As a recent graduate of high school, I can say that I won’t miss the cliques, the “busy work”, the cafeteria, or the noisy hallways. I can, however, promise you that I will miss photographing events in high school, especially within our Academy for the Performing Arts. I don’t believe I will ever find such freedom in another venue. On any given show, I was usually allowed backstage, in the front row, in the balcony, in the wings, or pretty much anywhere else I could stand and shoot or rig a camera. Everyone was incredibly supportive of me and my work and I know that they will continue to be throughout my career.
My favorite thing to photograph was the dance shows. I was always willing to shoot dance even when I was exhausted or hungry. It
didn’t matter how long it was or how much traffic I would have to sit in afterward, it was always a good time.
In retrospect, I should have used the space more to my advantage. Many of my images are shot from the center of the first row or the balcony. Perhaps in the future, I’ll get to wait in the wings for an interesting shot, or abandon the show completely and focus on the dancers and their emotions outside of their performances.
The kind of freedom I found in that theatre was almost addicting. I could walk in with a camera during any bad mood and walk out feeling a sort of peace. I know that I will always chase that calm. I’ll always remember the friends dancing in my favorite images. I’ll remember how much the dancers appreciated my work. I’ll remember the dance director letting me know how much she appreciated me while I was there. It will always hold a very special place in my heart, wherever my career may lead me.
I truly hope that I can someday give back to the program that allowed me to grow as an artist. I know that that the Academy will continue to grow and I am so lucky to have been a part of it from the very, very beginning.
Here’s to high school. Here’s to moving on to bigger things.