For a photography class, we were given the assignment of producing a series based on previous or future events. Most of my peers flocked to vintage clothing and classic automobiles. Knowing this, I had to be different.
While reminiscing about a recent ceremony, I asked Christian for her cap and gown. She said yes and seemed slightly amused by my question. So I then asked if she would help me take the pictures. She quickly began to list traditional landmarks of graduation photos for authenticity. Deciding on them all, I was becoming a Tar Heel alumnus without ever being a student.
We went to the Dean Dome, the Old Well, the Bell Tower, the quad area of Tar Heel Town, Ram Village where most of the athletes live (which is also where Christian had lived), and Kenan Stadium.
Let me describe the situation. I am wearing a cap and gown, walking around UNC in February of 2012. On a Saturday absent from any graduation event, strangers are congratulating my academic success. A father and son passed me and this is what I heard. Son, if you study hard, one day that can be you.
This is all happening while the rightful owner of the degree is wearing casual attire and helping me lug her camera equipment across popular areas of campus. Upon the location, I chose the setting and direction of the camera while explaining how I wanted the composition to look. She then directed my posture while engaging the camera.
As afternoon settled into night, the only picture remaining was at Kenan. We arrived to find the main gate wide open and Christian’s response was to enter the stadium. Noticing a father and son on the field, Christian suggested we join them. I was officially on Tar Heel turf wearing a cap and gown and no one seemed to care. Except for that one guy in the nosebleed section. Yet nothing happened, providing us leisure to continue photographing. Suddenly a loud speaker began making its presence known with brief static, but no words were said.
We looked around and found our numbers in the stadium had doubled. Another couple strode the base of the arena and a woman was stretching in an end zone. After taking my photos Christian laid on the center emblem for her picture. Within seconds a booming voice roared, “Get off the field! This is not a playground.” Straightening to attention Christian and I regrouped clutching the camera and tripod while obeying the ominous command. We were kicked off the field and somehow managed to be the last to leave.
After failed attempts of calming ourselves, we were eventually able to mock the confrontation. As we approached my car I verbalized the only logical thing to do. We had to go to Duke.
We arrived at Cameron Stadium to find a mass of fans camping for basketball tickets, and every visible parking space cautioned permit requirements that never expired. The sun had abandoned us but we found the Duke University Chapel. Clusters of people were trampling around a constant flurry of buses. Frustrated, I parked illegally for us to see and photograph the chapel’s exterior. Then another idea seized my consciousness.
I don’t want to admit it to prevent thievery, but you’ll know if I do it … because I will probably go to jail. In fact, I know I will because I did something similar in high school and a Student Resource Officer was sent after me with flashing blue lights. However, that is another story and I have already said too much.