Unusually Happy Children

There was something about the children pictured in the photo attached to this CBC story about Kindergarten registration that made me think “those don’t look like real Prince Edward Island children.”

Screen shot of CBC news story showing photo of children.

I’m not sure what it was – were they too happy? sitting too attentively? equipped with unusual musical instruments? – but it turns out I was right: the children are generic Preschool Children in a Music Class from iStockphoto:

Screen shot of iStockphoto.com showing the original source of the CBC photo.

As such, I’m not sure what editorial role the photo plays.

Kudos to TinEye: it was their tool I used to get to the bottom of this. You’ll find the same children also gracing the front page of the Best Evidence Encylopaedia in the UK.


Isaac Grant's picture
Isaac Grant on January 12, 2010 - 19:35 Permalink

Setting aside the use of iStock, i wouldn’t say those children are unusually unhappy — I was in a room of similarly happy children this morning who were enjoying the work of Mike Pendergast, the local Music Man.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 12, 2010 - 22:15 Permalink

Sure, in your chichi uptown schools the children are allowed to be openly happy. Over on our side of town we observe an appropriate degree of reserved sullenness.

Leila Boujnane's picture
Leila Boujnane on January 13, 2010 - 00:00 Permalink

Hi Peter: thanks for the TinEye tip of the hat! Given that they have me locked up in a basement working away 23 hours a day I have no idea how children look in chichi or non-chichi neighbourhoods. I would have to take your word for it :) -

johnny's picture
johnny on January 13, 2010 - 02:16 Permalink

Even our children over here in the ghetto are pretty happy, especially when the Music Man is in the house. They do seem to be somewhat dirtier than the kids in the stock photo, sort of like jolly street urhcins.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 13, 2010 - 08:06 Permalink

That’s appalling. The local news team can’t find a local kindergartener? Is there anything they know about PEI from personal experience?

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on January 13, 2010 - 13:48 Permalink

Protection of privacy legislation makes it very difficult to obtain and use pictures of actual PEI children…permissions must be sought, etc. With CBC’s limited resources, that would be too time consuming.
Though I guess that does beg the question: why use a picture at all if it’s not an actual picture of what you’re talking about?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 13, 2010 - 15:15 Permalink

At the beginning of every school year we have been asked to sign a “release” to allow images of Oliver (our Oliver, not commenter Oliver!) in the media. So I assume, should an actual photo of actual Island children be required in a school it’s a simple matter of getting the “released” children in a corner together.

But I agree, why use a picture at all in this case.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 13, 2010 - 18:44 Permalink

Also photos in which a child isn’t identifiable as him or herself are bound to be kosher even without releases—as in a photo facing the teacher from the back of a class, which would show the array of attentive little heads. Would have better fitted the story too.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 13, 2010 - 18:58 Permalink

Or PEI kids lined up at a bus stop. The CBC doesn’t have a stock of photos like that of its own? What’s it been taking photos of all these years? Unless a fire destroyed the archives, I suppose it could be about the rights of the photographers who took the PEI photos on file and the cost of reusing them—as opposed to the bargain price of a generic from a giant online clearing-house. Or it was a fudge committed under deadline duress or by mistake. I’d like to know how often this is done.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 13, 2010 - 19:05 Permalink

Does the CBC even know anything about that photo beyond iStock’s representations about it? Who is responsible and vouches for what it appears to depict? In what sense does it deserve to appear under the CBC banner and CBC auspices? Could it be a product of Pixar, Photoshop a kidnapping?

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on January 13, 2010 - 19:52 Permalink

This story was not done for TV — hence no pictures were captured in connection with the actual event. So, without an image, what do you do? Go to your own archives? Unless the photos are very recent and you are sure they are of children in the right age range, they just become pictures of random children — which is what they already have.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 14, 2010 - 00:46 Permalink

Sorry—I forgot the CBC is not a print medium. Of course, as this unseemly event illustrates it sort of is now. It might be nice if the CBC had a relationship with the Guardian such that they could draw on their photo archive. Traditionally newspapers subject-index stories and photos, so that you could look up “kindergarten” and be sure you had the right subject—at least to the extent you trust the news team and the librarian. Does Canadian “fair use” not allow the publish a photo from the Guardian (with credit to the author and original publisher, say) that a reporter or intern turns up in a keyword search of the public library archives? It ought to be a 3 minute operation somebody could do from their desk at the CBC. I mean, if they still have desks.

Kerry's picture
Kerry on January 14, 2010 - 14:52 Permalink

As I understand it, Peter, parents at Prince Street School were not asked to sign blanket releases this year because the Eastern School District told schools not to do that anymore. Which makes it much more difficult for reporters to go in and get pictures because you have to call days in advance to have the permission slips sent home, signed, and returned.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 15, 2010 - 01:53 Permalink

When we were first presented with a release I checked off the “No” box as I have since. It is none of the educational corporate entity’s business to use my child’s image to flog their wares and agendas. Funniest thing was someone actually called us to let us know “we forgot to say yes” to the release. Best outcome was the teacher who responded by telling the children to draw themselves and that was used that year in the hallway.