by Gino Galea – Graduation Photography (Malta)
The moment that a new graduate enters the photo studio, normally accompanied by his loved ones, one could immediately sense that feeling of relief and unparalleled satisfaction both for himself, the parents and the rest of the family members! It
The facial expressions, the feel-good factor are so evident. Many of the parents would tell you that they haven’t seen their son/daughter so serene and happy in the recent past. That is the true meaning of graduation day! There is no question that a graduate would pass through a lot of pressure during the study phase at the university.
I see a graduation photo session as an important part of the celebration process by the graduate together with his loved ones. Those portraits created by the professional photographer very likely would eventually serve as the best testimony of such a great ‘landmark’ in someone’s life.
The studio photographer would normally adapt accordingly to the day and time of the graduation ceremony in order to accommodate the graduate and the family who are well-groomed for the big day ready to pose in front of a camera!
This is obviously well understood when one takes into account the stress, lack of sleep, the long hours that the student concerned ended up ‘locked up’ in the study room; intense browsing and all the rest! All of this hard work is the reality of tertiary education in order to ensure that the graduate would acquire that ever-important degree which would eventually open up the ‘doors’ of their own future career wide open. So it is well worth the effort that the student would input into his own future in order to acquire that symbolic certificate which would serve as testimony throughout the future following such a great accomplishment.
Following a number of years of hard work, the moment that the graduate has been waiting for finally arrived! Is there a better way to celebrate than that one in a lifetime photo session at a professional photo studio? Obviously, the so-called ‘bus-cade’ with your colleagues touring Malta following graduation day becomes also an unforgettable experience too.
On the other hand, the beautiful portraits and family photos that were taken at the photo studio on graduation day would send a strong message of relief and happiness!
Such photos would probably remind forever, the protagonist, or more precisely, the graduate, that after all despite the uncertainties and heavy pressure throughout the long study phase, one could finally get there and achieve his final goal.
Technically speaking, Graduation day symbolizes that very moment in life that a child ‘completed’ the full journey from a toddler all the way to the status of maturity or adulthood! Maybe two decades ago he or she started at the kindergarten level and now finally arrived at the ‘promised land’ of graduation day! That would probably be the key to that person’s role in the foreseeable future.
That formal portrait that was taken at the proper photo studio eventually would end up prominently displayed at home in a sitting room or an office, reminding everybody that the graduate concerned is now certified as a formal professional consequently becoming an authority in that specific area of specialization, be it architecture, information technology, medicine arts or perhaps in professional photography.
Consequently one must, therefore, ensure that such portraiture together with his/her very loved ones is properly and efficiently handled by the competent studio. During our day to day role as official photographers during various weddings, we are requested to visit the residencies of the bride and the groom, many of them are already graduates. There we regularly come across that typical graduation portrait frame displayed at home, namely the parent’s residence, highlighting the achievement of their son’s or daughter’s achievement- namely the ever-important graduation portrait taken at a photo studio. My immediate and natural reaction towards that person portrayed on that frame would be a rather different one since the academic status of the person in that picture possibly dictates a more formal type of approach. It is also true that such respect should after all be there in all cases represented in the full spectrum of society in general.
Moreover, that portrait photo of a graduate is also a collective ‘symbol’ or testimony signifying the ultimate step of the ladder that one has followed in his academic studies over the years. This does not in any way mean that the graduate concerned will call it a day and does not read another book during his entire life! We all know that in this day and age one must continuously strive to move forward to keep up the pace with reality through refresher courses, updates or perhaps furthering his studies through other levels such as masters or a doctorate!
Despite the never-ending volume of technical information that we receive through the many sources including the internet, what finally matters is the ultimate job through which one would earn a decent living! That is what normally identifies each and every one of us, in society both now and in the future.
The portrait session or the photoshoot at a photo studio is probably a unique opportunity for the graduate to portray his/her own image and identity positively through the experience of the professional photographer who is probably an artist too. The photo artist at the studio is fully trained to get the best out of every individual on graduation day at the studio or any other day that might have been agreed upon.!
It is a real pity that we still come across many graduates who do not even bother at all to go to their favourite photo studio to secure the official portrait, symbolizing the completion of the ‘academic’ journey through the years!
Some may still argue that there would be facilities at the campus through a makeshift ‘studio’ at the location of most universities on graduation day but make no mistake, that such an environment on the big day is not really the ideal circumstance to get the best of portraiture on the graduate. There are too many distractions in the situation not to mention the rigid time factor. I’ve been into this personally, as one of the official photographers on campus on many graduation days over the years. Despite the maximum of effort and attention that a professional studio photographer would probably dedicate to get the best out of the honorable person who has just graduated, the process of long ques, distraction, and frustration does not help the situation in such a rigid and limited timeframe. That is a reality. Definitely not the right ingredients for the proper and eternal graduation portrait!
May I take this opportunity to congratulate all the students and their proud loved ones, who are graduating this year, particularly those at the University of Malta and many other colleges.
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