I went to prom once. I was a junior. That was six years ago. I chose not to attend as a senior, and this is why:
  • Money
  • There was some sort of high school drama, which I resolved by avoiding it entirely (I still use this strategy)
  • Dancing can make me feel like a beached eel with arthritis. Maybe it's all in my head.
Alright, that's not totally honest. My friend and fellow prom not-goer, Andrew Gospe, and I decided we would try to crash the prom after hanging out in Portland. We bought cheap cigars for the occasion, which, for me, are about as enjoyable as attending prom in the first place. I remember feeling a little more grown up by not participating in the youthful celebration that my classmates were enjoying, an impression that was diminished when we remembered that beyond aimless wandering and tempting arrest, there is literally nothing for minors to do in Portland at night.

We quickly bored ourselves watching drunk people stumble from weird bar to weird bar and drove to the Oregon Zoo, where prom was wrapping up in the basement of the zoo's administration building. I faked smoking half of my cigar and walked a loop around the prom's facilities, saying hello to teachers and students as they left to enjoy the rest of their night. We met up with some friends at a crêpe restaurant as they began to shed the façade of formality.

Yours truly, far left, waits for a savory crêpe. Picture by Kacie Yearout, via Facebook
Prom is pretty weird, and I like that about it. 

Just as I can find more meaning in a great conversation if I just sit back and listen, the big dresses and poorly-fitted tuxedos and well intentioned DJs of prom become way more interesting now that I don't feel like I gotta shake a tail feather.

As a photographer, when I watch the high schoolers exhibit their various stages of affection for each other, I can feel the exaggerated awkwardness and the eager expectations and most importantly the love. I know and appreciate all of those feelings, but I am thankful I do not have to experience them in this arena at this moment

I love witnessing the bizarre rituals that we, as a society, have agreed are essential parts of growing up. It's one of my favorite parts of this "job", and I think it's part of a pretty important document to share with future generations of hormonal teenagers, prom-goers and not-goers alike.

Anywhoo. I think I photographed 5 proms this year. These are pictures: