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With the Band

Want to know why I love band kids so much? Let me tell you a little story.

If you live in Texas, I'm sure you've heard of Permian High School in Odessa. Still don't recognize the school? Have you heard of the book, and subsequent movie and TV show, Friday Night Lights? It was based on the high school I graduated from.  (Not my class, though.  I think it was my sister's class.)  Anyway, I played clarinet and marched in the band there.  We were pretty darn good, too, back then.  I think we won state marching competition 2 out of the 3 years I was in high school.  But it's been a while, so don't quote me on that....

Marching band was something I endured to get to concert season, which I enjoyed a heck of a lot more.  Now, in case you don't know, Odessa is HOT. People say it's a dry heat and that's true, but it is still HOT. By dry heat, they mean that you sweat and sweat but it evaporates before you notice.  There were lots of practices, starting in the summer. Lots of time spent outside. And lots of football games. Truth be told, I really do not like football but, as a band member, we had to march at every game.

I didn't dislike everything about marching season, though.  I enjoyed my friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with on Facebook. I enjoyed the trips and have many fond memories of those, like the one time we rode buses from Odessa to Atlanta and back for a spring trip one year. (Was that a 30-hour bus ride?  That's what I recall.) Besides having one of the buses break down, it was a blast. We went to Six Flags Over Georgia.  I cried after riding the roller coaster.  I've grown out of that phase, th0ugh, luckily. And the concert seasons taught me to love music, taught me about phrasing, and taught me about playing with emotion.

As a band kid, I never felt like I quite fit in with the other kids. They used to call us Band Queers. I cringe at that now, for obvious reasons.   Looking back, I guess almost everyone feels ostracized in some way in high school. I am reminded of the Dickens quote from A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Indeed, it was.

We had a fantastic photographer in Odessa, whose son was in the band, too. Back then, we did mostly studio shots for senior portraits, in addition to the "drape and tux" picture that went into the yearbook. For my senior session, I wore my favorite red sweater and my hair was feathered all the way to the back.  Remember that? That portrait and the experience of having it created is something I still remember fondly. And my parents still have it hanging up on their wall. My hair dates it as does the soft-focus style that was popular then, but it is still a beautiful portrait (even if it is of me!). I still love it and smile every time I see it.

People ask me why I love photographing high school seniors so much. One of the reasons is that it is a time full of possibilities in kids' lives. The future is unknown and bright. There is still a sense of wonder and discovery. I love being able to be a small part of seniors' lives during this important time. When I present the portraits for the first time at their in-home ordering session is exciting for me because they get to see, more objectively than a mirror can show them, how beautiful they are. Their personalities and spirits shine through and I get to capture that. I feel truly blessed to be able to create this for families.

Do you have your own band memories? Post a comment below!  I'd love to hear them!

If you're thinking you might like to work with me, but aren't sure, give me a call at 214.783.9691 or e-mail me at Dawn@StudioYouPortraits.com. I'm happy to meet for coffee just to talk - no obligation required.