A Personal Ideology of a School Picture
People have called me a visionary, a genius and a leader of a movement. All I did was take a couple of quirky pictures.
School picture day has always been a source of stress for some, causing them to dread the moment when the bulb flashes. They lose their minds worrying about their hair falling a perfect way, the way that one tooth looks or how their smile is crooked. They pick out their outfit to perfectly highlight their eyes and make them look as fancy as possible from the chest up.
Picture day for me has been a time to express my creativity and have a little bit of fun. My most recent picture was influenced by a viral image of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson taken in the 1990’s. The actor, notable for his massive, intimidating, size and muscles bulging out of every direction is instead seen in a very vulnerable state. You can immediately recognize my picture by the high cut black turtleneck, fit snugly around my throat, layered with as many gold chains that I could dig up from my grandpa’s collection. However, the outfit is only part of the picture, the real magic happens above my neck. My hair completes the 1990’s look with it’s bleached blonde frosted tips, perfectly styled with as much gel as I could find. For the face, I chose to raise one eyebrow and pair it with a smirk, reminiscent of Dwayne Johnson's in his iconic image.
Sophomore year I opted for a throwback to Ben Stiller’s acclaimed style in the 2001 comedy, Zoolander. For hours, I practiced in the mirror trying to perfectly emulate his blue steel face, which his character, male model Derek Zoolander, achieved his stardom with. For those who have never seen the movie, the face can be characterized by his puckered lips and scrunched eyebrows. I combined this face with the ripped denim jacket I found deep inside of my sister's closet.
What I didn’t realize when I took these pictures is the implication and inspiration which they would have on others. Often, when talking to someone in my school for the first time, I will be asked, “Aren’t you the kid with the funny school pictures?”. One time, a friend jokingly asked me a question that revealed a deeper meaning to these pictures then I had ever thought of.
“Is this a movement or a revolution?”
This question made me realize that my pictures go much deeper than just a source of comedy. They reflect my personal ideology that life should not be completely serious all of the time. I’m not preaching that your entire life should be a joke, but in some instances such as something as insignificant as a school picture, having fun with it is important. Having fun and laughing at yourself reflects self confidence and shows that the judgements of others do not shape you. This way of living promotes individuality and with that, creativity.
In a way, my pictures are a critique on our societies focus on the minutia, such as one insignificant school picture. Oftentimes, people will feel that one bad image can define their whole life. This obsession with one's image has created a toxic environment in our society where people’s confidence can be destroyed with one bad picture. By intentionally taking pictures that challenge this idea and I have shown my belief that society needs to focus less on the opinions of others and the trivial nature of a picture. The notoriety which I have gained from my pictures shows how not being concerned with perfection and complete seriousness can be beneficial. By having fun with my pictures I showed a deeper side of myself and my ideology in life.
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