Editor Marco Martinez wanted to get a graduation story from each of the main Wenatchee-area schools: Eastmont, Wenatchee, WestSide, and Wenatchee Valley College. Reporter Nevonne McDaniels talked to the schools and got some ideas of students to profile.
The first one to photograph was Eastmont’s Emma Dahmen. She was already an active community member so I wanted to photograph her somewhere in the community beside showing her school interests. Calling her up, I found out she worked at the Community Foundation of North Central Washington and she also had her last choir performance later in the week.
When I have a chance, I like to meet my subjects before photographing them. Going to Emma’s workplace was a great chance to get to know her, thinking the main photographs for the package would happen around the choir performance. The lighting at the Community Foundation was pretty interesting — it just took patience for her to be in the right spot during her workday.
I met her again later that day for her choir performance, showing up ahead of time as she warmed up with the choir. I expected that photographing her at the warm-up would give me more chances to show her with her friends and the relationships she has with her peers. The actual performance would be too formal to find those intimate moments.
At the end of the warm up, the teacher gave each graduate the cord they would wear for graduation. The photograph would tie Emma to the graduation ceremony.
Graduation is a great milestone in our kids’ lives. Being able to document four exemplary graduates was a wonderful privilege for me.