every morning I drop my son off at junior high.
yes, he could ride the bus…but the way I look at it, school gets him for seven hours a day…
that last fifteen minutes before he has to go to school is MY time to talk to him,
to listen to his favorite songs…
to just be with him.
plus, in dropping him off I get to notice the people he hangs with and who is there to meet him at the gate.
I’ve noticed something in watching these kids…I call it “the wall“. 🙂
I recognize it because I remember putting up “the wall” when I was his age.
the smiley carefree nature that elementary allows kids gives way to this need for self-preservation that “the wall” provides in junior high and early high school.
I think the need for self-preservation at this age is partially due to insecurity and not wanting to rock the boat in what your friends consider cool because only the truly confident think something is cool on their own…
and if you DO happen to rock the boat with your awkward feeling friends, making fun of that boat rocker is a way to lift yourself up so for that moment you don’t have to feel like the fool…insecurity at it’s finest. 😉
the other need for self-preservation is for protecting yourself against the kids that are still insecure
but have that added level of meanness.
maybe it’s the kids my son hangs out with…but I don’t feel like he has it that bad yet with mean people…
or maybe he’s confident enough that he doesn’t care about the mean kids…
I’m hoping it’s the latter. 😉
but being a girl and noticing these junior high girls…the mean girls are sometimes harder to shake and avoid.
“the wall” goes up.
“the wall” is pretty easy to spot…
face is devoid of happiness or sadness,
eye contact is avoided like you’re looking past whoever is looking at you,
shoulders are back almost ready for a shove but still maintaining an air of indifference even if a verbal shove were to be directed in your way.
I think that what I love most about my job in photographing high school seniors is that they can describe this season in detail
this particular season of life that typically lasts until about sophmore year in high school.
but these same high school seniors can smile at me now and I can see that there is a new level of confidence, albeit somewhat still scarred from life’s experiences, but confidence and almost a smidge of swagger that those experiences no longer define who they are.
where a face was once perfectly positioned to be devoid of emotion…getting a high school senior to smile genuinely isn’t hard.
life is new and an open book…dreams and education are at their fingertips waiting for them to be taken.
where eye contact was once avoided…a high school senior confidently can look directly at me while I photograph them.
some people don’t like a direct look in photographs…I really do…in fact I prefer them to saying “cheese!”
I simply say during their portrait session is “just look at me simply at me…no emotion.”
facial features pop when they are direct…confidence is shown and eyes shimmer.
I love it. 🙂
and what once was practiced indifference body stance is now inviting and approachable.
yup, today’s girl was the last of two for this senior season.
her beauty reminds me a little of marilyn monroe…
crystal clear eyes, fantastic shaped hair, beauty that is feminine and strong at the same time…
and the ability to be emotionally soft and strong almost simultaneously.
cerys, you were seriously fun to get to hang out with and photograph for the afternoon…thank you! 🙂
and one more for her dad…then and now…look at how freaking cute she was as a little girl! adorable, cerys! 🙂