Wednesday, 8 February 2012

So Last-Year: Teenage

There's a common link to lots of the things I like. Whether its gangs of the 1950smoody girl groups or melodramatic handkerchiefs there's part of me that's hung up on the idea of being an emotional, rebellious teenager again. In reality I was a very good, well-balanced teenager, so it's obviously my sub-conscious telling me off for not staying out a bit later, or ignoring my parents just that little more...

Whether you wasted your teenage years or spent your teenage years wasted, Jon Savage's Teenage is a fascinating book, charting that stage in life post-child, pre-grown-up in the decades before it became categorised as teenage. It's a massive book but well worth the effort: I still remember the description of the short jackets with boxy shoulders worn with mini mouse shoes by girl zazous in occupied France or the girl in their German counterparts, the Swing Kids, who dressed in blue silk stockings with a red heart on her knee, just to be different.

Savage has teamed up with film maker Matt Wolf to bring the material to life, blurring archives and actors in what looks an intriguing mix.

TEENAGE teaser from Teenage on Vimeo
As a side project to that, they're running a teenage blog which is packed with imagery of teenagers from across the globe and time. Tavi and Occupy London rub shoulders with Punks and the Bright Young Things and it covers universal issues as well as the intricate style codes of being a teenage, using flickr and archive imagery alongside more famous work by street photographers: 

I'd forgotten the prized orange lining of the Lord Anthony coat until I saw this image. I also love the fact the girl on the right is demonstrating a pose beloved of some teenage girls: sucking in her stomach and sticking out her chest. 

The clothes have changed but the storyline stays the same. Mark Charnock perfectly captures the youth of the suburbs getting trains into London to hit the town (in reality, probably getting turned away from a few pubs and pooling their cash to buy a McDonalds). 

This group of likely lads are a style tribe known as Sharpies in Australia in the 1970s. 

Paul Trevor shot these girls in a very different Brick Lane to today in the late 1970s/early 80s. 

And Karlheinz Weinburger's always fascinating photos of Swiss youths in the 1950s. 

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