3/09/2008

The Story of a Photo

This is the photo of me that appeared in my college yearbook, my sophomore year when I was 19 years old. Many people have commented to me, over the years, about this photo - some to the point of obsession. Yet it was a haphazard, almost random pick, on my part .
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My college had an informal, student-created yearbook, called The Sallyport, ( after the gateway that you pass through to enter one of the main quads on campus), organized and laid out by student editors. Students could submit any photo they wished for the yearbook section that covered them. The book was typically filled with lots of "casual" shots of people laying around the dorm in 70's clothes and bad hair, or posing on the steps, making "peace" ( in reality, cuckold) signs over each other's heads, smoking dope, dancing, making out with boy or girl friends long since gone. It just so happened that I had a gf in a photography class at the time, who had to make a certain number of portraits in B&W for a class assignment. One lovely fall day, she dragged a gaggle of us girls out into the crisp sunshine, and we all walked a few blocks nearby, into a neighborhood of stately homes and large oak trees . We took turns posing in various ways. One girl sat on a stone lion. Another stood under a tree, looking up into the branches. Yet another sat in some flowers. As we were walking along, we came across this garden gate. I hopped on, and the photo was shot.
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Later, the gf gave copies of each picture she made to the person who was the subject. Most of us ended up using these poses for our informal yearbook pix that year, maybe b/c they all turned out so much better than usual. (Better quality camera? Walking outdoors relaxed us all, gave us better lighting ?) I actually had several shots to chose from, and selected this one because I liked the dense textural quality of the leaves, the bricks, the framing effect of the gate. It's as simple as that.
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So there I am, frozen for all time, in a photo. People look me up, now 30+ years later, and expect me to still look like this photo. I really don't want to contemplate what some of them might have done, in private, while looking at my poor ole' little photo. Neither Time nor the River of Life stand still, my friends. Enjoy the moment for what it was, but live in the present.

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