The pride of Ballykelly - www.jaydohertyphotography.com

Derry, Donegal, Ireland and Northern Ireland creative and documentary style wedding photographer   email : mail@jaydohertyphotography.com   tel : UK 07736004203   facebook.com/jaydohertyphotography

GRADUATION DAY 1999 A.D.


Today I had the fortune of having to fine graduates as my models. Larysa and Stephen; fresh from uni, young, energetic, in love, way smarter than me and good looking - too perfect

It reminded me on my graduation photos, quite a while back. Let me take you on a journey to the 1990s, when we roamed the land on our skateboards in massive baggy trousers, Beastie Boys T shirts and smelled a bit. Poor days but certainly glory days. My ma and da travelled up to my graduation, half to celebrate, half to make sure it really wasn't just a dream that I had finally finished my studies*. They were also to be my own personal photographers for this occasion, as I really didn't want to have to stand in line with 1000s of other students to get my 'blue marbled backdrop' headshots with a roll of paper in my hand. My plan was this, I'd get the wildest graduation photo in the history of the education sector. I'd do a massive jump out of a wee ramp on my skateboard to mark the occasion. The photo would be the pride of my home for years to come...I could even imagine the cape floating behind me in the air , thus elevating my status to ‘superheroic’.

About an hour before the ceremony we set up at the wee ramp at the side of the uni. I warmed up a few leaps out and landed to safety on the road - handy enough, Now to get my 2 photographers into the mix. They took different angles, different lenses, my ma on natural light –long lens, ma da with a flash, wide angle....so as to document this feat as it deserved you understand. So I rolled up on the skateboard, jumped out of the ramp, floated through the skies then back to the road, rolling away to see my da's flash then go off, and I heard my ma’s camera click a wee while after. Good first attempt, only 3 or 4 seconds too late. Take 2, similar, flash goes off as I land on the road, ma is trying to get the her camera turned back on. Take 3, da's flash bursts into action as I roll up the path towards the ramp, blinding me before I even get near the jump, take 4 - no flash, ma has gone back to the car to clean her glasses and put some Atrixo on her hands...take 5 same, take 6 then we stop to have a small argument and a mouthful of Club orange, witnessed by the 20 odd Chinese students who had caught wind of the action and were lined up on the wall opposite. Take 7, nothing, take 8, aww da please, then take 9, in a furious strike of karma I hit the road, hit a stone, hit the ground, using my knees and the palms of my hands as breaks. I picked my carcass from the deck, hands both bleeding, a gap the size of a Donegal pothole in the knee of my trousers. We packed up the set, and headed into the main hall for the graduation ceremony.

An honours degree I lifted that day in Business Studies, I collected it on stage from some high-ranking cat in the university, surrounded by staff and board members and watched by about 2000 folk, with 2 bloody hands and a hole in the knee of my good Farahs. It's funny now, to look back on, and I guess I could plead that I was 'keeping it real', even if I was a bit of an affront to the family. It was a quiet run home in the car....