I don’t remember my college graduation. It was December, and I was on autopilot the entire day. I know I was there because somewhere in a box, is a photo of me on the stage shaking the hand of a man who was most likely the college president. I wish I had chosen to make it a more memorable experience.
I think that is why I love to photograph graduation. The common goal of everyone who works on campus is to see our students successfully navigate their way to a degree. UTC students love their school, they know their classmates, and their exuberance at the culmination of their time with us is infectious.
I don’t personally know Otis Anthony, but out of the hundreds of graduates that I photographed that May weekend, he was one of the most excited. He held his hands over his mouth in anticipation of degrees being conferred. He pointed to his family when they cheered, and he pumped his fist in the air in jubilation. He embodied everything that a graduate should be.
I may have missed my chance at that experience, but he celebrated enough for both of us, and it made me happy.