NEGATIVE

Every spring, the Montessori that we send our daughter to hosts an annual benefit auction. In addition to items donated by local businesses and parents, the students in each grade level work collectively on a project. Last week, I made portraits of all of the upper elementary students as part of what they’ve been working on. After editing, I shared the files with the teacher via Dropbox so that she could have prints made. Easy right? Wrong!

This same teacher called me this evening from the Walgreen’s near the school to tell me that the person working there deemed my pictures ‘too good’  for one-hour prints. Was it because the kids weren’t centered in the frame? Was it the absence of feigned enthusiasm on their faces? Regardless, the photo “professional” informed the teacher that I would have to come into the store (a 15 mile drive each way) and sign a release form before printing could commence. When I asked to speak to him, I heard him tell her that voice authorization wasn’t good enough. This is so ridiculous that it’s funny. I mean, there is nothing watermarked in the images or buried in the metadata that would link the photographs to me or to my finger (the real picture taker)! Yet, somehow signing my name to a piece of paper would make it all okay.

That said, I have a better idea:

Dear Walgreen’s Associate,
The children pictured above were, indeed, photographed by me and submitted to you for output. If you don’t believe that these are the same kids (I censored their faces for obvious safety and privacy reasons),  you’ll have to drive over to the school and see for yourself—I had the pictures printed at Meijer instead. The price was better, the people were friendlier, no one questioned my identity or my integrity and, best of all, I didn’t have to sign a thing!
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4 Responses to “NEGATIVE”

  1. Don Boys Says:

    Tom,
    Don’t take offense. I’ve had my work questioned similarly when a relative tried to get prints, and I am no where near the professional you are. (Actually it gave me some status in the family.)
    Don

  2. Outrageous! What I failed to mentioned was that this was the second time for me. A few years ago, I hosted a two-day family photo shoot as a fund raiser for the school and one parent emailed me to say that Walgreen’s refused to print her Christmas card. In that instance, a printed copy of my reply to her was enough to unclench the iron fist.

  3. Love love love this!

  4. Your book ‘Uncovered’ graces my ‘special books’ shelf on the mid north coast of NSW, Australia. I found it in a tiny bookshop in Adelaide whilst away for work – I bought one for a creative friend… and then the next day I went back and bought one for myself! Having left my job to look after our two small children, I pull the book out every now and then to keep me inspired to look outside the square, even within the everyday monotony that can become life – and now to find you online with fresh images is a real treat. Thank you Thomas Allen!

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