X-Ring Portraits

Graduation Portraits , November 25, 2016

The X-Ring is a long standing tradition at St. Francis Xavier University.  Designed by Cameron’s Jewellery, the X-Ring is considered the third most recognizable ring in the world.  With an average order rate of 95%, the ring is immensely popular with graduating students.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing photography of the event, when a new graduating class earns a token of their hard work and membership in the Xaverian community.  The most common types of photographs I see are of the student holding their fist toward the camera (showing the ring), or crossing their arms in front of their chest to form an “X”.

As a portraitist, I’ve been considering over the last few years how a portrait might best show both the X-Ring and the person wearing it.

Arguably the most famous portrait photographer was Yousuf Karsh, an Armenian-Canadian photographer whose images of royalty, working-class people, Hollywood stars, politicians, artists and authors remain timeless icons.  Karsh believed a lot could be communicated about a subject by the placement of their hands.

As a keen student of Karsh’s portraits, I poured over his work, and three images surfaced that I thought would provide excellent templates for X-Ring portraits.  They are as follows:


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I’ve decided to start offering these X-Ring portraits to graduating students who are interested in January 2017.  The portraits will all be composed in monochrome (black and white), and students will be encouraged to wear solid coloured (no logos or pattern) long-sleeved sweaters/suits/shirts.

The following are a few examples of how the X-Ring Portraits will look:


xring3-travis-dsc_0612-screenxring2-mackenziemacphee-dsc_0526-screenxring3-travis-dsc_0602-screenFor the duration of the 2016/2017 academic year, graduating students can have these X-Ring portraits taken in conjunction with their formal graduation portraits; which is to say, no extra sitting fee will be required.  The X-Ring Portrait pricing will be similar but independent to the formal graduation portraits.

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