Every once in a while I get a ill-advised bee up my butt to take a family picture. It usually happens after over stimulating myself with hundreds of gloriously coordinated outfit Pins or an evening of jealously drooling over a Facebook post of some perfectly coiffed family cavorting in a sun dappled meadow.
The first time we did Family Pictures, I turned to the nostalgic days of Yore, when my mother diligently scheduled those bi-annual, meticulously poised, perfectly lit masterpieces. While discussing family pictures, my dear husband also brought out wallet-sized pic after wallet-sized pic with that teeny gold foil script delicately emblazoned on each corner. Ah, the glory of Olan Mills!
“Yes!” I though triumphantly, “THIS is what we must do!” Screw those overdone, outdoor shots with cheeky props, cowboy boots, and matching headbands! Olan Mills can artfully capture our loving family in that timeless pose of Hallway Family Pictures Everywhere. You know the one—bright smiling siblings grouped together, heads tilted at odd angles, with that lovely grey background that fades to almost white in the center. They might even be able to superimpose my son’s drooly, smiling face up in the corner. Ahh, sweet memories!
Naturally, fueled by a bottle or two of wine, we were convinced we needed to carry on the family tradition. And, the sweet urgency of our buzz made us think that this needed to be done ASAP! So I grabbed my phone, Googled Olan Mills and booked an appointment the next day.
Fun Fact: Olan Mills now resides in K-Mart.
Now, I was under the impression that all K-Marts had gone the way of Mervin’s and Robinsons May. But, alas, I was wrong. So very, very wrong. K-Mart is still alive and well in North County San Diego. So, amid the blue-light specials and poorly lit dressing rooms, my family awkwardly posed for our first family pictures.
All I can say about this experience is F*ck That Sh*t! I should have followed my snotty, Target-loving instinct and hightailed it out of there at the first sign of the optional laser lights and the broken three-legged stool that they swore wouldn’t fall over if I “just sat on it right”. The props were hideously stained and I am pretty sure my sweet baby boy contracted bird-flu-gangrene-hand-foot-and-mouth disease from the ratty, snot covered bear the photog shoved next to him before I could dive in and rip it from his chubby clutches. Oh, the Purell Bath that ensued…
It took nine god-awful poses, three background changes and a fight with the “photographer” (who was back on Checkstand 2 the second we made a break for the door) over the fact that we did not, in fact, want the extended 42 picture package that included a picture mug, picture mouse pad, picture collage, picture umbrella and an As Seen On TV Singing Bass. The air outside those broken automatic doors never smelled so fresh!
This was the first and last time we will EVER do anything in nod to nostalgia. From then on out, my husband and I have embraced our suburban-ite, hipster-wannabe, trendy out-door-picture-loving side.
We might even wear cowboy boots at our next photo-frolic through the park. Long live the bandwagon!