With or Without a Mask? The Puzzle for the Class Photos 2020

While individual photos are taken almost normally, group photos are more problematic.

Health measures in schools also have consequences on an important “detail” for students: the traditional class photos

This is the day when you have to dress up. This morning, at the Bucaille-Charcot college in Cherbourg (Manche), the students have their portrait taken for the traditional class photos.

But this year, the health crisis requires compliance with a strict protocol. At the entrance to the room transformed into a studio for the occasion, the students line up in a single file, respecting the one-metre distance, enter through a door and exit through another.

They only remove their mask for the photo. “We count about a quarter of an hour per class, there are about twenty, it goes quite quickly,” says Céline Duval, CPE of the college, who manages the organization of the morning.

Group photo authorized … with the mask

If the individual photo does not pose any particular problem, it is for the group photo that the shoe pinches. “We had the choice between two solutions,” continues Céline Duval.

“We could take a group photo but with the masks, or a montage with the individual portraits of each, put on a nice background, to give that class photo aspect.”

At the Bucaille-Charcot college, the photo montage solution was chosen… even if some students might have liked to wear their most beautiful mask!

“Some young people told us that pictures with the mask on could have been fun, but in hindsight the parents probably wouldn’t have bought them.”

Another advantage: the pupils absent on D-day will thus be able to appear in the middle of friends and girlfriends since it will be enough simply to add their photo to those of the others.

And to avoid mistakes during assembly, the college has assigned a number to each which was transmitted to the photographer, just to prevent a student of 4eme is found in the middle of the 3eme inadvertently.

Faster for photographers

However, the situation has an advantage for photographers: they no longer waste time placing students in order to make the prettiest class photo possible.

In most cases, the group photo was simply cancelled by the establishments. Photography professionals must therefore adapt, as Ingrid d’Ogier, photographer in Carpiquet explains  :

“We call schools or colleges in advance to find out if they plan to take a group photo because if so, we have to come in pairs. This morning, we also received a cancellation call because half of the school was in quarantine… But hey, we adapt…”

Useful to know the students… without a mask

In this context, we can also wonder whether it would not have been necessary to wait for the health situation to improve to take these photos in good conditions. “The problem is that these photos are useful to us right now since we put them on Promote in trombinoscope mode “, adds Céline Duval.

 “There are students whose faces we have never seen, especially the 6th who have just arrived. Suddenly, we do not necessarily manage to recognize them. Imagine for music or plastic arts teachers, who only have them one hour a week.”

As for younger students, we also feel a hint of disappointment, as says Clovis, a student in class 5eme :

“It’s a shame that we can’t do it all together, it’s really missing. But it is sure that with the masks, it would have been really weird …”

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