Of grads and gratitude


When San Francisco-based Ashley Thompson & Ana Homonnay, who specialize in photographing children and teens were asked by a local high school to help commemorate the grads of 2020, they wanted to bring a bit of much needed closure—and a whole lot of joy. For four days, they scheduled 15-minute appointments with every grad, and, using safely distanced practices, shot a series of portraits of each student—with their families, holding their diplomas, wearing their caps and gowns, and just being themselves. They photographed more than 100 teens. The photos were used in the school’s online graduation ceremony. But Ashley & Anna knew right from the start that the shoot itself was as close to a real-live graduation as these students were going to get. So as each kid came on stage with their diploma, they led the family and the handful of teachers in the audience in a rousing cheer. Some kids laughed. Some cried. And one after another, they relaxed and let their personalities shine through. In the end, what started out as a photoshoot turned into something much more profound. It was a rite of passage—a commencement this class of 2020 and their families will never forget.