Back to School Photos Chronicle a Lifetime of Bad Hair Days

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Back to School Photos: Santa Rosa High School

Hello Pro Photography Dreamers.

Back-to-school is upon us and this week my 17-year-old son starts his senior year in high school.  He is handling it way better than I am, I must say.

One of our traditions is to take a picture of him on the first day of every school year.  And we have — from first grade to 12th.  When I line them up and look at them, I see a kid who is smart, funny and can wear a private shcool uniform.  His weight fluctuates a bit from year to year, but he has never had a bad hair day (even in the year he went with a buzz cut, he looked fantastic).

In honor of back-to-school, I thought I would share a few of my school photos from my past – and maybe uncover some of the truth behind why I decided to become a photographer and spend my life behind the camera.

This is also a small step towards my dream goal of allowing myself to be photographed by others.

Back to School Photos Featuring Remy —

Back to School Photos: 1st Grade

Ah, first grade.  I remember being proud of my self for cutting my own bangs the night before this was taken.  Mom was horrified.  Just something about sitting in front of a bunch of fake books that makes a 6 year old look smarter than the average grade schooler, don’t you think?  For the record, I never buttoned my sweater up that high, ever.  Must have been a composure thing.

Back to School Photos: 3rd Grade

Third grade . . . and it’s obvious that the school photographer had no assistant this day to check for collars or have us look in a mirror to comb our hair.  My leap into being a Tom-boy had begun, apparently.  My parents tell me now that when this packet of pictures came home, they didn’t recognize this “sweet smiling little homeless girl” at first. I don’t remember hating this photo, but damn it, I should have.

This was the year I bought my first camera, and started hiding behind the lens.

Back to School Photos: 5th Grade

Fifth Grade . . . and still cutting my own bangs, apparently.  Photographers had long ditched the fake book background, and went with the swirling grey multi tone effect.  I guess they thought it would look equally as horrible on everyone’s hallway walls.  Its’ a bit tough to make out, but this photo actually chronicles the start of my girl mullet, which all tomboy girl softball players my age had at the time – trust me, it was ‘the’ look.

Back to School Photos: 8th Grade

8th Grade … Graduation photo.  EVERYONE who was anyone had this haircut, right? Well just because it was popular doesn’t mean it was a good idea.   Unfortunately, the choir like golden robes did little for my complexion.  I remember thinking that this wasn’t THAT bad of a photo – and actaully exchanged a few with friends the day the packet came home (something I hardly ever did).

I was really into photography at this point, taking my first SLR into high school, a Pentax ME Super.  Some of the photos I took of my friends were the ones they chose to use as their graduation photos, instead of these ones….and that made me more than good, it made me feel important and creative.

Back to School Photos: 11th Grade11th grade … Junior year in High School.  Bi-level melt down, horizontal stripes, and a perm.  Pretty much sums up that year for me – can you relate?  I found it strange that when I got this picture packet back in homeroom, I remember concisously thinking to myself,  “Wait a minute, I don’t look like that, these look horrible.”

Looking at them now, I see a girl who could do anything she set her mind to; lots of possibilities and promise.  No obstacles to anything.  And it makes me smile a little bit.

Back to School Photos: 12th Grade Senior Pics12th Grade Graduation Photo . . . First thing you should notice is shoulder pads.  And then pearls with the angora sweater.  I side stepped the traditional cap and gown, and went for the casual shot.  My parents were a bit disappointed, but I remember specifically that I hated myself in any sort of hat – motor-board counted as a hat, so I had to tell the folks that was not an option.  Still rockin’ the perm and bi-level, which means I was still playing softball.

I was one of the editors of my high school yearbook this year, with over a third of the photos in the book coming from my camera.  It wasnt hard to choose photography at this point – it was very validating and rewarding artistically – AND, I spent most of my time taking photos, not being in them.  At the time, that felt important.  Now, it just feels a little sad.  I was super critical of myself, and I see here that I shouldnt have been.

Do you have any school photos you are willing to share?

Over the next few weeks, I am going to have to write about one of my 2012 dream goals – “Be in photographs that other people take and share them.”

It will require me to put down the camera and be in front for a change.  I will have to hear the little inner voice that tells me that I”m not pretty enough, not thin enough, not photo worthy enough – and tell it to shut up for a while.

Are you with me dreamers?

Until next photo, (and our next bad hair day)


  • Lisa

    LOVE this post!

  • Cath

    Okay, here they are if I can make this work: 

    • remy

      Cath, I think we all need to chronicle our path to dreamer land…..thru photos….I love that you are in blue in everyone.  Gosh Brian looks like you. alot.  

      • Cath

        What’s interesting is the expression on my face in the older one on the far right.  I think my “thyroid face” showed up there but no one realized it.  When a thyroid is suffering a patients face has this “far away tired look” as my RN mother likes to call it.  I didn’t see it until I scanned this for your post and I look like I did in the Christmas photo from 2003 where my mother looked at me and said, “I think this picture shows that your thyroid is malfunctioning.”  And she was right.

  • Thanks for posting these, Rem!   I love how your smile gets bigger and brighter each year.  I also think that it opens up a pretty good question that we all might want to ask ourselves:  What do I hide behind and why?  I’ve been after you for years to be in more pictures (I still have a pic of you standing outside in the rain that we took on a drive outside of SR a lot of years ago and I cherish it) so I’m happy as a clam that you’re committing to using that idea as a goal.

    • remy

      Not fair Scott – you know me too well.  Cant believe you still have that photo from Kenwood.  I remember that day!  It was raining and I kept thinking “if we take this picture outside, my hair will get wet and THEN what?” crazy to think about it like that…thank you for being my friend thru all of it.  ox R

  • 8womendream

    Love this post Remy.  What a great way to make readers smile!

  • Dmcg

    Like this post very much, Remy

  • That inner voice kicks us down on a regular basis… thanks for sharing that you are planning to kick it back! I’ll help when I can with the process of getting you in front of the camera!