Best friends forever

“…Love is like oxygen! Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”
– Ewan McGregor as Christian in Moulin Rouge

Amber Gonzalez, 16, left, Julie Nguyen, 16, Karimeh Juma,16, Kathlyn Cabrera, 17, and Amy Komure, 15, pose for a camera that they put on self-timer at DeCarli Plaza in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 150mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/4.5).

Part of the power of photography is the power of memory. A way of recording the events in our lives, big or small, and then review them when we wax nostalgic.

Back in May I spotted a group of five teenage girls gathered in the evening at De Carli Plaza in downtown Stockton. They were juniors from Franklin High School who were leaving the school’s graduation ceremony at the Stockton Arena. What caught my eye was that they were striking some unusual poses, each for about 10 seconds at a time.

As I approached them, I noticed they had set a point-and-shoot camera on one of the plaza’s concrete-and-brick planters and were taking portraits of themselves via the camera’s self-timer. I shot them as they froze into their stances, each different from the other.

At first I thought they were performing some weird semaphore signals, sort of like the picture of the Beatles from the album “Help!”  It took me a while, but then it hit me that they were spelling out a word: Love. What threw me was that there were five of them spelling out a word with four letters. I finally realized that the last girl was trying to contort herself into the shape of a heart.

Next Fall, as seniors they will have one more year of school together, and then they’ll pursue their separate lives, perhaps going off off to college or getting jobs. But at least they’ll have the memories of their BFFs (best friends forever) and the experience of love and friendship preserved in the pictures taken on a certain spring day.

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