Thursday, October 04, 2007

Senior Portraits

It's a milestone, a rite of passage, an American tradition.

In every yearbook of every American high school, there's a "senior section," graced by student portraits that are bigger and fancier and glossier than those of the underclassmen. Having senior portraits taken is something that students either eagerly anticipate or dread (often divided along gender lines), but it is a milestone event and it signifies the beginning of a jam-packed senior year -- to be followed by other important anticipated events like the homecoming football game (tomorrow!) and the homecoming dance (Saturday!), the senior prom, and ultimately (next spring), graduation and grad night.

Yesterday, Aleks and Kat had their senior portraits taken. We've been through this before with Elisabeth and Peter, but with twins, possibly because I know it's the last time we'll do this, it felt more poignant.

They're seniors! They're almost 18! When did this happen?! Am I going to get this sentimental and wistful at every senior event? (They'd kill me!)

Kat, whom the camera seems to love (and who loves it right back), was in her element. She can smile (genuinely!) , pout, and smirk on command and "danced" perfectly with the flirtatious photographer. It'll be hard to choose a few poses of the hundred or so taken of her, since every single one turned out great.

Aleks, on the other hand, struggled to play the game. Smile? At what?! Now serious? But wait! He was a great sport, but (unlike his sister) he was relieved when it was all over.

The studio allowed us to take home grainy, low resolution proofs (which I, of course, scanned!) and we'll choose a few poses to purchase.

Then they'll join Elisabeth's and Peter's senior portraits on our wall... walls that will echo next summer when all the kids leave home.

(This is my senior portrait from oh, so long ago! We had no such "photo shoot" then; instead, we just lined up, sat down, smiled and moved on, much like 3rd grade school portraits are done now. And my parents weren't asked to -- nor would they have ever considered -- shelling out hundreds of dollars for a photo of their child. And I don't think Tom even has his taken -- or if he did, he didn't buy them. Ah, how things have changed!)

Coincidentally, Jen posted today an incredible video from Dove that focuses on our obsession with beauty and the media. It starts young... and by the time they're seniors in high school, most American teens have been exposed to a gazillion media messages that demand that they constantly ask themselves, Am I handsome/pretty/buff/thin enough?

Surely, senior portraits buy right into that whole media message somehow... and even in spite of my role as executive producer of a video that poses the same challenge (click the orange square that says "FUEL" to see a video clip) that the Dove Campaign poses, I reveled in my kids' poses in front of the camera yesterday. It's deeply ingrained.

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Anonymous said...

The photos look so good! I can't believe how much they want for those shots though...crazy!

My senior pics looks a lot like yours does.

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vailian said...

You have such a photogenic family!
It seems monstrous how much money they want for the pictures... on the other hand, it is very hard to make a living as a photographer these days, because much of the traditional work is gone, so they have to make the money where they can. When I think of the financial investment I have in cameras... on the other hand, I shouldn't think about it... things are much cheaper now in a lot of ways-- I don't have to buy film and make most of my own prints, and even the very good cameras are--in inflation-weighted terms--cheaper than they were 10 years ago. And the quality of the images has gone up dramatically.

Anonymous said...

Kat is gorgeous (she takes after her mother). A modelling career looming ahead?

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