(Photography by Rose Innes)

Our kind of poser

How phoenixing was born.

Crouch down, lift out your arms, sharpen your talons, and turn your head to the side. Stick out your tongue.” With those brief instructions posted to the Admissions Office’s Tumblr, phoenixing was born.

Admissions intern Lauren Kelly-Jones, ’14 (above), hatched the pose with some help from admissions counselor Grace Chapin, AB’11. Last summer, the two were talking about the online fad of photo poses and which ones they might recreate. “Planking was out,” says Kelly-Jones. “Neither of us wanted to lie down outside Rosenwald. We were considering owling when we were inspired: look like a phoenix.”

First to put theory into praxis was Evan Cudworth, AB’09, senior assistant director of admissions. Jumping onto his office windowsill, he contorted his body into the phoenix’s familiar stance on the University shield.

The photo fad was refined, thanks in large part to the Class of 2015, who contributed most of the several dozen photos posted so far. Last year’s entering first-years made the pose their own by submitting shots of themselves as phoenix wannabes. “It evolved in the hands of those who were about to begin their life at UChicago—or be reincarnated as College students, perhaps,” says Kelly-Jones. “I love that.”

Creativity flourished. “We have a photo of two girls phoenixing underwater in Ratner,” she says. “I have no idea how you’d be able to swim with your body in that position and hold your breath at the same time.”

Phoenixing photo shoots happen beyond campus too, from the Grand Canyon to Japan. France is the farthest from campus that Kelly-Jones has phoenixed, and she wants to return to pose in the City of Lights again. “I’m going to Paris in the fall to study, and I’ll definitely try to get back to the spot where I took that Eiffel Tower photo.”


Ready to strike the pose? Add your photo to the "phoenixing" group on Flickr.