Shooting assignments for colleges, universities and private schools is something I enjoy a great deal; the locations are often photogenic and the people are always nice to work with. I've been fortunate over the last 4 or 5 yeas to work with Seton Hall Law School shooting portraits and facilities for marketing and web use. This year I was asked to photograph the commencement ceremonies. Shooting an event like graduation is pretty straight-forward, yet I always look to create a story in the picture, something that may resonate in a single shot what the day was all about; this image does that for me.
We had just heard an inspiring commencement address delivered by Theodore Wells, Jr., a highly respected litigation attorney, in which he recounted his early days of clerking under the Hon. Judge John Gibbons. Judge Gibbons advised the young Mr. Wells to "raise your hand" at any opportunity as doing so will give you experience and knowledge that would otherwise elude you in the course of your profession and your life. After the speech and while degrees were being awarded, I noticed a number of students waving to their families from the top of the steps after they received their diplomas and thought it would be a nice moment to capture. As I found a good position I noticed the stage lights shining behind them and the story came into focus. The lights shown bright like the future of the new lawyers and this young man was raising his hand, ready for the opportunities that lay ahead.