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Lost Generation


Last week's post on Joseph Sterling's "The Age of Adolescence" reminded me of these photographs I shared last summer by Michael Rougier. I loved them last summer and seeing them today I'm just as inspired by these Tokyo youths and their rebellion against the status quo. Comparing these photographs to those of American teenagers at the same time we see similar themes of rock 'n roll, friend groups that become more important than family, and that nebulous time when one is not a child but not yet treated like an adult. However, despite similar visual themes far different stories run with each series. Sterling documented American teenagers and people talk about the mix of insecurity and bravado, Bruce Davidson photographs a gang of teenagers in Brooklyn and people call it a captivating look at people growing up in a rough neighborhood. In contrast the subjects of these images are often referred to as "nihilistic" and "desperately unhappy and lost." I don't know, when I look at these images I don't see sadness but rather a rare and heady sense of freedom that moves me in some strange way. Teenagers always scare the older generations is the most universal truth I find in every photographic series of this style I see.