Smile for the camera
Back in the day, as the hipsters used to say before we oldsters got a hold of the phrase, I was the photographer for my high school yearbook. I came into the job with no particular experience. My best friend was the editor, and she convinced me it would be fun.
The yearbook adviser was a hands-off kind of guy. He handed me the manual and a camera. For the camera, he had a piece of advice that has served me well over the years: "It's expensive. Don't break it." The manual might have explained how to take pictures or how to develop them. I wouldn't know because I never read it. My peers taught me whatever skills I may have acquired.
I learned to develop film through trial and error. I enjoyed developing, and I learned to adjust the chemistry and lighting for the best effect, sometimes correcting lighting deficiencies in the original photo, sometimes finding ways to enhance the strong points in a picture.
Though I was intimidated by my ignorance in the beginning, I was grateful in the end that the instructor assigned to the class spent most of the class time reading the local paper. That was more difficult than it sounds because the local paper was a weekly affair that consisted of only four pages, including advertisements.
My yearbook teacher found ways to stretch that paper to cover all the classes he taught for the week. He didn't only read the paper in the other classes; he had a few other hobbies.
Another favorite way of making the time pass was pulling his eyebrow hairs down to his cheekbones and twirling them. All the while he would peek through the hairy mass to see if anyone was looking. I had quite an education.
In my day, there were two or three of us who took all the pictures for the book. A professional photographer came in to take school pictures for each student, and we used those for the class pages.
The yearbook photo was the same style for all. For the girls, that meant we were wrapped up in a fuzzy shawl. We chose the color, the photographer took the picture and that was our official yearbook photograph.
I then took the 20 some-odd photographs of the students in my class and laid them out on a grid to formulate a page. I penciled in names and instructions. After all the pages were finished, we boxed them up and sent them off, hoping the yearbook would turn out as we hoped it would.
It was so easy then. Many schools now have students choose which picture to submit. In Colorado, one girl submitted a photo more suitable to racier venues than to the school yearbook. The yearbook staff turned it down. Two more tries met the same fate. The ensuing attention may have been the ultimate goal as the girl got her 15 minutes of fame compliments of the media. Claiming that her rights to free expression had been violated, she threatened to sue the school.
Our homeschool has no official yearbook. I've pretty much given up on photo albums. Brian is the photographer for our brood, and I tease him that he takes more pictures of the animals than he does of the children. At least he doesn't have to worry that the goats will sue over their First Amendment rights.