funny! Cate is happy to have her picture taken but as decided that a "smile" is this head tilt, chin squish and show every tooth grimace smile.

Stephanie said...

Her ID picture is pretty funny--definitely fodder for teen teasing. Owen likes to have his photo taken, but I have to be goofy behind the camera to do it. Normally I have to sing a song that he loves to get a really good smile out of him. Then he HAS to immediately see the photo. Thank goodness for digital cameras!

Becca said...

Yes!!!! Whatever did we do without digital cameras! Samantha always wants to see the pics. :-)

Becca said...

Draining is right. It's such a seemingly *small* issue in the grand scheme of things, which is possibly what makes it doubly-frustrating.

Becca said...

Draining is right. It's such a seemingly *small* issue in the grand scheme of things, which is possibly what makes it doubly-frustrating.

wendy said...

This summer Claire finally started getting a little more cooperative with getting her pictures taken, hopefully it's an upward trend! Such a cute picture of Samantha!

Sharon Edwards said...

Such a funny ID picture! Well, you definitely get some great pics of her -- I love looking at all of them.

Kerri Ames said...

You should see Boo's passport picture. Thankful the INS did not give us too much trouble about it. I can never get her to look at the camera. Any good photos are simply luck on our part.

Out One Ear - Linda ATwell said...

Love this Rebecca! Kids will surprise you. That's for sure. And I'm so glad Sammi got a good passport photo. My mother would be on your side--she ended up buying a second passport in less than two years. The first photo looked more like Ma Kettle's mug shot. She must have changed it because all her adult children teased her unmercifully. Well, and because she remarried. That might have been it too. But back to Sammi. You are not biased when you say she is adorable. She is. And I love every single photo you snap. Thanks so much for participating in Share Your Story Sunday. I had not read this one yet. It made me smile.

Kristi Campbell said...

I actually love the ID photo - adorable! Glad she got over her photo anxiety - kids are so confounding that way. Mine recently started making these really silly faces that are not what I want to capture (I want that adorable smile!). He squints up his eyes and wrinkles his head...sigh. Here's hoping he gets over that like Samantha did!
(visiting from Linda Out One Ear's FB hop - so glad I did)

@dkotucker said...

I absolutely LOVE the ID card photo!!! That is definitely a keeper.

These days R grits his teeth while yelling "cheeeeeeeez"! Getting a passport pic was an adventure...we have to stay "neutral". Yea. That was fun. Haahaa!

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Awww. I love this post and am too tickled by that ID picture. I would have love to have taken my photo for my last drivers license photo for all I went through to get it. Love your blog name too. Found you in the Out One Ear facebook linkup.