Rising high school senior Evan Dennison's mom, Heather Waters, bought a "really, really large" picture frame and has it waiting to hang in their living room. All she needs now is the perfect senior portrait of her 17-year-old to go into it.
Waters recently arranged for a family member, professional photographer Tiffany Clark, to take Evan's photos while she was visiting their hometown of Portage, Indiana. Clark and Evan left for the shoot with a backpack filled with clothes handpicked by his mom, including a traditional button-down shirt and pants.
But Evan had another vision. "I knew exactly what I was doing," he told TODAY Parents.
When they reached a field where Clark planned to stage the shoot, she couldn't get Evan to change into the clothes his mother sent with him. Instead, he pulled a bathrobe from the bottom of his backpack.
"Why are you doing this to me? PLEASE just wear the clothes your mom sent," Clark pleaded.
"I'm going to be a LEGEND," Evan replied.
After trying to convince him to wear the intended outfit, Clark finally gave up. She now has 47 beautiful images of Evan, robed, in a field.
Evan was not wrong. After Clark posted the resulting photos on her professional Facebook page — complete with captions revealing what she said to Evan to prompt his poses and expressions — the shoot went viral, much to Evan's delight. It was shared on Facebook almost 100,000 times after just a few days.
Clark said these photos are a true reflection of her young cousin's personality. "Evan is everything you'd ever want to see in the coolest stand-up comedian dude ever, so this is totally normal," she told TODAY Parents.
Though she usually focuses on boudoir and family photography, Clark — who has a toddler son of her own — said she learned something by taking Evan's senior photos. "I think senior photos should be more like this. These kids aren't button-downs and khakis normally in life, so why should they be for the pictures that represent them?" she said.
When it comes time for her own son's senior photo shoot, Clark said she will be open-minded. "If he wants to wear a banana costume, I will take his pictures in a banana costume," she laughed.
Evan's mom is not as delighted with his sense of humor as the internet is. She's not OK with hanging one of Evan's bathrobe portraits in that frame she has waiting in her living room. "She loves that everyone loves them and that they reflect my personality so well, but she's still very unhappy with them as my senior photos," said Evan.
Clark and Evan promised his mother they would eventually take more photos in "mom-appropriate" clothing, Clark said.
But despite his mother's disgruntlement, Evan is proud of the photos and hopes he starts a trend among other high school seniors. "I'm not saying that you shouldn't make your mother happy, but senior photos should definitely be your photos," he said.