We are the SEEN – Finalist Tony Harkin
You might have seen some of my recent posts about the We are the SEEN competition. I am sure some of you have been asking yourself, what’s the big deal? Well, let me tell you!
This year I joined a group of renowned senior photographers so that I could offer something extra special to Planet Photo Seniors; the chance to be featured in a national senior magazine and take part in an editorial fashion shoot in California. My Planet Photo Tribe Seniors are invited to submit an application and Tony was interested in applying. Next year I will be offering the We are the SEEN competition application as part of my Headline Senior Sessions.
It’s not just about the images (although don’t get me wrong, designing a session for submission is a really fun part of the process!) but each applicant must tell their story; why other seniors would want to see and read about them in the We are the SEEN magazine. What makes them unique? What makes them different?
This year there were over 800 applicants from all over the United States. Tony was a finalist. That’s the big deal. We’ll be doing something to celebrate his success in the new year, maybe our own shootout in New York city….. He won’t be traveling with me to Palm Springs as one of the “12 Undiscovered” but I am still incredibly proud of his achievement in the competition and throughout the year as part of the Planet Photo Tribe.
I want to share Tony’s comp card and some of the other images we submitted with his application and I am including his story for you too.
“As I began to write this essay, I glanced around my bedroom. I had been attempting to come up with ideas for the better part of an hour, and was left with basically nothing. My eyes flitted about the room, and I realized that from my vantage point, the items I saw defined my whole life, my interests, hopes, and past. My 17 years of life were encapsulated in this collection of eclectic objectsOne of the first things you see when you enter my room are my bookcases. I have two, one against a wall, one in my closet. Both are packed tightly with my books, as I personally own and treasure over 100 books. The books traverse all genres, authors, and eras, from Harry Potter to Stephen Hawking, with some Bertrand Russell and Shakespeare in the middle. I’ve always tried to learn as much as I could, and I love learning new trivia and facts, even or especially when they seem meaningless. This helped me a lot when I was 12, because I ended up getting on the show Kids Jeopardy (yes the real one, with Alex Trebek and all). Here my head for trivia really payed off, because I ended up winning. That love for knowledge continued. A few years ago, I got a question about the capital city of Madagascar wrong, and to better myself, I memorized every country’s capital, from Abu Dhabi to Zagreb. I always want to be as informed as possible, to help myself try to make a valid contribution to this world we live in.My eyes slid past my bookcases and landed on my desk. I have a giant wooden desk that dominates the space, and currently it’s covered with college application materials. As a soon to be graduating senior, most of my free time is spent trying to figure out where the next 4 years of my life are going to be spent. Right now, I’m trying to attend Columbia University, my favorite college in my favorite city. Columbia has one of the best academic pedigrees available, while being in the largest city in the US, surrounded by theaters, museums, and restaurants. The only other major object on my desk is my record player. It was a gift last Christmas, and I use it nearly daily. I always need to have music playing in the background when I am trying to do homework. My music collection is almost as eclectic as my reading choices. My parents instilled me with an appreciation for the classics, so there is a healthy amount of artists like the Beatles and Billy Joel, but I also love newer artists that release work on vinyl, such as Jack Garratt and Raleigh Ritchie.Currently on my floor is my dance bag. For 10 years I have danced daily, for multiple hours, in ballet, jazz, tap, and acrobatics. I am lucky enough to have a phenomenal studio in my town that has managed to grant me some element of grace. My friends, passions, and future have all been defined by dance. Tap and acro gave a formerly nervous, fidgety kid an outlet for his explosive energy. Jazz helped me communicate my meaning, and ballet imbued me with strength. Possibly most importantly, they helped me realize that when I am older, I want to be a performer. Most of all, I want to be in musical theatre, perhaps one day even on Broadway. I haven’t been able to find anything that gives me the unbridled joy of performing, and hope to do it all my life.My eyes complete their journey about the room and end on my mirror. For a moment I stare at my reflection. It’s the end of the day, so I’m wearing glasses over my tired eyes. My messy brown hair is tousled over my eyes, and I’m in a comically large brown sweater. Something clicks in my brain. I was supposed to write about my story, but my story is never ending. As long as I take my breath, my story will be evolving. I can not wait to see where it takes me next.”Tony Harkin, November 2016
Do you want to be one of the We are the SEEN 12?
I will be starting a new round on Planet Photo models in the spring, let me know if you want to hear how you can be part of the 2KEIGHTEEN Senior and Teen tribes. All of my Senior Tribe along with Headline Seniors get the opportunity to enter the competition. I don’t know where the final shootout will be next year yet but I can guarantee it will be an experience you will never forget.
Contact me for more information!