A little background: Booker T is a Dallas ISD magnet school for the arts. They have a dance, theater, visual arts and music guild. As you can imagine, the dance, theater and music students are lively, carefree and outwardly creative.
For two years, I worked with another photographer to take yearbook portraits of the high school seniors. They each got three poses: One in cap and gown (no surprise there). The second, just a great shot, no feathering boas or neckties like most high schools. The third was senior’s choice.
Let your imagination run wild… these kids are soooo much fun. Just to give you an idea:
My fave dance portrait of 2016 was a girl, whose rear end was facing the camera, while her friends were raining over-sized dollar bills on her.
My fave music portrait was of a girl sitting criss-cross-applesauce (don’t you just love that phrase) with her Corgi. Or maybe it was the kid with the Bearded Dragon (although I was NOT fond of her scaley friend).
My fave theater student wore a formal gown, accessorized not by jewelry, but a Samurai Sword in each hand.
However, my absolute positive favorite of all time was a visual arts student. Keep in mind, the VA students are a little more reserved: they paint, they draw, they write poetry. As a prop, she brought a case of juice pouches. Here is how the convo played out…
me: “What is your vision with your case of juice pouches?”
LB: “I don’t know.”
me: “Why did you choose to bring Capri Suns?”
LB: “I like them.”
me: I tried several ideas before asking, “Can we open the case?”
LB and Dad just looked at one another. “Open it?” they asked in a tone that insinuated I was a bit crazy.
me: I am thinking it is eventually going to be broken open, right? (Maybe they planned to return it…? That certainly didn’t happen.)
me: “You know sometimes when you’re punching the straw in, and juice squirts out?”
me: “Let’s do that on purpose; on steroids. Squeeze the heck out of it until it is completely empty.”
LB was a tad reluctant, but we did it.
We had an absolute blast, got stickier than a 2-year-old eating lollipops and made a huge mess. And that’s exactly what I love about high school senior photography. We were loud, laughed like high-school girls do and basically skipped holding hands all the way to the bathroom, where we bumped the door open with our butts.
I had to rip off and throw away about 15’ of white backdrop paper. However bringing that much joy to this visual arts girl and giving her not just great portraits but even better memories was worth the disappointment of my hiring photographer (being too loud and distracting, wasting perfectly great and pricey paper) and the delay in the picture process while I mopped up the sticky red droplets.
My happiness depends a lot on the joy and photography my clients and I create together. My two weeks at Booker T were a true gift.