Oh, Snapshot! / by Courtney Mehlhaff

So apparently it's senior picture time. On every recent visit to the riverfront on a semi-clear day, I've been surrounded by youngsters in their hippest threads looking for the perfect light.

I don't blame them. It's a beautiful location and an even more beautiful season to capture what will likely be the best their thighs will ever look. 

The equally young, hip, freelance photographers trailing behind them are a far cry from the stuffy, traditional studio I visited back in the day for my pics. I brought with me three outfits and an extra pair of glasses, minus the lenses, so I wouldn't have to dip my head forward. That flash glare was a real problem. Every previous school picture made me look like I either had a severe neck injury or was silently plotting someone's death.  

The only drawback of this empty frame workaround was that I'm pretty much helpless without my prescription. So the photo shoot went like this:

Photographer: "Ok, now stand next to the window."

Me: (squinting) "There's a window?"

It turned out fine, my somewhat bewildered poses on cheesy sets. There was a window.  There was also a ladder and a chair where I sat with my guitar. That last one cements my nerdiness, but honestly (and inexplicably) was the most popular selection among my classmates.

I know my parents were happy with them, unlike the mom I observed from a riverside park bench a couple weeks ago. To get that special angle, she goaded her daughter into wedging herself in the crook of a rather tall tree. The girl awkwardly got a leg up but couldn't quite make it the rest of the way. As she begged for help getting down, her mother apologized ... to the photographer. 

"I'm really sorry about this. She can't do it. If it was my other daughter, it would be no problem."

EXCUSE me, madam. She just gamely attempted to climb a tree for you without complaint. Do not publicly shame her for not having the agility of a spider monkey, while implying that you love her sister more. 

These are things I should say out loud sometimes. Picture that.