This one is different. This post, this senior session. It’s very different because it’s my own son! Frankly, I wasn’t sure I would be posting. In my photography journey, all the blogs say, “practice on your own kids.” Well, I only have one and he wasn’t up for me learning about exposure, aperture, and shutter speed if he was the subject. But I only have one child, so he had to be the subject! It was a struggle his entire childhood. Once in a while he would allow me to stalk around corners and practice learning how to work with limited light sources, but I had to promise not to share those photos anywhere (they are printed and tucked safely in photo albums if you ever want to stop by and flip through the pages). I started dreading senior portraits because I just assumed the fight would continue. In fact, I started looking for other photographers, just assuming he wouldn’t be cooperative with me about it. But I gave him the choice, and he chose me! If he had to get his pictures taken… It was a resolved surrender, I guess. But I was cautiously elated!
As with every senior (and especially the seniors who are submitting to the experience for the love of their mom), I decided to start with a planning session, and we did it at our favorite Thai diner. We started with a list of things that he likes, that represent him well, and that make him smile. I didn’t worry about whether it would photograph well, we just started with a few of his favorite things. Then we started thinking about how we could visually represent those things. The biggest thing was to get him in at least one of his home towns. He has two home towns: Jerusalem, Israel (which we couldn’t swing on our budget and time frame) and Fort Wayne, IN. Photographing him in places that are super meaningful to him was key. Then we layered in his interests in aviation, Lego, Star Wars, his experience growing up overseas, and his sense of humor. We picked a day during spring break to make the drive and get it all done. It was cold and windy and wonderful! We shivered and laughed and visited and reminisced. It was such a gift to photograph my own son at this milestone in his life!
Our son is kind. He has such a keen people sense and a discernment for why people behave the way they do. His sense of humor is quick and witty and delivered with impeccable timing. He his fiercely loyal to his friends and family, and he is steadfast in his faith journey. Our son is an introvert who does not like change or too many choices (my exact opposite). I admire the voice he has found to express himself in our family and among his peers. He finds himself as an unexpected and nontraditional leader in some groups because of his kind and discerning characteristics. His brain is most engaged when worshipping or solving complex problems, which is why he is headed to LeTourneau University, a Christian polytechnic university, to study Computer Science and Engineering.
He is especially fond of his cross cultural childhood and wears a bracelet that reads, “I am TCK”. A TCK is a third culture kid – someone who grows up in a culture that is not their parent’s culture (nor is their parent’s culture their culture). They grow up straddling cultural experiences and being highly mobile with lots of flights back and forth across the big blue pond. It’s been especially interesting watching him process these childhood experiences as he writes essays for colleges and scholarships. I knew what we experienced as parents of a TCK, watching him struggle to learn the language at 3 years old and seeing how he responded to being the minority in his local school as he advanced through the grade levels. And then coming back to America and looking American, but having never before gone to school in English. Those were always interesting parent-teacher meetings! Now he is processing how that all folds into his life experience and how God has been shaping his identity.
I could go on and on, but I realize this is just supposed to be a snapshot of his senior session (pun intended). Please enjoy some of our favorite images!
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Thanks for reading! This is one of the ways I put a smile back in the world!
- Posted by hellobabs
- On May 10, 2023
- 7 Comments