We, as photojournalists, also want to avoid the clichéd photo. You know, that photo that has been done a million times, a photo that everyone has seen.
Kids playing in a sprinkler. Kids selling lemonade. You get the idea.
Another clichéd photo comes from the first day of school. The cliché´- a parent hugging a tearful child as the adult leaves the youngster at school.
I assigned myself to photograph the first day of school at the first school in our coverage area to open for this school year. Going into the assignment I set for myself the personal goal of not shooting that tearful child and parent photo. I wanted to find something different that says “first day.”
So, I photographed a youngster storing her new school supplies in her desk.
And while I had vowed to myself to not shoot the parent-hugging-child scene, I couldn’t resist when I saw the moment.
But the best photos were made earlier in the day, right after the students arrived at school, before they went to class.
Many of the youngsters, sometimes accompanied by parents, would stop at the class lists posted on the windows to see what room they would be in and who was their teacher.
I first shot the scene from the side:
Then I photographed students from the front as they checked the lists.
This is the photo we ran in print on our local news section. While the white sheets of paper are distracting I still like this one the best because you can see the body language and expressions of the girls.
So, I met my goal for the assignment – mostly. While I did shoot the cliché I did find a better and different photo. I consider it a minor victory and some days any victory is a good victory.