(Photo courtesy of Angela Pickett/Words by Ange)
Angela Pickett arrived home, excited because her son’s school portraits had finally arrived.
But when she looked at the photos, she noticed something was off—more specifically, two things.
The school had somehow photoshopped teeth into her son’s gapped grin.
At first, she was bewildered. “I didn’t realize he still had teeth in when the photos were taken,” she thought. After all, the photos were taken at the beginning of the year, and she had just started the semester taking care of two children who both went down with chicken pox. It seemed ages ago. But then she looked at the family photo taken at that time—his teeth were already out. She looked on the date of the photos to see if it was the wrong one—nope.
“His mouth had been photo-shopped with what looked like last year’s baby teeth swapped in,” she said.
“Some people might have been angry at this point but I was just baffled. Why would anyone think to do this? At what point did missing teeth because [sic] something to be ‘fixed’?” Pickett wrote on her blog.
This wasn’t an Instagram filter or brightening up a badly lit image, they had literally added teeth into his smile.
Pickett went on to explain that her son had actually been proud of these missing teeth.
“This is a kid who didn’t lose a tooth until he was almost seven. He’s not embarrassed by the gaps and wonky teeth, he’s excited because lost tooth = gold coin,” she wrote. He even called himself Gappy McGapster.
“He doesn’t notice the crooked new teeth because he’s a kid and he is more interested in basketball, hockey, Netflix or finishing his collection of Marvel disks—and what he can eat next.”
Pickett added that she had really bucky teeth herself as a child, and though she did get teased for it, she’s happy to have a photograph of herself in the 4th grade to memorialize that time.
“I want my son to be able look back over all his school photos and see how he has changed.”
She shared her story with friends, contacted the company and school, and found that everyone agreed with her assessment—this was wrong.
“I am glad I called them on it and while I heard a few similar stories from others,” she added in her blog. Their responses made it evident this was not the norm. “But had I not said anything, who is to say it wouldn’t become the norm?”
The photo company explained to her that in the past they had gotten complaints for not photoshopping out wrinkles and stains in clothing or bruises and messy hair, but this “teeth swap” was admittedly an error in judgement.
“Our kids are growing up with so much technology … that perhaps we do have to remind them (and ourselves) of the importance of imperfect authentic photos and memories—gappy teeth and all!”