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desert vista high school senior | nathan

I’ve been on a Robin Williams movie kick lately while I edit…
good movies are like good books in my mind…and Robin Williams was an incredible story-teller.
Good Will Hunting, Hook, What Dreams May Come, Jumanji…
all amazing visual stories told by an incredible story-teller.
but in editing through Nathan’s session, the movie Dead Poets Society found it’s way to the front of my movie que…
for a couple reasons…one, Nathan could have been in this movie had he been born seventy years earlier. 🙂
he’s incredibly intelligent,
a gentleman and exceedingly tolerant (slightly amused?) of my endless chatter/spazziness during his session,
he’s handsome and unique,
and he has an incredible future for him waiting in Fort Collins as he goes off to Colorado State next year.
and as I watched DPS, my spiderweb of thoughts originally started with Nathan,
but to be fair, they didn’t stop with him…
his session got me to thinking deeper about what it means to graduate
and what the future looks like for some of the clients I get to spend time with,
in particular the guys I get to photograph.
at the beginning of the DPS movie, the four pillars of the school are almost militarily chanted:
“gentlemen!  what are the four pillars of strength?”
tradition.
honor.
discipline.
excellence.
all incredible traits to chase after…but as the movie plays out,
you find that without the heart and passion behind them – those traits become sort of hollow and aimless pursuit.
but what I loved (yes, loved…it’s a great movie!) about Robin Williams character  – John Keating,
he got to play the hero and exhorter of passion into an otherwise conformed-to-society-destined-for-boredom group of young men.
which brought my thoughts back to the many seniors I’ve been fortunate to photograph…
being a high school senior is a rather funny hat to wear, I think…
on one hand you’re at the culmination of your academics (or lack there of depending of which side of the spectrum you’re on) 😉
and at the top of the food chain of your school – well, at least for the most part…
and the chase to be the best of whatever you’re going to be up until 18 is sort-of completed.
that can be scary or exciting or a little of both as you plan out your future after high school.
I’ve also found that in talking to these seniors, they’re sort-of emotionally done and ready to move on.
which is why I think every student should have to at least watch the DPS movie
at least once before they finish their high school education…
when you’re emotionally checked out, you NEED a John Keating to exhort you to:
“dare to walk a new path.”
to “seize the day!”
and to tell you that “no matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
and one of my favorite quotes/lines:
“boys, you must strive to find your own voice. because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.
thoreau said, ‘most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ don’t be resigned to that. break out!”

I think that for me, my take away is that passion is contagious…
and men like John Keating (albeit fictional) are rare passionate people.
find what makes you come alive and break out!
and if you don’t know…try new things until you figure out what makes you come alive.
I think that’s part of the reason I love getting to photograph high school seniors…
they’re on the edge of completion AND on the edge of unknown…and it’s exciting!

so all that spiderweb of thinking to say – I enjoyed my afternoon with Nathan and his parents…
and I’m excited to hear of his future in the beautiful state of Colorado! 🙂

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