Shooting teenagers is something I veered away from for a while. I have always been fascinated by adolescents; it’s a time we can all look back on with vivid and intense memories. I respect and can relate to young people. Their creativity and the way that they embrace experience and adventure with such simplicity really reminds me how controlled and disconnected I can be sometimes.
I was approached by the BBC to participate in their BBC Artsnight programme and after throwing round a few ideas they asked me to do a shoot on ‘Youth and summer time in Hackney’.
I asked for the help of the amazing legend that is Gem Fletcher. (http://www.gemfletcher.com/) We’ve been meeting up and brainstorming left, right and centre for a while and Gem’s passion and enthusiasm is infectious. We both agreed this shoot would be a great opportunity to get to know one another better and hopefully spur some more ideas for our future collaboration.
With little time to play with we had to think and work quickly and knowing all too well the logistics of working with minors I knew it was going to be tough. We decided to keep things simple; to allow our theme to develop as we shot and just concentrate on a small group of young people.
I scouted a group in Stoke Newington on a sunny afternoon as they poured out of school. Laden with braces and biro tattoos they hung snuggly together in pools, excitedly gossiping and joking. They were instantly warm and interested when I explained I was looking for some help with a shoot. Stanley and Jaya were my connectors. They helped me organise model release forms, parental permission and after a few calls and emails we all met the following week for the shoot.
This shoot really rekindled that joy and excitement I have for working with teenagers that I seem to have forgotten. Their patience, engagement and company was incredible and I can’t thank them enough for supporting us on such a sweltering day of heat….
Artsnight airs on BBC2 Friday 17th July….OAO