In a digital age, you'd think school photos would be a snap.
My youngest son's first-grade teacher stifled a giggle as she handed me an envelope of school pictures, discreetly turned image-side down. "You have to see this."
I flipped over the envelope. The photo in the glassine window showed my little guy frowning deeply, chin sunk against his chest and pupils rolled up as if he were inspecting the underside of his eyelids. The effect was a menacing glare you might find on one of those black-and-white-movie monsters, right before it bites off a chunk of skyscraper.
A girl squeezed between me and the teacher to sneak a look. "Ewww. He looks creepy."
I hid the envelope against my jacket and tried to ignore the smiling images being stuffed into backpacks all around me. "So when are retakes?"
Monster faces aside, I've always liked school pictures. There's something appealing about those tiny rectangles of photo paper marking the progression of time, teeth, and haircuts against a simple backdrop. As children gradually transform into their adult selves, some things remain constant – a persistent cowlick, an enduring flicker of personality, that same beautiful smile.