Kellogg Portrait Project: Capturing images and aspirations
Business school is a time of renewal. A period when you can effectively hit the reset button on your professional life. It is also a period of reflection – of taking a break from the crazy work routines, gathering your thoughts and thinking about what really matters to you.
What is it that drives and motivates you?
What do you want to do?
What do you want to achieve?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we captured all of those emotions and aspirations in a single picture?
In 2014, the Kellogg Photography Club embarked on a landmark new initiative — to capture a unique portrait of each and every member of the graduating class. However, the idea was not to stop just there. We wanted the portrait to convey something more. We wanted to link the portrait to the aspirations that we bring to business school and the hope with which we see life ahead of us. Thus, it was decided to include a message in the portraits.
After much brainstorming, the club decided on a theme. It was to be a question prompt – “What message would you like to remind yourself of 10 years from now?”
The idea was simple. Life pulls us in all directions once we are out of the cocoon of school. Time erodes ideas and sometimes presents challenges of various hues – those of work-life balance, of maintaining priorities, of career objectives or even of values.
We wanted to click a picture that our classmates and friends could look back a few years from now and remind themselves of what is really important to them. We did not prescribe any boundaries for this message. All we required was the person show up, hold a page with their unique message and get clicked!
In 2014, this was novel. People were curious, did not know what to expect or how the pictures would turn out. Once the pictures were released, the response was overwhelmingly positive. So much so, that many of my then first-year friends came to me last year itself requesting that the project be repeated for their class.
And so here we are again in 2015.
After much deliberation, the Kellogg Photography Club executive team decided to retain last year’s theme, but with a slight twist. Unlike last year, when the pictures were clicked in black and white, this year we’re shooting in color, adding hues of Kellogg in the background and allowing some of our more creatively-talented students to use not just words but also images in their messages.
The Portrait Project has been a success in terms of both coverage and enthusiasm. We clicked close to 400 graduating students last year, and this year we have already clicked 200 portraits in a single quarter. At the Kellogg Photography Club, we feel honored to carry on this tradition commenced by our friends and peers last year.
We feel a sense of quiet satisfaction in capturing a picture that our friends at Kellogg hold dear. We feel delighted that we are a medium through which they shine a light onto themselves and share their deepest aspirations for all of us to see.
We hope that this is a tradition that will continue well beyond our time at the school.
Aftab Khanna is a second-year MBA student at Kellogg and a member of the Class of 2015. He is also the President of the Kellogg Photography Club. In case you are a second-year student interested in getting your picture clicked in the Portrait Project, please reach out to Aftab or visit the Campus Groups page of the Kellogg Photography Club.