I’ve recently come to the realisation that PhD defence ceremonies are one of my favourite things to photograph, so much so that I went ahead and added a new section to my website here sharing my favourite photos from ceremonies I’ve had the privilege of capturing over the years. It may seem weird, given that in Groningen, you can only photograph the moments before and after the event itself. But one of the main tenants of photojournalism is that some of the most authentic and interesting moments happen in the lead up to the portion of the programme that is designed to be observed. The body language of anticipation and reassurances beforehand, and the huge rush of relief afterwards are so lovely to witness and capture, and the endless stream of joyful embraces at the reception are a welcome challenge to photograph in a different light. So I was excited when Anna found me and asked me to photograph her defence of her research into the impact of multilingualism on cognition and raging in the Netherlands (which is another benefit of photographing defences: I get to learn about incredibly interesting topics that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to). She and her paranymphs were super friendly and warm, as was everyone else who surrounded them to celebrate Anna’s achievement.