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HomeContentsThemes > Adolescents


Information requests
280.01   Improving content on life stages
280.02   Larry Clark: Tulsa
280.03   Larry Clark: Teenage Lust
280.04   Roger Mayne: Youth
280.05   Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986)
280.06   Lauren Greenfield: Girl Culture
280.07   Michelle Sank: Teenagers
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated.
Information requests 
280.01   Documentary >  Improving content on life stages 
We are seeking to extend the information and examples we can share on life stages.
  • Earliest photographs where photographers have concentrated on a specific period e.g. babies, children, adolescents, middle age, elderly, dead
  • Key photographers who have specialized in a life stage
  • Major documentary photographic series
These points are indicative of topics that could be included on this page and if you have expertise you would like to share now is the time to get in touch.
If you are able to assist in any way it is appreciated.
280.02   Documentary >  Larry Clark: Tulsa 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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The American Dream of the 1950s and 60s of neat suburbia and the acquisition of ever-increasing numbers of possessions was fractured by more liberal Hippy culture and challenges to all forms of government and authority. The Vietnam War (1961-1975) and the continuing Cold War (1945-1991) was affecting a generation born during around the Second World War (1939-1945) who did not share the same values as their parents. Larry Clark was born in 1943 in Tulsa (Oklahoma and was a part of this group. His photographs documented his own world of male adolescents if his home town during the time of Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Easy Rider (1969). The films were about outsiders, drugs, male prostitution and issues that were not shown in polite society. Larry Clark saw, and participated in, this largely hidden world of sex, drugs, guns and violence - by photographing his community he discarded all artifice and showed a troubled community with blunt force. His book Tulsa,[1] which included photographs Clark had taken from 1963 onwards was autobiographical and raw - this was far from the humanistic photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson or Robert Doisneau it had was a personal view of a netherworld which society was trying, and failing, to ignore.[2]
Larry Clark was awarded an NEA grant on the basis of Tulsa but his next project Teenage Lust[3] would take over ten years to be published because of his own heroin addiction and a period in prison. 
280.03   Documentary >  Larry Clark: Teenage Lust 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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Larry Clark had given a semi-autobiographical account of his social circle of drugs, guns and sex in his first book Tulsa[4] and he continued in a similar vein with his next book Teenage Lust[5]. He self-published in New York in 1983 with a further edition published in Tokyo in1987. The book dealt with his own sexual encounters from his Tulsa years accompanied by more recent work on the male hustlers and prostitutes of Time Square in New York.
Larry Clark has continued to explore issues of adolescence in his films.[6] 
280.04   Documentary >  Roger Mayne: Youth 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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Roger Mayne in the late 1950s took street photography in England. For five years he photographed Southam Street in London's Notting Dale[7] documenting children at play and adolescents attempting to gain their independence through fashion and style. There are clear similarities between the work of Roger Mayne in London and the photographs of Helen Levitt[8] in New York
280.05   Documentary >  Nan Goldin: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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During the 1980s Nan Goldin put on autobiographical shows that included hundreds of slides combined with rock music. The intimate photographs she used were of her own friends and acquaintences giving an immediacy to the work but also her community was one of outsiders. It was a community of drugs, alcohol, gays, transvestites, battered women and clubbing - at times dysfunctional and in need of professional help but it was a rare reflection of life as it is lived.
This was not the first time drugs, guns and youthful lust had been shown in photographs as Larry Clark had done it in black and white in the 1970s[9] in Tulsa (1971) and later on with Teenage Lust. The work of Nan Goldin was more personal with colour snapshots of a life she was an active participant in. There was no attempt at the perfect photograph rather it was about capturing moments in a visual diary no matter how brutal or tender. When her book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency came out in 1986 it was the honesty of the portrayal that gave it power.[10]
The acceptance the use of what is essentially vernacular imagery into fine art has led to the term snapshot aesthetic being used. Nan Goldin had graduated from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University (1977-1978) and was aware of contemporary culture and art - she was an aware artist who captured her "tribe" of friends with rare intimacy and candour. 
280.06   Documentary >  Lauren Greenfield: Girl Culture 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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Laureen Greenfield in her documentary series has explored issues related to the temporal shrinking of adolescence in Los Angeles,[11] body image[12] and an obsession in American society with dieting[13] Her 2012 film The Queen of Versailles was a documentary of a billionaire couple as the construction of their vast mansion stumbled as the real estate bubble burst. The common thread through these is the superficiality of a fast-paced and self-obsessed lifestyle fuelled by wealth. The mantra of physical perfection pushed to extremes where girls are expected to be, or desire to be, women without the knowledge that comes with maturity and self-knowledge. In this world vanity and the display of wealth and position through clothing and material possessions replaces inner values. It is impossible to criticise the individuals portrayed without knowing them but a viewing of Laureen Greenfield's work as a whole is a portrayal of a small part of American society that has the intellectual depth of a beauty pageant. 
   Lauren  Greenfield 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
280.07   Documentary >  Michelle Sank: Teenagers 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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My photography has always encompassed issues around social and cultural diversity. For the last 5 years I have photographed young people in different social contexts across the UK and Ireland. The portraits have been produced through a mix of street photography and youth group collaborations. By photographing in varying physical and social environments, I hope to capture the nuances, norms and sense of identity that are particular to and a reflection of youth within different societies today.
As a continuation of this I have also photographed older women, exploring the ageing process as something beautiful in itself and where body awareness and sensuality can still be enjoyed alongside the inner reflections and wisdom that accompany this stage of life.
I work independently as well as undertaking gallery residencies and commissions the most recent being Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland, and the 2nd Fotofestival in Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg, Germany.
Bye Bye Baby
These portraits deal with the way young boys and girls interpret their understanding of masculinity and femininity within the milieu of our society today. Having left the purity of their childhood worlds, they seem to take on the trappings attributed to the grown ups they mimic.
The way they interact with the world around them in a purely physical sense, as well as in a social and psychological one, has been of continuing interest to me.
Teenagers Belfast
These portraits are from a series called which was commissioned by Belfast Exposed Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2005.
The remit was to empower these teenagers with a sense of individuality and to locate them within environments that bear no reference to the political struggles or past emblems of this. I wanted to portray these young people as normal teenagers, positive symbols of a new and developing society although still showing signs of a specific culture in the dress, the buildings, the light, the landscapes.
Into the Arms of Babes
England has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe and this statistic continues to be a growing concern in our society today. In this project I am exploring the current phenomenon of teenage mothers, and in some cases, teenage parents.
Essentially these young carers feel like children themselves, and it is this vulnerability that I hope to convey in the images. I am also interested in showing the relationship and bonding that can, and does exist, between young parent and child. Finally I hope to reveal the dynamics that are apparent between the mother, her partner and the extended family.
Young Carers
These images are from a project about Young Carers, children under the age of 18 who are often the main carers for a sick parent or sibling. In addition to performing daily household tasks like washing, bathing, cooking and shopping, they also have to cope with the additional pressure of school. Because they are different, they are often exposed to bullying from schoolmates and as a result lack a sense of identity as an individual in their own right.
With these portraits, I wanted to empower these young people with a sense of their own identity and normality. I wanted to remove them from their home environment and place them with ‘light’ and outside spaces. By getting them to dress in something they chose and to be themselves, I think for that moment in time they felt special, grounded and free.
These portraits were undertaken at a rehabilitation centre for adolescent boys who have offended and/or been in prison. During the photographic process a dialogue was established which created a sense of trust on both sides. This enabled them to express their individuality, something that has been denied to them most of their lives and thereafter in prison.
Celestial Echoes
These portraits deal with the way young boys and girls interpret their understanding of masculinity and femininity within the milieu of our society today. Having left the purity of their childhood worlds, they seem to take on the trappings attributed to the grown ups they mimic.
The way they interact with the world around them in a purely physical sense, as well as in a social and psychological one, has been of continuing interest to me.
Michelle Sank (September 2007) 
   Michelle  Sank 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist

  1. Λ Larry Clark, 1971, Tulsa, (New York: Lustrum) 
  2. Λ In 1968 Larry Clark shot a 16mm film Tulsa (1968, 64 min.). He took contact prints from a section of the film but little was known of the overall work until it was rediscovered in 2010. clark_02 
  3. Λ Larry Clark, 1971, Tulsa, (New York: Lustrum) 
  4. Λ Larry Clark, 1983, Teenage Lust, (New York: self-published); Larry Clark, 1983, Teenage Lust, Second edition, (New York: self-published); Larry Clark, 1987, Teenage Lust, (Tokyo) 
  5. Λ The films of Larry Clark include: Kids (1995); Another Day in Paradise (1998); Bully (2001); Teenage Caveman (2002, television film); Ken Park (2002); Wassup Rockers (2006); Destricted (2006, with various other artists);Marfa Girl (2012); The Smell of Us (2014, French) 
  6. Λ Notting Dale is a part of North Kensington near Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove. 
  7. Λ Books on Roger Mayne - Roger Mayne, 1996, Street Photographs of Roger Mayne, (Art Books Intl Ltd); Roger Mayne, 2001, Roger Mayne Photographs, (Random Hose) 
  8. Λ Helen Levitt, 1965, A Way of Seeing, (New York: The Viking Press) [Essay by James Agee] 
  9. Λ Nan Goldin, 1986, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, (Aperture) 
  10. Λ There is a documentary on Nan Goldin entitled I'll be your Mirror (1996) 
  11. Λ Lauren Greenfield, 1997, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, (Knopf) 
  12. Λ Lauren Greenfield, 2002, Girl Culture, (Chronicle Books) 
  13. Λ Lauren Greenfield & Joan Jacobs Brumberg, 2006, Thin, (Chronicle Books)


HomeContents > Further research

Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
Larry Clark 
Clark, Larry, 1983, Teenage Lust, (New YorK: Self-published) [First edition, unpaged] [Δ
Clark, Larry, 1983, Teenage Lust, (New YorK: Self-published) [Second edition, unpaged] [Δ
Clark, Larry, 1987, Teenage Lust, (Tokyo) [Δ
Lauren Greenfield 
Greenfield, Lauren, 1997, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, (Knopf) isbn-10: 0679454535 isbn-13: 978-0679454533 [Δ
Greenfield, Lauren, 2002, Girl Culture, (Chronicle Books) isbn-10: 0811837904 [Δ
Greenfield, Lauren & Brumberg, Joan Jacobs, 2006, Thin, (Chronicle Books) isbn-10: 081185633X isbn-13: 978-0811856331 [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - 

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

Larry Clark  (1943-) • Rineke Dijkstra  (1959-) • Lauren Greenfield  (1966-) • Sally Mann  (1951-) • Melissa Ann Pinney  (1953-) • Michelle Sank  (1953-) • Nazif Topcuoglu
HomeThemesDocumentaryLife stages > Adolescents 
A wider gazeRelated topics 

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Adolescents

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailLauren Greenfield: Girl Culture 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (December 6, 2007)
ThumbnailMichelle Sank: An Evolving Retrospective 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (September 19, 2007) Portrait studies that explore the essence of adolescence.

HomeVisual indexes > Adolescents

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailLarry Clark: Teenage Lust 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailLarry Clark: Tulsa 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRoger Mayne: Youth 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Refreshed: 13 August 2014, 22:27
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