The saying that “a picture tells a thousand words” has never been more true than with the recent online criticism of a 2nd grade class photo from British Columbia in which a student who uses a wheelchair was photographed sitting off to the side, with a visible gap dividing him from everyone else.
The photographer, who was from an outside photo studio, posed the students in three, neat rows of benches with their teacher but placed Miles Ambridge, off to the side in his wheelchair. Miles, who has spinal muscular atrophy, is seen leaning as far as he can toward the other children with a smile on his face. You can see that photo here.
When his mother saw the printed photograph, she was deeply offended.
“I couldn’t comprehend how the photographer could look through the lens and think that [the original picture] was good composition. ... [T]his just boggled the mind,” said mother Anne Belanger, per the Toronto Star.
Guess the photographer just wasn’t thinking.
After having the photo published online in The Province, a virtual tidal wave of disapproval was directed at both the photographer and the school. Both publicly apologized and the photo studio, Lifetouch Canada, took a second class photo, in which Miles is seated on the bench, alongside his classmates. You can see the much more inclusive photo here.
Which gives us all something to think about.