Blog - patward

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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

Just a simple blog to allow me to muse about whatever is on my mind, and hopefully entertain and/ or give you something to think about.

The Image on the Wall
The Image on the Wall

Say hello to my Mom.  This is her senior portrait.  The first time I saw it was hanging on the wall of my Grandparent's farmhouse living room.  I looked at it every time we visited.  She is the eldest of six kids, and each of them had a senior picture hanging on that wall.

The senior portrait experience has changed a bit from 1956, when this image was taken.

Her senior class was loaded onto a bus (there weren't many of them), driven to the photography studio in town, and photographed.  The studio provided the jewelry and the black shoulder drape for each of the girls.  There was no makeup artist, no hair stylist.  They sat down, were posed by the photographer, and got one picture.  Click - NEXT!  I can't imagine that it took more than an hour to shoot the whole class and load them back on the bus.  The 8x10 of Mom on the wall was the only print I ever saw.

What I remember about my own "senior session" in 1976 consists of my putting on a jacket and tie, being posed on a stool, and having a few images taken.  I don't really remember the studio, the photographer, or anything else about it.  I think we bought an 8x10 (still on the wall at Mom's house) maybe a couple of 5x7's for grandparents, and some wallets.  We swapped wallets with friends at school back before cell phones made that pretty much obsolete.

Today, things are much different, as you're aware.  These days, at a minimum, kids are getting a couple of outfit changes, and some studio time and outdoor location(s).  I shoot them with their pets, their cars or trucks, in uniforms, with musical intstruments, you name it.  It can be a whole afternoon of shooting and some folks get multiple sessions - spring and fall.  The experience is on par with a magazine shoot for a celebrity - and that's a great thing.  I love providing that for my seniors.   My hope is that they remember it for the rest of their lives.

Families buy big canvas prints to hang on the walls, they get beautiful albums with 20 or more images, which is amazing.  

But in the end, every time I shoot a senior, I think about my Mom's single image.  It reminds me that the REAL goal is to provide my seniors and their families - current and future - with images that make them stop and look and get the same feeling I got as a kid looking at her image on the wall.

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