America’s Next Cropped Photographer

Food Network, Premier May 2016

The first basket will consist of a Redsox baseball cap, a lei, a swimsuit model, and one dirty beer mug. You’ll think to yourself that you’ve got this round in the bag, that the old lady who owns her own decoupage photo gallery and the little girl who is only Instagram famous will have no chance.

You will create a sad scene with the swimsuit model passed out on a sidewalk with the beer mug and cap at her side; the lei will cover her left breast. After twenty minutes is up, the judges will tell you that the shot is honest yet agonizing. They’ll say they’ve seen this type of thing outside of Fenway Park before. Granny’s photo of decoupaged breasts will get cropped.

The next basket will be a little more difficult. In it will be a quarter collection, a potted flower plant, incense, and old-fashioned postcards. You will waste none of the forty minutes allotted, you’ll set up the quarters around the plant with the postcards cleverly acting like a scenic background. The judges will think you could have used the incense more upfront and you will try to explain that you didn’t have enough time. Luckily you don’t get cropped this round.

The last basket will be your downfall. It will have a mini clown costume, a deck of cards, an ugly kitten, and a record player. You’ll be stumped. The Instagramming little girl will be furiously at work,photographing cats is 80% what she is known for. You’ll be left with no other option then the easy route, the route that you’ve never seen win someone America’s Next Cropped Photographer.

The kitten won’t sit still in the clown outfit; nothing in the photo will make sense to you and thirty minutes will be up. The judges will say that your photo doesn’t flow. They’ll say that the record player and deck of cards are out of proportion to the clown kitten. You’ll say nothing, you will just nod and be cropped. You will thank the host and the judges for this opportunity of a lifetime. The Instafamous little bitch will shriek with excitement as you turn and walk away. You’ll make a testimony after your walk of shame and it will go something like this:

“I am certainly not done in the Cropped studio,

My fifteen frames of fame are just now developing.”

MICHAEL CICCONI lives in Tallahassee, FL and studies creative writing, film, and humanities at FSU. Adventures with his Ultimate Frisbee team take him all over the country, when not playing ultimate he likes to notice life’s stories all around him and create personal dialogues with his environment. There is no doubt Michael will remain an explorer of the world.