The picture I chose for this assignment was “Prom Kiss.” In this image, we see a couple going in for a kiss on prom night. The couple stands in the center of the photo with the man on the left and woman on the right. Their faces are filled with passion and intimacy, and though both of their eyes appear to be closed at first glance, closer inspection reveals that the woman’s eyes have remained partially open. Her arm is slumped limply at her side, a portion of her weight distributed through the man’s embrace. Their posture and expressions make this a stare-worthy encounter, but especially in relation to everything else happening in the photograph. All around the couple, similarly well-dressed individuals party with little regard to their respective dates. Their eyes are wide open with the exception of a small group on the left side who appear to be fixing something. The formal attire and 1950’s-esque backdrop is an apparent contrast to the wild attitudes of the prom-goers. A man on the left is eyeing something or someone hungrily. On the left side, one can find the only smile being directed off screen.

This photo invites empathy towards the kissers in the center of the photograph by means of contrast: they are neither casual nor uproarious, and their apparent sincerity in the act causes one to question their relationship, not only to each other, but to their collective environment. We gain insight into the culture of the prom, both in its ability to produce the cliché and romantic “prom kiss” as well as other norms such as dancing and the ever-common circle of girls huddling to adjust someone’s something in the name of fashion.

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