Picture-perfect friendships

Capturing memories to last a lifetime
By T Martin

It’s the terrible teens: today you’re the best of friends, but tomorrow could mean scrapping in the schoolyard about what “he said she said.” During these years of growing pains and the inevitable roller coaster of emotions they bring, kids look long and hard for stability and lasting relationships. As they grow older and apart from one another, people rely more and more on pictures to help them remember the joys and pains of childhood friendships. From the photo booth at the mall to the cousin with a passion for cameras, friends build “photographic memories” as a way to stay together as they grow away from each other.

I’ve done a few case studies, from which I learned a number of things. What stands out is that friends tend to stick together when they have those “tangible” records of their time together. Even more interesting is that this trend doesn’t always seem to follow suit among family members.

Case study 1
Jay and Cee have known each other for a few years. They go to school together and they share a pretty good relationship. They’ve had their problems between them, and no doubt had a falling out or two. They finally took pictures together after nearly a year waiting to get them. Yet even while arguing over whose fault it was that their proof book was damaged on its return to me, they remained friendly and humorous with each other.

Case study 2
Amy and Yari were the “fraternal” twin friends of eighth grade. They thought and dressed much alike without even trying. It was a friendly jest between them as to who thought to wear the gray sweatshirt first that day. They each took a test photo session, both photographing well in preparation for their big shoot together. Before their friend shoot was scheduled, they were in some bitter disagreement over typical teenage stuff. Though they claimed to have “straightened everything out,” they never completely recovered and remain distant from one another.

Case study 3
Bea and Tay-tay were friends since early childhood. Little stands between them even now. They photographed together as they grew older, and appreciated a chance to shine as individuals as well as best friends. One is now away in college, the other finishing school and raising a baby; they couldn’t be any closer if they had moved in together!

Case study 4
Tammy and Lynn are sisters. They live in the same house. They have the usual – tolerable – amount of sisterly stresses. Blood running thicker than water, however, their love for each other is evident in everything they do together, including their last photo shoot together. More than just sisters, they’re pals who enjoy spending treasured time together. They shared their pictures with everybody they know after their last session, and remain close friends in spite of their share of family trials.

Case study 5
Ella and Chris are also sisters. Though they also both enjoying taking pictures as a way to relax and express themselves, their problems wouldn’t let them enjoy taking photos – or doing anything else – together. As a result, their relationship has only strained over time.

There are a number of ways teens and young adults keep their friends close, and there is a growing number that find photos the perfect outlet for achieving this sense of closeness to their friends. Whether they make that photo booth stop at the mall or walk into a studio together one afternoon, they let the pictures they take together fulfill them as friends. If you’re looking for the picture-perfect friendship that makes your and your friends a unit for years to come, you might take your cue from them and get in front of the camera together!