Things Graduation Ceremonies taught me about photographs.

So I worked at Loughborough University’s Graduation Ceremony last week, and originally I was meant to be on tills and then on the very first morning just as I was sitting down I was told I was going to be a photographer’s assistant instead. Now, the first couple of hours of the job were beyond stressful because I had a five minute tutorial on how to work the programme on the laptop before being thrown to the wolves, I mean general public. However, I grew to love the job, partially because the photographers I was working with kept me laughing all day, and partially because I got to observe some interesting human behaviour which in turn became great material to use for this blog:

1)People say ‘’That’s not me’’ a lot.

What I imagine I look like in photos.

What I imagine I look like in photos.


What I actually look like in photos.

What I actually look like in photos

The phrase ‘’That’s not me’’ was the phrase I heard the most at the graduation ceremonies. I think we’ve all had that moment when we say ‘’Omg, that is NOT me!’’ when we eventually click on that Facebook notification ‘’Blah blah blah has tagged you in a photo’’ from the night before. A Facebook notification telling us we have been tagged in a photo from the night before never fails to bring a lump to the throat of even the toughest of us as we prepare ourselves for the worst. However, we can be forgiven for saying ‘’That’s NOT me!’’ when we see the photo because the photo is usually taken on a basic camera/ camera phone and in said photo we’ve usually consumed a fair bit of alcohol, so unless you walk around in a constant state of drunkenness (then I suggest you make a trip to your local AA) then photos from nights out aren’t always representative of what we usually look like.

Graduation photos etc are a different ball game because we’ve put time and effort into our appearance and the cameras used usually cost around £1,000 so it’s a particular blow to our self esteem when we don’t look like a Chanel No.5 perfume ad, but a guest off Jeremy Kyle instead. I always imagine I look like Rihanna in photos, so it’s always heartbreaking when I actually look like Jay Z. However, just remember that the lighting in studios is the most unflattering light possible, because it’s not adjusted to flatter your facial shape, and of course, the camera really does add ten pounds (and that’s why they offer gown slimming 😉 )

2)Photographers are sensitive creatures.

''Art'' because it has a filter on.

”Art” because it has a filter on.

Photographers are sensitive creatures for a number of reasons, firstly photography has become devalued so much in recent years because so many people have a DSLR camera, snap a few pictures of some trees and exclaim ‘’I’m a photographer!’’. It is the same with social networking sites such as Instacrap; people take a picture of some oreos and shove a filter on it and claim it’s ‘’art’’. Then there is the fact that graduation ceremonies etc are classed as ‘’commercial’’ work compared to creative work, and they’d rather be doing creative work.

As a result photographers are very protective over their work, and so the worst thing you can tell a photographer is how to do his or her job because ‘’You take photographs all the time’’, or question why they do something because it is very likely they will burst into tears or smother themselves with one of the sweaty communal graduation hats.

3)Hats cause controversy.

The graduation hats by the end of the week.

The graduation hats by the end of the week.

I never thought that a hat could ever be the cause of such controversy, but the graduation hats at Loughborough caused more controversy than Samantha Brick telling the world ‘’I’m fit, and women hate me because of it’’. Traditionally, undergraduates at Loughborough don’t wear graduation hats because they are traditionally worn by Masters and PHD graduates, but unfortunately the university told people hats would be available. Now, I checked the weather forecast for the week and it predicted blue skies but nothing about the shit storms that erupted that week.

People were so eager to wear the graduation hats, even though they were communal and it was nearly 30 degrees so by twelve o clock they were all a damp from various people’s sweat so by Friday they almost resembled rags rather than graduation hats. Some people had their photos taken without a hat, and as soon as they saw someone having a photo taken with a hat on asked to have their photos reshot with them wearing the hat. The graduation hats alone almost caused the photographers to have emotional breakdowns by the end of the first day.

4)People with a sense of humour have the best photos.

Some reactions to the photographer's jokes.

Some reactions to the photographer’s jokes.

Someone did ask me during the week whether I ‘’laugh at some of the pictures’’ and honestly the answer is no. For one I I was trying to conserve as much energy as possible because it was ridiculously hot and we only had two mini fans to keep us cool in a stuffy room filled with people. The only things that did make me laugh is how seriously some people took their photos, I understand it’s a big day and people want a big photo but so many people barely cracked a smile on their photos. Graduation is meant to be a happy day!

Half of the time I spent laughing was because the photographer I was working with kept making me laugh. For example, he asked some people who had their hands on their laps to fold them because they looked like they were about ‘’to leap up out of the chair’’ which had me almost hysterics because it was true, but everyone looked at him stoney faced like he’d just strangled a kitten. I can safely say that the people who laughed and joked around had the best photos because they looked like they were enjoying themselves.

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