An ideal game of show-and-tell, experts say, allows children to share the feelings they have for their chosen object and, especially, to explain why they chose it.

But show-and-tell isn’t just for kids. Below, Bates photographers Phyllis Graber Jensen and Josh Kuckens show their favorite photos from 2016 and tell you the feelings they have for their chosen images.

On Frozen Pond

“One December afternoon, I came upon some friends playing pond hockey on the Puddle. Turns out that they were Lewiston High School alumni, now college seniors, home for winter break. All the elements conspired to create an iconic New England scene, there for the taking. So I pursued it with the excitement you have when you see something you really want.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

A group of Lewiston High School alumni home from college play afternoon pickup hockey game on the Puddle. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

The Stage is Hers

“It’s hard to get a wide photograph of action, whether it’s dance or sports. But this was a photo where everything seemed to click. It was a dress rehearsal so I had free rein to photograph from wherever I wanted. I chose to stand halfway up the center aisle and center everything as best I could. As the purple gradient appeared on the projection screen, I waited for an interesting pose from the dancer. Because no one is in the seats, the framing is great.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Country Crossing

“I often see athletes loping through campus although I’m usually out of position or have the wrong lens to photograph them. But as members of the men’s cross country team crossed Abbey Road — I mean Nichols Street — on their way down Campus Avenue for an afternoon run, everything worked out, including the zebra crossing that allows for a sweet rock ’n’ roll allusion.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Calm Before the Song

“This photograph shows the Deansmen on stage in the Gray Athletic Building just before the lights came up on their Back to Bates performance. I chose it because it captures a moment of calm but also the building of potential energy on stage, still in the dark, right before the music begins.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Sand Landing

“I was at the University of New Hampshire to photograph All-America triple jumper Sally Ceesay ’18, but one of my favorite photographs from the day turned out to be this image of Srishti Sunil ’18. I had imagined such a sand-swept moment, and here was my dream realized, a keeper.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Night Bright

“I’ve been enjoying night sky photography since moving from New York City to Maine, which has some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi. I looked forward to similarly dark skies in the American West during my time with a Short Term geology course, and I was not disappointed. This was a 10-minute exposure — the longer the exposure, the longer the star trails become. I’ve read that 80 percent of the people in North America will never see the Milky Way because of light pollution.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Creative Heads

“One morning I wandered over to the Olin Arts Center to take a single photo, maybe for Instagram, of a senior making artwork for the Senior Thesis Exhibition. I found Natalie Silver ’16 throwing a pot, and she welcomed me. Then Natalie’s friend and studio mate Sasha Lennon ’16 joined her and she, too, agreed to be photographed. As they worked side by side at their respective wheels, Sasha flipped her ponytail to the side, and I knew this was no one-picture post. Five weeks later, I was done.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

Studio art majors Sasha Lennon ’16 (left) of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and Natalie Silver ’16 of Bennington, Vt., throw pots in their Olin Arts Center studio in preparation for the Senior Thesis Exhibition. Lennon is double majoring in psychology, Silver in history. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

The Shirt Off His Back

“Photographing emotions in football and lacrosse can be difficult since expressions and eyes are usually obscured by masks. But the expression and intensity of this would-be Bates tackler, Mark Upton ’17, is not lost here.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Crash Course

“It was Short Term, and I was giddy at the prospect of photographing students at a local auto salvage yard, where they were doing EMT training. Arriving on site, I encountered acres of piled wrecks as far as the eye could see. That would have been enough for me, but the student reaction to an Auburn firefighter shattering a windshield, part of a demonstration of how to rescue a crash victim, provided the extra little kick that every picture benefits from.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Bound with a Kiss

“Thesis is a core component of Bates academics, but the enormity of the experience is hard to capture visually. I was alerted to a group of seniors who were in the library doing a student tradition: asking an underclass student to help bind their final copy of the thesis and then kissing it. This was the moment, a senior on the right and a first-year on the left, where thesis came together.” — Josh Kuckens

Taking part in a Bates tradition whereby a younger student helps bind a senior thesis, Josh Klein ’19 of Williston, Vt., and Cailene Gunn ’16 of Granby, Conn., “seal it with a kiss” after he helped bind her geology honors thesis. The ritual is ceremonial: Digital copies were uploaded earlier in the day. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

A Wedding Photographer

“I was photographing a Bates Outing Club canoeing event on the Puddle when I noticed a wedding party in colorful clothing posing for informal pictures. (Secret: I love to photograph weddings — as long as I am not the wedding photographer.) I knew the groom, Khasin “Shobow” Saban, so I was pleased when he and his bride, Fatuma Aden, permitted me to take a few portraits. They’d just come from their wedding in a Lewiston mosque.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Bobcat and Fox

“Covering the geology Short Term course out West, I spent a morning with a student who had gotten a license so he could do some flyfishing. He didn’t catch any fish, but this vulpine encounter afterward made for a successful morning for both of us. I had a long lens with me, and I was grateful for all of its 400 millimeters, plus a bit of a crop, for creating this shot.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

A Song for James

“The day before Commencement, I photographed a reception in Olin Arts Center in memory of the late James Jhun, a senior who died in January and who would receive his degree posthumously the next day. The event began with his family making a gift of a piano to the college, then everyone headed to the lobby. I returned to the piano room, where James’ sister, Iny, began to play as two of his friends listened, holding each other, tears rolling down their faces. There is an empty space in the picture’s center that for me represents both the absence and presence of James.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

Iny Jhun, sister of the late James Jhun ’16, plays a piano given to Bates by the James K. Jhun ’16 Memorial Fund during a reception in Olin Arts Center hosted by the Jhun family. At left are James’ friends Rebecca Schwartz ’16 of West Hartford, Conn., and Amanda Zakowich ’16 of Singapore. James, who died on Jan. 17, received a posthumous degree at Commencement. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Fairway Shot

“I’ve covered sports at Bates that I had never photographed before, and golf is one of them. During an actual match, the click of photography can be quite distracting. But during a practice I’m able to move around a bit more freely and get closer. This photo of Brad Rutkin ’17 teeing off was taken about eight feet behind him while I was lying prone.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Up a Tree

“I wanted a first-day-of-summer photograph, and trees are a centerpiece of the season. Taking a slow stroll across campus, I decided to get close and personal with this giant, so I used a prime wide-angle lens with the aperture set wide open (to blur the foreground and background) to draw attention to its beautiful texture. This picture is as much a reflection of me as the tree: one short and ordinary creature dwarfed by a magnificent, towering one.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Can’t Look Away

“One of the cool things about being a staff photographer here is documenting national events through the lens of Bates life. I photographed two presidential debate watch parties this fall. I guess that if this was 2000, students would have reacted to Gore sighing into the microphone. This time, it was things like one candidate calling the other ‘nasty.’ As I said, it was historic.” — Josh Kuckens

Students watch the Trump vs. Clinton debate in Pettigrew’s Filene Room. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Tracking the Sun

“Slowly, sun trumped fog one September morning on the Russell Street Track. Early-morning mist appears periodically as a photographer’s gift, and you don’t know where it will work out for a picture. But I’m always looking.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Wider View

“Two students showed me their sample of soil under a microscope while I was photographing their biology lab. I started trying to photograph just the sample and then, after some tinkering, I was able to incorporate the image from the microscope into a larger image of the class.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Sweet Sorrow

“It was time to say goodbye as a mom walked her first-year son back to Rand Hall after the concluding events for parents on Opening Day: a talk by President Spencer and a reception on the Library Terrace. I photograph these farewells every year and know that something sweet will emerge. I just don’t know how, nor the cast of characters, which is what propels me to return.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

The Face of Art

“Two visiting artists from Saudi Arabia were speaking to students in an anthropology class. Their work is serious, so the mood in the room was serious. But when they laughed, and I don’t even recall what was funny, I could tell that the divide between speaker and audience lifted a little bit as the class connected with them.” — Josh Kuckens

Saudi artists Ahmed Mater and Arwa Al Neami speak to Dana Professor of Anthropology Loring Danforth's class on myth, folklore, and popular culture during their visit to Bates for the opening of Phantom Punch at the Museum of Art. (Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

The First Lesson

“On the first day of Orientation, the First Year Seminars hold their first class session all at the same time. On my way to photograph another class indoors, I saw biology professor Brett Hugget and his first-years on the Historic Quad. Aside from the nice light and intensity of concentration on the part of Huggett and Paige Rabb ’20, this picture sums up the start of something beautiful: a Bates education.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

On the Historic Quad, Assistant Professor of Biology Brett Hugget teaches basic techniques to observe and document natural life to Paige Rabb '20 of Stamford, Conn., a student in the First Year Seminar "The Natural History of Maine's Neighborhoods and Woods.” (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Looking for Trouble

“Congressman John R. Lewis was a sincere Commencement speaker, and he delivered his speech from a position of lived experience, imploring students to ‘get in good trouble.’ I felt this image conveyed the urgency of what he was saying.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Sign Up

“Workers were changing power lines on Campus Avenue early one morning, and as I crossed the street to get to my office, I couldn’t help but notice the sun illuminating flagger James Cody’s face as he handled the traffic. I took a few wider shots and then asked if I could get a little closer. He graciously agreed. It’s always a bit intimidating to ask, but at this point I have lost most of my inhibitions.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Gone Fishing

“It was really early, 6:20 in the morning, and Matt Moretti ’06 had the look of a guy heading out for a fun day of fishing, which was the case here, as he has an aquaculture operation harvesting mussels on Casco Bay. I feel that this photograph was a great example of the saying that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” — Josh Kuckens

Moretti '06 steers La Cozze out of Portland Harbor toward Clapboard Island in Casco Bay, the site of the day's mussel harvest.

Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Tree Stand

“I was walking on the Russell Street Track when I noticed the women’s Ultimate team practicing on the adjacent softball field. I ran over with my iPhone, but they were just ending their practice, so I told them I’d be back with a ‘real’ camera. The next day, they opened with a huddle for announcements, and this was what I was looking for. Their formation — in front of the pine trees that seemed to mirror the closeness and strength of these young women — said everything I wanted to communicate about them.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen

The women's ultimate team huddles for announcements at the beginning of practice on the softball field. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Before There Was Music

“I photographed the rehearsals and performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis to go along with a text by my colleague Doug Hubley. The stained glass inside the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul made a beautiful backdrop for John Corrie’s spirited conducting, including this signature moment at the start of the whole performance that I was prepared for, thanks to an orchestra member and amateur photographer who tipped me off.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

March Moment

“These student activists chose Back to Bates weekend for a mock funeral procession through campus followed by a discussion in Commons. This moment stands out for the way it projects the participants’ pride and determination, as well as their sorrow and anger about the issue of police violence against African Americans.” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Ski It to Believe It

“I’ve learned that photographing Bates life means documenting students who embrace Maine winters rather than hide from them, like the students of the Shred Club who set up a grill and a ski jump at the bottom of Mount David one night. Though there was enough light thanks to two spotlights the students set up, I chose to shoot with a slightly slower shutter speed to capture the motion.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

Up Close with Perfection

“On the morning after the season’s first snowfall, I prowled campus looking for an obligatory snowscape. In front of the Hathorn flagpole, a thorn just begged to be photographed with a macro lens, which I did not have with me. So the next day, I snapped a macro on my camera and headed back to the flagpole to do justice to the thorn, and there it was, waiting for me. Except this time, I noticed something more interesting: red leaves covered with rectangular snow crystals. Fickle me, this was the one!” — Phyllis Graber Jensen


Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Still in Motion

“Shooting in low light calls for a slower shutter speed, which can make freezing the action difficult. Here I was able to stop the movement just enough to capture detail while showing some of the dancer’s motion. The color palette was also a bit different in Olin that night for the Sun Ra concert, with striking reds, blues, and greens projected across the concert hall.” — Josh Kuckens


Josh Kuckens/Bates College

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