Picture Day

First, let me admit something. I’m not a fan of most traditions. In fact, sometimes I am unreasonably reactionary about traditions. Usually, my thinking tends to be, “Why is it a tradition? And what’s the best way we can change it?” It’s not your problem, it’s mine. There may have been a time in history when they locked people like me in the crazy house.

I also know that there is a place for tradition, and that it is absurd to forsake tradition for the sake of it. I know that I am not a better person than someone who appreciates the beauty and historical relevance of some traditions.


Sometimes certain traditions act as metaphors for stagnation and a fear of change. Today, for instance, was our school’s picture day. I have a funny feeling our picture day is the same as yours across town, or hers in another province, or your niece’s in the other country, or your sister’s across the ocean, or … You get the picture, so to speak. Here are a few rhetorical questions I have about picture day.

Why have we never changed one iota about picture day since the advent of the camera? Why must we group everyone the exact same way, in the precise order, with the irrevocable sitting positions?

Why can’t we have students taking the photos? Portrait photography is an unendingly artistic endeavour. Why must we strip this away and depict it as a mechanistic act?

I don’t really expect answers to these questions. Nor is picture day something I’m passionate about and interested in leading change against. I just can’t help notice the symbolism of it all.


1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately, it seems that picture day day is about the eventual monetray transaction between the parents and the company taking the photographs…and the assumed kickback from the company and the school/board….I always take the posters that the photo companies use because they never choose kids that represent the faces in my school and it makes for an interesting teachable moment..

    I just had a great idea after reading your post..what about hosting a anti-photoday photoday (insert catchy catch phrase here)…we could bring in a bunch of digital cameras and have classes take pictures of each other..then we sort out who gets what photo (via email?) imagine the fun of a group of students having with cameras!

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