graduation girls in the boys room
October 29, 2013

Photo Story: Girls in the Boy’s Room


The publishers of the Longmont Times-Call were not happy. There was a picture of a group of teenage girls standing near a line of urinals in the boys bathroom at Lyons High School, the photo splashed huge across the front of the graduation special section of the newspaper.

It was fairly early in my newspaper career. I had recently finished an internship at the Times-Call and was freelancing there and at several other publications before my first staff job. I was assigned to shoot several commencements all just an hour or two apart. My plan was to shoot the kids getting ready for the ceremony before I had to run out to shoot another school.

There were the standard shots of mortar boards, gowns, makeup, and the kid that insisted on wearing Chuck Taylor shoes instead of dress shoes. When a girl came into the room and announced that the girls room was locked thus blocking access to the mirror. Another suggested that the boys room was open. So they sent a boy in to see if the coast was clear. While they were waiting for the word I asked permission to follow them in. I already had the picture composed in my mind, I just needed permission to make it.

They said it was cool so into the bathroom we went. I immediately walked to the end of the line of urinals and started shooting. My hands shook with adrenaline as I already knew that this was going to be an awesome photo. The girls fixed hair and makeup in the mirror and giggled as they wondered why I was taking photos of the urinals. It only lasted a couple minutes and they went on their way and I ran back to my car to make it to the next graduation in time.

The next day the paper received phone calls both pro and con for the photo. Someone even said that I had ruined the girl’s graduation memory. Management was not happy but the Chief Photographer, Patrick Kramer stood up for the photo and explained the juxtaposition of the girls and urinals. The drama blew over and the photo won several contests, it is still one of my favorites of my journalism career.

Get in touch with us so we can take pictures of you in the bathroom getting ready for your wedding.

Eric Bellamy
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Eric Bellamy is an award-winning photojournalist whose work has appeared on the likes of ESPNHS, the New York Times, Denver Post and more. He now focuses on editorial-style wedding photography and portraiture. He lives with his wife and children, and enjoys climbing rock and ice as well as sampling good wine and food in Northern Colorado.