Damian and Linda's Photography
Rebelling and conforming at the same time: by defying their parents and copying one another. (with apologies to Quentin Crisp)
It's easy for adults to lose a connection with teenagers and this can be as true photographically as in any other sphere. Teenagers are used to having camera phones and may well not be keen on the whole idea of a portrait sitting they perceive as another attempt to make them into something they're not.
Being a teen is all about trying to find out who you are. Given that some of us may still be unsure some years on, it isn't such a surprise that the formative years are uncertain in many ways. Successfully photographing teens is about giving them control and making them feel they can be cool - whatever that actually means. Bear in mind that our ideas of what's hot and what's not may not be the same as theirs; it quickly becomes obvious that the key to getting them to engage with the notion is to turn it into a fashion shoot - documenting their fashions as they like to be seen. Encourage them to come up with examples of films, magazines and pop videos they like and present them before the shoot to generate ideas before the day itself.
Sometimes it's little things like having untied shoelaces when the world wants you to tie them and sometimes it's big things like approaching the local test track to be photographed in a Dodge Viper before they even have a driving licence. Whichever, it is about letting them express themselves while they try to find out who they are, and doing it photographically is not only harmless but can be huge fun too.
Live a little - give them the reigns!
© 2006-2016 Damian Harty. Design by Andreas Viklund.