Special Commencement is an intimate version of our larger ceremony, one I have covered for the last five years.
Before the ceremony, the graduates and the platform party were waiting in Stevens Theatre. It’s one of my favorite places on campus. Its tall and unique windows are the main source of light for a room covered in black; the juxtaposition of these elements creates a moody space.
There is a sense of anticipation building up to Commencement. Students are adjusting their tassels, joking with friends, and getting ready to make the walk across that stage.This image speaks to that anticipation—there’s excitement in the contrast of light and dark.
Early in my career as a photojournalist, I was taught at every assignment to: 1. make the photos you need and 2. make the photos you want, for yourself. This was one of those “want” situations.
I stepped back to frame up these beautifully historic windows. For a few moments, I reveled that no one was aware of my camera. I watched for layers of action and took a quick series of shots before moving on. When editing, I was struck by the mini-scenes happening within this one frame. Each student tells a story of that anticipation. With its strong mood and layers of story, this image perfectly captured what it feels like to be a graduate.
Camera and Lens:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 35mm, f1.4 II lens
1/160th second at f/1.6, ISO 800
Men’s and women’s lacrosse competed in the NCAA Division III Championships over Commencement weekend. Gettysburg College held a Special Commencement Ceremony for the 16 graduating seniors on May 17, 2018.