If you are an adult who insists in being in every photo with a child who wins a major chess award, I have some unfortunate news for you. You being in the photo makes it less interesting and less useful for PR, news stories and etc.
Before the entire world of chess coaches jumps down my throat, I am not saying you should never be in photos with your student. But it is very important that after they win something, that you make sure there are a few photos that are completely of the children themselves.
There is a common practice at Nationals that needs to end. It’s so bad that I don’t even bother taking photos of kids while they are on stage to receive their trophies anymore. What happens is that when a kid has won a major title, an adult, usually a chess politician of some sort, gives the trophy to the child and then puts their arm around the kid. Therefore the main photo-op of the child, when they have won their award and are on stage, is taken with an adult that has literally nothing to do with the child and completely ruins the photo.
Let’s take a look at the photo that has been spread around the Internet like wildfire after it was put on Instagram by Snoop Dogg:
As you can see, the above photo has gotten over two hundred thousand likes on Instagram, which is a lot of fantastic exposure for these girls to receive. However if you were to find the full photo, you would find a chess politician on the end that has been cropped out of the photo. What if this random adult was in the center of the photo and impossible to crop out? It would basically ruin a good photo that has generated a lot of exposure for some talented young chess players. It’s no accident this adult was cropped out, because it’s completely obvious that him being in the photo makes it a much worse photo.
To make a long story short:
– Whenever a kid comes on stage to receive a prize, the first photo opportunity she receives should be of just herself. US Chess Politicians should never ever be in a photo with the children. The only exception might be if this adult is a extremely well known chess celebrity.
– If you are a coach, I think you should try to promote more photos where it is just the child in the photo, instead of yourself and the child. This is the way I operate and I understand that other people are different. I have been forced into these kinds of photos with children I coached in the past and it always made me uncomfortable, and now I actively choose not to do it. Simply put, I’m an adult and they are children. It’s important to have the self awareness that your presence in the photo may make it less marketable. Let the child have their moment, and let all photos of them in the media be just of them.
– If you rationalize being in every photo of your children’s successful moments, because you think it affects your bottom line, then go ahead, although I personally think that it’s not cool to make that a priority. However I’m sure your students think fondly of you and are happy to see you get recognition. In some cases parents may even insist that you are in the photo out of respect and gratitude for the job you have done. But I can’t help the fact that I often find the presentation of these photos tacky, and I know that others do too. This is just something I’d like people to keep in mind. We are adults, and they are children.