Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Second-graders Ryder Turner (in mirror) and Daniel Dalrymple work on their hair in a mirror before their turn to be photographed at Lyle Elementary School in Dallas Sept. 28.
October 09, 2012
POLK COUNTY -- "Hi, Connor. How ya' doing?"
First-grader Conner Kacmarynski offers some silent and annoyed resignation as he plods over to a backdrop and lighting setup during picture day at Monmouth Elementary School.
"OK, Connor. Let me see that smile!" beams photographer Walter Scott from behind the lens. "Say 'cheese!'"
Scott presses on.
"Say 'Chuck E. Cheese!'"
Kacmarynski tries, but can't suppress a laugh. Scott gets the shot he needs and Kacmarynski returns to frowning.
"I didn't think (the smile) was going to happen," Scott said with a chuckle as he greets his next student.
"Jack! Let's see that new tooth!"
The scene played out in elementary school gyms and classrooms across Polk County more than a few times last week: students lined up in alphabetical order, the last-minute hair brushing or collar adjustments, and invitations to flash those pearly whites.
To be certain, some like Kacmarynski could have done without picture day. Most, however, cooperated with the time-honored tradition. Devon Bobeda, an MES second-grader, seemed genuinely excited.
"I just like it," said Bobeda, clad in a green, long-sleeve shirt and tie that he said he picked himself. "My mom said `don't wear a
Lifetouch photographer Brittany Scott works to coax a smile from a student during pictures Sept. 28 at Lyle Elementary in Dallas.
Scott, who owns and operates Creative Eye Photography in Sheridan, did photos at MES and Independence Elementary School last week, as he has for the last 15 years.
Scott started out as an entertainment-industry freelance photographer in Los Angeles almost 30 years ago. He took a portrait studio gig to help out a loved one and wound up doing school photos as part of his job ever since.
"For me, this is going out to play," he said. "Kids will give you what's on the inside; if they're happy, you'll see it in their eyes.
"And you'll get those children who are scared or afraid," he continued. "You just got to push their buttons."
That means being lighthearted, goofy, soft-spoken, boisterous and all of the above -- and trying to elicit the right response in 10 to 15 seconds.
"You got to play around with them," said Lifetouch photographer Brittany Scott (no relation to Walter) during a shoot at Lyle Elementary School in Dallas in late September.
Like clockwork, second-graders passed through a high-tech backdrop she could manipulate on a computer like a greenscreen.
"With kindergartners, you give them a word to say -- `monkey, candy, Pepsi,'" she said. "With boys, `stinky feet' works pretty well for boys."
Most people have images of school picture day -- at least for the younger set -- involving crowds of children in their Sunday best.
While there were probably more sweaters, dresses and vests being worn in area elementary schools on this week, those are exceptions to the rule, Scott said.
"Culturally, we've changed," he said. "Society is a lot more casual than it used to be.
"And a lot of families don't have time to spend," he continued. "They got to get out the door, they have two minutes in the morning, they throw some toast at the kids and think `I can live with what they're wearing.'"
Misty Mahan of Monmouth showed up to see her son, Dennis, get his picture taken at MES. She helped him touch up his hair at the last minute.
"I let him wear his favorite shirt," Mahan said. "I want him to look good, not like he was roughed up on a playground or something."
Samantha Henderson is a kindergarten teacher at MES and also has a son there. For her, school pictures are a snapshot in history.
"Sometimes the `bad' pictures are better than the good ones, for the memories of it," she said with a laugh. "And I tell my students to try and show their teeth because they'll all look different when they're older."