Saturday, April 7, 2012

Privacy Gone Too Far (?) Leads to Offensive Photographic Methods?

Photo and story borrowed from WPLG News,

Parents call school photo 'offensive, degrading'

Child's face replaced with cartoon-like head

It's a school picture that makes jaws drop at just one glance.

More than a dozen students in Eileen Diaz's Second Grade Class at Sawgrass Elementary are grouped together in three neat rows.

Some are smiling, some are not and one doesn't even appear human.

Right smack in the middle of the photo is a cartoon-like head placed on the shoulders of a boy where his  face would be.

People who saw it called it "offensive" and "degrading".  Parent Gabriella Cans, whose son is just a toddler, said she felt sorry for the boy and believes the image is humiliating.


So, how did it get there?

Broward County Schools directed us to the Davie-based private company that took the photo.

David Claussen and his wife own Broward County Pictures which they say has been in the school picture-taking business for 37 years.

He didn't want to speak on camera, but off camera said the last thing he ever wanted to do was offend. In fact, he thought it was odd himself.

As he tells it, after the picture was taken a liaison with the Parent Teacher's Association, that helped organize the photo shoot at the school, notified them that two of the students pictured needed to be removed because their parents did not sign a consent form.

Claussen said he was able to use the photo editing software Adobe Photoshop to lift one of the kids out, but had explained to them that there was a problem with the second student. He was sitting in the front row, right in the middle.

He showed me the notes he had written down on a white piece of paper as the pair discussed what to do. He said he would have gladly come out there to reshoot the image. Instead there was talk about putting a star over his face and then, he said,  the P.T.A. asked him to place a smiley face.

He's never received a request like that before. In the nearly four decades he's been in business he told Local 10 he's never done such a thing.

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