the most immediate resemblance with these two are the blue t-shirts, but it’s obvious there’s more. there is the slight stockiness of both, and their short, no-bullshit haircuts. neither cares about their hair, but they don’t care enough to “not care” either; it’s a conservative not-caring, rather than an anarchist one. this air of “conservative not-caring” is perhaps what makes the two such an obvious and successful pair. the one on the left is the sneakier of the two, while the one on the right is more affectionate; a good dynamic, since left’s sneakiness is tolerated and unrivalled by right, though left very occasionally feels faint urges for more conflict in their relationship, which translate into very slight, almost imperceptible moments of discord, where right momentarily feels alone or confused, and left momentarily feels annoyed or angry. though they may be unlikely to remain lifelong friends, their choice to sit next to one another was unspoken and matter-of-fact.
again, the most obvious resemblance is the clothing; white shirts and white/light-colored baseball caps, a casual hint of red somewhere on their outfits, small earrings on their visible ears. their clothing is less childlike than that of many of their schoolmates, a look of maturity that is perhaps inherited from their respective mothers. what is even more compelling though, is their aura of impenetrable calm and confidence; i believe that these two are “the popular girls”. right is the most popular, and left is her best friend. right’s slouch, tan, extremely-calm-and-confident facial expression, her choice to only faintly move her head forward in acknowledgement of being photographed, and her clothing that casually boasts of luxury travel, just scream “popular girl”. left, on the other hand, who is “second-most-popular-girl,” is a hustler - a self-made woman - she made it on her own and will do anything to stay there. this is clear from her go-getting lean forward, alert facial expression and generally pointy appearance. left is often the more dominant in their relationship, but a certain glance or phrase from right can put her back in place at any time. a classic pair.
while there is a resemblance, this is a strange pair. after much consideration i’ve decided the two are not friends. i imagine both are sitting with a friend that is out of frame, on their respective left and right (since it is the backseat of the bus). the two are even physically separated by the backpack, perhaps to avoid awkward contact. still, i believe there does happen to be a strong resemblance between them. for one, their age; both seem notably younger than any of their bus-mates. both have also tilted their heads and/or shoulders in posing for the photo, as if announcing their total dedication to being photographed. while i do not mean this in a bad way, to me they both have an air of “tragedy.” right’s clothes are oddly-fitting, and her thoughtless pose seems glassy-eyed and insane, to the point that it frightens me to think about. “the real her” seems far away, maybe choking on rainwater in a small, dirty puddle. left, while different in character, is equally or more tragic; her tight-lipped enthusiasm and extreme shoulder tilting suggests an uncomfortably misguided confidence echoed by her t-shirt slogan, “JUST BE YOURSELF”. admittedly though, i no longer believe their resemblance to each other is as strong as i first estimated.
they both look older than their busmates, and compared to the other males on the bus, both have a relaxed, naturalistic, mature look. they both seem “tired of it,” and mutually show no respect to the photographer’s interest - almost the exact opposite of the previous pair, who abandoned themselves to the camera selflessly. yes, it is true that the one on the right is smiling, but it’s not a “smile for the camera” smile, it’s a “hah, yeah, a camera, nice one, whatever, i’m actually thinking about something else” smile. not that he meant to give that impression; he genuinely is just not that interested or bothered by the camera. left’s visible attitude, on the other hand, is a conscious show of disrespect. he chooses to look at the camera-holder rather than the lens, a refusal to acknowledge the lie of the posed-photograph genre, to play along with the game - it’s a passive-aggressive gesture, and one that directly places him “above” what he may view as a corny, condescending and/or just annoying bus photo. another point of resemblance is that both wear the same style of t-shirt; a style less childlike than that of the other two male bus pairs. there is a strange feeling about this photograph, doubtless at least partly a result of left’s incandescent beauty and his sad, ambiguous one-eyed off-screen gaze. whatever the case though, in addition to some aesthetic similarities, their clearest resemblance is a strong mutual air of “mature, preoccupied, not-interested”.
these two are the girls that many of the male bus members have a secret crush on, while they kind of pretend to have crushes on “the popular girls”. to some extent the two are “tomboys”; both at least partially enjoy sport or some kind of high-activity physical thing (maybe dancing, as suggested by right’s t-shirt), and both lack a certain delicate vagueness-of-intention visible in some other bus girls. evidence of these things: left’s boylike hat, right’s not-caring attitude toward her hair and unshyness about her braces, the fact that they were moving/being physically active as the photograph was taken (as shown by the blur, even if the blur resulted only from the photographer’s quick attempt to capture their quick movements, or maybe it was more a desperation to capture their enthusiasm/affection, something to show off to teachers/parents, something to say “look, the dream is real” when they might be discouraged by photos like the previous one). their smiles are both a bit ironic, as if they’re amused by the situation and are now laughing/smiling at an in-joke instead of smiling directly for the camera, but it is not a disrespectful form of irony; this kind of playfulness is exactly what the teacher/photographer wants to show the audience. this pair is considered by many to be likeable, easy to get along with, though they are sometimes resented by the popular girls for their differentness and vaguely feared by others for their insularity; in any case, what is important is that their appearance and personalities resemble each others’ strongly.
these two have both chosen to fold their arms to a degree, if only as an excuse to hug their backpacks, and to “jut” their faces out (i don’t know what the word “jut” means, exactly). their smiles are both comically angular, as if they were shown the same illustration of a smile and told “do this with your mouth”. both wear white colored earrings. the more i look at the photo, trying to figure out what exactly is the quality that makes them seem so similar, the more i am endeared by this pair. perhaps it is a nervousness, a nervous excitement. definitely there is a nerdiness about both of them, evident in their smiles and “jutting”, and i think maybe the bag-hugging shows some kind of nervous, excited preoccupation; both look like they’re waiting for something else, like maybe they’re the kind of people who, despite being best friends and very similar, don’t feel entirely comfortable in each others’ presence, there is always a kind of lacking feeling, but also in a way they are very happy to wait, to be lacking together. somehow i can imagine them at a sleepover, each in separate beds in the dark, talking about how they envy some girl or like some boy, both looking up into the dark and imagining their lives with that other person, never solely happy with the company of the other, yet also somehow totally comfortable with that, being alone together. i can imagine this, but why exactly i think this i am not sure - i think it is the bag-hugging, their mutual decision to suspend their previous activities and pose for the camera. these things for some reason hint to me, despite their being best friends, a mutual expectancy, a mutual preparedness for something that is not the other. their resemblance to each other is, in this sense, uncanny.
“the douchebag look” is the what is most likely to be noticed first here. left’s bieber-like haircut, accidentally open mouth and tight bag-hugging, and right’s sideways FBI hat, shark-tooth necklace, the fact he is wearing his backpack despite sitting down (won’t his lunch be squashed…), and his hardcore stoic facial expression. i don’t mean to say either are actually “douchebags”, and i don’t have anything against any of the details i just listed, all i mean is that they have “that look”, right certainly more than left does, but still. they also both look like puppy dogs to a degree, especially left with his wet nose. a detail i like which is not really relevant is that the peak of right’s hat is almost touching left’s hair. i don’t mean to criticize either, but i think generally this pair’s ultimate point of resemblance is a seeming lower degree of self-awareness than possessed by most of their bus-mates.
this is my personal favorite pair. both have similar length, same-color hair. they look like they could be foreign language teachers - maybe right would be a french or german teacher and left would be a spanish or english one (though i think everyone on the bus is spanish). they just have that language-teacher look, which is a look i really appreciate. their t-shirts also have similar size sleeves. neither has posed for the photo (right is scratching her face, left is sitting back with her arms straight), yet both are smiling naturally in response to seeing the camera. i can imagine left being an exchange student in japan, and right being granted a prestigious music scholarship to london, and both frequently writing letters to each other from those places. i imagine both to be slightly introverted and in some way “exceptional,” and also imagine that both will frequently be considered a mystery to people around them, although never to each other. again, why it is i imagine these qualities i am not entirely sure; probably it is just the hair.