Sunday, June 21, 2009

The longest senior portrait session in the history of senior portraits

I ended up having 5 different days with Edwin, one of Taft's 2009 graduates, spread out over a period of weeks. One session began at 2:15 a.m., when the scene we wanted for the background was finally the way we wanted it; another was at 9 a.m. on a Sunday; and for the basketball shots, I made him jump over and over until he was beaded up with sweat (and it was May, not hot in Chicago).  This whole process was a great experience...I'm smiling as I think about everything it took to get it right.

The interview was no piece of cake, either.  It was a piece of pizza.  Bacci.  And a couple refills of orange Ne-Hi.  When I interview clients, my first question always stumps everybody — "Tell me about yourself. Who is (in this case) Edwin?"

It always takes a while to get a response.  Eventually, "He's a nut" is the reply.

"A person who loves to have a good time. Hard worker."

Sometimes the hard work is the having of the good time, like doing layups on cue while the photographer says "No, your arm was in the way that, the shadow from the backboard got on your face, I'm out of focus, do it again."

Being polite is important to Edwin (he bought my Bacci to make up for missing what would have been our sixth session, because of circumstances he did not control). He says he is motivated: he loves playing sports, including football but especially basketball...

...and he will be off to Southern Illinois University this fall to study sound engineering. His style, at this point: purist. "I want to try to go back to the Aerosmith and Run-DMC days," he says, adding to the pedigree with one of rock music's greatest innovators: "I'm a Stevie Wonder guy."

Entertainment is important to Edwin on other levels: action movies and comedies, touring downtown Chicago and crushing foes at what he considers the greatest video games of all time: Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, NBA Live for the Game Cube ("The basketball games that come out now still aren't as good as that") and the old NBA Jams ("Where every time, the last game was always against the Bulls").

If you get the chance to meet this northwest-side native, I advise you to make him laugh. It's not hard, and it's worth whatever effort it takes.

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