A LONG time ago an Elon senior sent an e-mail to all Elon faculty and staff asking for their help with a senior thesis project. She was a photography major and wanted to take pictures of Elon faculty and staff with an object that mattered to them. I'm sure there was more to it than that, but since this is all about Braeden, her purpose doesn't really matter. Right? Right.
I volunteered because I'm an all-around good person and campus citizen. And I knew right away that my "object" would be Braeden. I checked with Rhiannon to be sure she was up for a two-year-old boy and she was game. We chose a time on a Saturday and I took Braeden to the art studio for his close-up.
Rhiannon had a couple standard poses she was asking everyone to do (sit on a stool, stand next to a stool, etc.) and then asked if there was anything else I wanted to try. Since I had brought a couple of books with me and Braeden absolutely LOVES story time, that seemed like a natural fit for the two of us.
A month or so later, Rhiannon brought a proof sheet to me to review. I had to pick one photo for the art show and write a couple sentences to explain why I chose that particular photo. I can't remember my exact words, but I'm sure I said something about Braeden's love of books. And this is the photo that hung in the senior art show. We all went to the opening to see Braeden made famous! We ended up seeing a lot of Mat's students (and told them all to go see Braeden's photo) and a few of his faculty colleagues as well. It was a very well-attended opening and a lovely display of photos of people I knew but maybe didn't know in that particular context. Many of the others chose family mementos or photos for their objects or something that represented their personal or professional persona. It was a very heartfelt project and each of us who participated felt great to help a student and share a little bit of ourselves with the rest of the Elon community.
Oh, and because I'm a diehard Giants fan (as is Braeden!), he had to wear his Giants jersey for the photo. Always representing the home team!