These photos were taken to represent youth. As the sunset on our day which brought us to a park in a city we have come to roam frequently, I was reminded of the short distance we have here. There is something about being young that makes us feel this time won’t pass us at the same accelerated speed our elders warned us about. We don’t think it will happen to us in that way. We fight it, say we are different. We take our time without the feeling of pressure on our backs pushing against the number we have come to call our age. But time is perception and our perception of it is never inline with the reality.
As we captured these photos, I didn’t think of the nostalgia that would follow. The innocence of hanging with friends on a weekend, taking photos as a way to reclaim our female form in a society that is constantly in a state of perplexity towards our bodies. A year later I can understand how important it was that I expressed this and how thankful I am to have memories that mark the idea of youth that I was experiencing as documentation for the generations to come who are asking the same questions. We never realize how important it is to see culture from another decade and continent, how one of the biggest connecting factors of humans is the fact we are all growing in a world we can’t understand and that our growth between youth and adulthood are transcendent over all the things that separate us.
With that, I have been thinking a lot of what it meant for me to “come of age” now that I feel I can no longer associate with that transition from childhood to adulthood which then brought me to the idea “Of Age”. It felt right to be looking at this from a different perspective that being “of age” has a lot of those child-like characteristics with so many of the adultisms that come when you have “Aged”. Maybe we always come back for a reason because that was how we first defined ourselves and maybe everything that comes after is always marked by our start and our beginnings.
“The sense of Clark’s (Larry Clark b. 1943) being an insider; recording the teenagers’ nihilistic progress into adulthood is emphasized in an essay in which he both describes experiences from his own life that mirror the events in his photographs and declares his motivation as an adult to take the photographs he wished he had made as a child.” - The Photograph As Contemporary Art
I never really thought about my age. I never felt the dread of turning another year older but 27 felt different like a shift into another dimension, a different and foreign territory marked by intense reflection for moments that have passed.
It’s the first time I’ve felt grown, finding myself in adult conversations and the reality settles that I’m not that teenager and the emotions intensify as another reality unfolds before me and that is that I’m further away from that youth, that feeling of euphoria and uncertainty and power and freedom. It’s indescribable. I never thought about my life away from these twenties somethings.
Which brought me to questions about “Coming Of Age”. It’s a reoccurring theme in photography and contemporary art because it’s apart of every one of us. It’s a tale we all share, it connects us regardless of the experiences that separate us. It’s so common and beautiful. But what happens as we exit this beautiful and confusing stage? What does it mean to be “of age”?
I guess I’m here to figure it all out. What I loved so deeply about the words above in regards to the work of Larry Clark is that although there are lines we should never cross, it is never too late to create work that represents the photos that have passed, the memories or dreams that are no longer with us but so deeply apart of us. It’s what we wish we had made.