Flashback: ConVal graduate photograph honored by national yearbook company 

  • A photograph 2015 ConVal graduate Hannah Henderson snapped of fellow classmate Brad Carter was recognized by a national yearbook company. The photograph is now hanging in hallways across the country. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, September 11, 2017 7:44PM

A picture taken by a recent ConVal graduate of a fellow student jumping in the air with his legs kicked out and a guitar in his hands is now hanging in high school hallways across the country.

The photo was selected to be on a poster printed by the Jostens company – the American manufacturer of school memorabilia such as yearbooks and class rings.

Hannah Henderson, who took the photograph, said the picture happened on a whim.

“It was such a spur-of-the-moment thing and there was really no planning involved,” Henderson said.

Henderson graduated from ConVal in June 2015 and not long after was accepted into a program at the Hallmark Institute of Photography that was to start in January 2016. While Henderson was waiting for that program to begin, the photo/video teacher at ConVal, Amanda Bastoni, asked if she would be her fall teaching assistant. Henderson agreed and started coming in every Wednesday, working with students on independent study projects.

One Wednesday, Bastoni asked Henderson if she would take Brad Carter’s senior photos. The two were friends, and Carter grabbed his guitar and they drove to a road with a graffiti tunnel on a nearby bike path.

Henderson said in the spot she took typical senior photographs. And even though she thought those captured Carter’s interests and personality, they wanted to do something different.

“I wanted something simple at first,” Carter said. “But then I thought, ‘Hey, everyone’s senior picture is going to be like this,’ so we started just having fun with it. And I said, ‘Hey, what if I did a rock-type pose mid air with my guitar?’”

Henderson agreed.

“I honestly can’t recall how many times I had to jump,” Carter said. “I remember that I started to regret the idea after the first 20 or so.”

Henderson also said the shot took a long time to get right.

“I don’t think I could tell you how many times I said to Brad, ‘Just jump one more time. We almost have it,’” Henderson said.

Then she got it.

“Finally she took one that she thought came out good. And as soon as I saw it, without even seeing the other pictures first, I said, ‘That’s definitely the one,’” Carter said. “I knew that it was my first pick.”

Carter said he wanted to use the jumping shot as his senior picture, but then he remembered that you couldn’t see his face clearly in the photograph, which was the main requirement for a senior photo. He chose another one with him standing and leaning on his guitar.

“After that, I thought that picture was going to be forgotten about in a few months,” Carter said. “But then the yearbook team said that they found it and were going to use it as the seniors cover photo for the yearbook.”

Henderson said she too thought the photo was going to be forgotten after it was snapped.

A few weeks later, Bastoni asked to use the photograph as a section introduction page. And now, it’s hanging in schools across the country.

“I would have never expected it to pop back up in such a huge way,” Henderson said.

Bastoni said it’s a long process submitting photos to Jostens. First the photo has to appear in the yearbook, and then teachers need permission from parents and students to enter it.

She said she isn’t sure how many submissions Jostens receives, but said about 20,000 high schools use the company to print their yearbook every year. All of those schools are eligible to submit entries.

“This photo is an excellent example of a silhouette and it also shows motion and movement,” Bastoni said. “It’s dynamic and fun to look at.”

Bastoni said she found out the photo had been chosen when a co-advisor called her over to show her a poster and said, “Hey do you notice anything about this photo?”

“And, it took me a minute and then finally I was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’” Bastoni said.

Now that Henderson is in photography school, she said it’s strange to look back on her work from high school. She said since that time she has opened her own freelance business where she takes all types of portraits, including senior shots. Her goal is to delve deeper into product and advertising photography. Right now, she said her interest lies in photographing food, shooting it as a still life. She said she’s now focusing on styling, color, and detail.

The photo of Carter is “definitely a flashback.”

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.