Ahhhhh, Graduation week. That special time of year when working as a staff photographer feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day. The same over and over again. One of the challenges that my fellow shooters and I bestow upon each other is to try to reinvent yourselves as the week goes on. Because on the surface, all of the graduations are so similar. Repetition in the ceremonies, the speeches, the celebrations, etc that it can quickly feel like you are taking the same pictures. This year I was assigned to shoot three of the five high school ceremonies. I tried to keep a look out for something different than the typical ecstatic hands in the air shots of the graduates. The class president of the student body offered that chance. My favorite photo from the week was the one of the girl with the monarch butterfly in front of her. The caption for the photo ran as follows:
Vanden High School graduate Heaven-Leigh Christensen, 18, center, is visited by a monarch butterfly during the Class of 2010 graduation ceremony Friday afternoon. Butterflys were released by class president Sharlayne Moynahan, 18, not pictured, as a symbol of hope and transformation into new beginnings.
This shot was made well after the release of the butterflies. I saw this moment happening out of the corner of my eye and turned to snap a couple frames before this rogue monarch flew off. I thought it was a pretty neat ideal to incorporate in a speech and a different twist on the graduation photo scene. It made me think back to all of the transitions I’ve had in my life since high school graduation. These kids are in for a wild ride. I wish them the best. -M