Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Complicated: The American Teenager
By Robin Bowman

Back in 2001 photographer Robin Bowman was invited to spend a long weekend with a friend and her extended family in a remote cabin in Canada. With her talent for photography, and with so many open-minded, friendly teens surrounding her, she decided to do what came natural: interview and take their photographs!

That weekend sparked Bowman's desire to crisscross the nation meeting, interviewing, and photographing teens from all walks of life. Often times she just walked up to them on the street and started chatting with them. If they agreed to be interviewed she would take their pictures, then sat down with them in a quiet place (sometimes her car!) to ask them 26 questions (Yes, everyone got the same 26 questions!). After four years and eight very long car trips she put together this stunning, award winning book that takes a revealing peek into the lives of a very diverse group of teens. You owe it to yourself to take a peek at it! ~ Reviewed by Robbie

  • "My biggest fear is getting older and becoming a bum on the street or something, and having nowhere to live. Sleeping in cold parks. That's my biggest fear. Because nobody grows up and says, "I want to be a bum." It just happens." Excerpt from interview with Shavaris Buie, age 18, Brooklyn, New York.
  • "When I become an adult - then I want more than my family has. I've always strived to do better than what my dad's done in life. He was a three point student; I wanna be a 3.5. He was a good athlete; I wanna be a great athlete. I wanna go out and do better than that and provide something better for my kids . . ." Excerpt from interview with John Srofe, age 16, Terrace Park, Ohio.
  • "I don't like staying with my mom . . . she's not there. She's crazy . . . she acts like she's twelve. I did have a job, but she took my paycheck She had just barely moved into this one place and needed, like, dishes and this and that, so she took my paycheck." Excerpt from interview with Diamond Aviles, age 15, Montello, Nevada.

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