Monday, April 28, 2014

Graduation is an event, so what's the story

If after four or more years of high school or college this is the photo you pull the camera out for and then put it away you will be sorely disappointed.

We often put way too much emphasis on the event and not enough on the story. The story for college graduation starts long ago many times. There are many ways to tell the story, but the celebration story can be a series of images which at least capture more than one moment.

When all the hats are thrown in the air at a military school at the end of graduation most of the hats stay on the floor. Those students are tired of wearing their cover.

My daughter really wanted to have her brother's hat from The Citadel. We couldn't find the hat at all. We looked and looked. What we thought might be two or three minutes turned into a lot more time.

When my step son asked his younger sister what she was doing he just walked across the floor and in less than a minute found his hat and gave it to his sister.

This was one of the many stories we had through the weekend.

We took some family photos to show we were all there for the big day. We were all excited that our son had graduated.

Here he is with one of his best friends while he was in school. We remember him coming home and asking what is it with New Jersey. Well his mother is from there and I went to junior and high school there as well.

As you can see there is another story of another relationship I was capturing that weekend. Hopefully you are seeing that sometimes you need some words with the pictures to complete the story.

The Long Gray Line—Pat Conroy wrote about his experiences at The Citadel and being part of the Long Gray Line. The Long Gray Line refers to the men and women who have graduated from the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. Seniors march single file across Summerall Field in their final parade as cadets.

While not a story, I did put the photos together in a slide show for us to remember the weekend events.

I believe a series of images will do a better job than one photo to capture the event more completely. Maybe you can interview your graduate on video and combine this with photos of their time at college and if you capture why they came to this college and what they learned from the experience you will have a story.

You could also put this together in a book. We did this with our son when he graduated from high school.

You can take a photo or you can try and capture the story through a series of photos. I hope you see that the photo of the back of the head of a graduate pales as compared to the complete package.