What Was The Photographer Thinking?

wheelchair-parkingRecently, Melody and I read a news article about a little boy in a wheelchair who was having his yearly class picture made. Not a biggie, right? Wrong! Apparently, the little boy who was placed (by the photographer) far off to the side of  his classmates during the yearly photo, was never moved closer to the group.

This meant that when the picture was snapped, the child was seen in the picture but there was definitely a large space between the young boy and the other class members. The position and angle of the boy’s body as he leaned in to be seen in the picture were heartbreaking and gave many viewers, including myself, a sickeningly sad image. That is the short version of what happened as the class picture was taken.

If you read a similar news article, you may also know that the boy’s parents were greatly saddened, hurt, disappointed, and probably angry when they were shown this picture. Rightfully, they brought it to the attention of school officials, who looked into it. The article we read alluded to the fact that the large, well-known photography company balked at assuming responsibility but finally and begrudgingly offered to rectify the problem.

As a parent, I was hit with quite a few emotions regarding this situation. As a teacher, I could understand how the chaotic events of “picture day” contributed. But, as I tried to model my behavior, get a handle on my emotions, and give people the benefit of the doubt, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What on earth was that photographer thinking?”

I don’t want to point fingers or play the “blame game.” I just want to know what was going through the minds of the photographer and staff. I also want to know why this company reportedly hesitated to retake the picture.

What do you think? Comment to share your thoughts.

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  1. They weren’t thinking – that was the problem. I honestly don’t believe it was done with malicious intent, however, the impact was the same. I think they were in a hurry and it was just easier to set him to the side, but what is easiest is oftentimes not the right thing to do. Being segregated for any reason is not okay.

    I too have been in the middle of the chaos on picture day so I know how easy things like this can happen. We’ve all made errors in judgement in the past so I wouldn’t place blame on any one person for the mistake. I just think that as educators and parents – any adult – we need to always take an extra minute to think about the consequences of our actions.

    It’s my hope that everyone can learn from this mistake so it isn’t repeated. And that Miles wasn’t affected by the actions of the adults as much as the adults were.


  2. Tanya Miller says:

    I truly agreed that the student was intentionally separated. I looked at the pictures that my 3 boys bring home every year and I can assure you that they are not pictures perfect (running nose, milky mouth, reflections from eyeglasses and others). One of my kids is a beautiful chocolate color. When he takes the class picture, you can never see his face. Clearly, the photographer does not adjust the camera for this. One year, he mentioned it to me. Of course I had to carefully address the issue without making him feel bad. I told him like I telling you. Some people are just not good at their job. Some people are new to their jobs and it shows. Some people just don’t think and care. Then there is the person that do care. I pray that someone(parent, principal, photographer or teacher) requested that the picture be redone. Just like I think I will do.

    • Kit Singleton says:

      I do believe the last story I read about this stated that the picture was retaken and to my best knowledge it was satisfactory. 😉 Sorry you had a less than satisfactory experience. I believe that when enough parents bring a photographer or company’s competency to light, most school systems will contact the appropriate people to get things fixed up. Sometimes it may be a retake or it may go as far as hiring a different company/photographer in the future.