Teenagers can be scary to adults. They can seem like an enigma. A mysterious energy that can make you feel uncool or dumb. You might find yourself using "youth-slang" like "girl" or "wassuuup" even though kids don't talk like that anymore...even though YOU don't talk like that anymore (usually).
All that to say, this shoot could have been another embarrassing tale of "Andie tries to relate to the youths as if she isn't nearly 35." However, it WASN'T! As it turns out Josef was none of those highly generalized attributes above. He was down-to-earth, an old-soul who loves photography and vinyl, and probably possess the least amount of ego I've ever met in a teenage boy. All that to say, he was kind, personable, creative, and open. The ideal model.
We blasted Red Hot Chili Peppers in my 70's retro studio and worked together (along with his Mama) to create a couple looks based around the outfits and props he brought to express his personality in this, his final year of high school.
I can't imagine graduating high school right now--in the middle of a pandemic. The world in this strange in-between flux just at the moment you're thrust out into it. What a challenge lies ahead for these young adults. And what a joy it was to capture the happiness, the strangeness, the celebration of a big accomplishment, and the interests that helped get this kid through this last year.
Rock on, Josef! We'll be rooting for you. Go out, do good, make smart choices, and be brave.
Josef has dreams of becoming a photography teacher at his old school. I think that's awesome. What an honor to photograph a budding photography teacher. I hope when he is older, he looks back on these photos and smiles--remembering all the highs of his last year as a high school kid and all the lesson that the lows taught him. I hope he carries these with him into adulthood, and into the classroom...and I hope he retains the kind of teenage confidence and cool that keeps him from saying "Girrrrrl" in a panic when trying to relate to his students.
You always want the kids to learn from your mistakes, don't ya? Do you have any wisdom to impart on this year's graduating seniors? Leave it in the comments below.
Peace-out homies. Catch ya on the flip side. Hit me up if you or someone you know wants some unique, vintage, editorial senior photos!
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I'm Andie Bottrell, a multidisciplinary creative based in Springfield, MO. This blog is designed to give you an inside peak into the process behind my projects and to share my work.