13 and Over


Childhood Lost

When I was a 12/13 I had a short boys hair cut, rarely wore shoes and always wore shorts growing up in Australia. And I don’t mean the thigh high kind – I mean second hand old khaki shorts from the army depot where my parents thought it was good to collect items to up-cycle.

I guess this is in part due to the fact that we lived on 27 acres of bush-land on theEast Coast of Australia next to a rainforest. Cow tipping and chasing cane toads were more normal than going for a manicure or having your hair done.

I have now lived in Edinburgh for over 12 years and it fascinates me the difference of city kids to how I remember growing up. I have friends here who have teenage girls and I am shocked by the level of ‘adult-hood’ which they experience at such a young age.

Pinterest Mood Board

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Sally Mann

This image by Sally Mann ignites in me a feeling of sadness. Sadness of a childhood lost. Young girls are always in such a hurry to grow up and be adults. Shot on film the image appears to be burnt around the edges drawing your eye straight in to the subject who is wearing  light coloured dress symbolising her youthful innocence. Her pose is mature and her face expressionless, like that of an adult and the action of smoking a toy cigarette suggests her desire to grow up far too quickly.

After investigating Sally Mann’s images of her children from the 70’s further, they are always naturally lit and surrounded by darkened backgrounds, drawing your eye in to the shot and the subject. The natural light is usually set in a way that is rembrandt lighting/side lighting dependent on the mood she is looking to achieve.

‘Boys Smoking, Portland road’ by Roger Mayne



Ilona Swarc

‘American Girls’

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A few years back I visited the National Portrait Gallery where I saw the ‘Taylor Wessing Portrait’ Prize finalists, here is where I discovered Ilona Szwarc’s ‘American Girls’.

Over two years, Ilona Szwarc documented over a hundred girls and their American Girl dolls. She first encountered the American Girl phenomenon while photographing the streets of New York.

“I kept noticing girls walking around with their look-alike dolls. Initially, I was very drawn to this beautiful image of a little girl with her mini-twin.”

The franchise began with a handful of dolls styled after different periods of American history.

“I was really struck by the fact that these dolls are called American girls. It felt really exclusive—only for Americans and about Americans, I realized that this could be a window into American culture”

She put out a call for models on Facebook and American Girl fan pages, to an overwhelming response.

Much of Szwarc’s work deals with gender identity the way the ‘American Girls’ series does.  Other examples include ‘Rodeo Girls’

‘Rodeo Girls’

Helen Van Meene

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Seeing Hellen Van Meene’s talk at the National Gallery made me contemplate my own work thoroughly – how I like to design and control images, but her’s have a certain feeling of being captured in the moment with far less control than I would normally allow. Perhaps this is an opportunity for me to let go a little and allow the image to make itself – but with the controls that I initially set in place of course…

Rineke Dijkstra

One of my favourite portrait photographers. Focussing primarily on typologies mixed with an underlying meaning, DiJkstra’s work allows the viewer to become a voyeur and examine each subject, much like the work’s of August Sander.

Whilst I don’t want to get stuck in doing a project that is set within the ‘typologyy’ category for this project, I guess by selecting a ‘type’ of subject it could also fit within this format.

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The birth of Venus could be representative of the birth into female adulthood and sexuality. Emerging from the ocean in elegance and beauty. The ocean also symbolises fear and emotion when in dreams.
The flat lighting and slightly off white background in this image really work for me as a viewer and could work with this project – allowing the viewer to make a decision for themselves based on the appearance of the subject alone rather than the surroundings. However, in saying that, the body position leads in to the face and draws you in to the eyes of the subject, making this image, although including the body – about the ability for us us to be allowed to feel connected to the subject.


Water as a Symbol

Last year for the Environment unit I focussed on photographing aves and water. This lead me to research the symbolism behind water and I came across some interesting theories online. I often dream about tidal waves, Tsunami’s or floods and water is said to represent emotions. When dreaming of water catastrophes this could be read that your emotions are bubbling up and getting the better of you – out of control.

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Sourced from Psychic Library



Justyna Neryng

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When typing in ‘childhood lost, photography’ in to Google I came across the above photographer, Justyna Neryng. These images are particularly individual and not something I have came across before. I love the idea of mixing old with new, costume with fashion childhood with adulthood.

These images are perhaps a little too ‘designed’ in terms of my initial idea for this project – I really would like to (for once) go down a more natural and documentary imagery style road.



As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world’s a stage]

William Shakespeare1564 – 1616

Jaques to Duke Senior

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The above made me consider lighting styles for this project – because “All the World’s a stage” I would like to use dramatic and theatrical lighting for this project – like there is a spotlight on the subject waiting for the next act….

24 Models who started their Careers Under 18

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Lauren Greenfield – Girl Culture

Dramatic Lighting Styles

Brooks Reynolds



David Standish




Philip-Lorca diCorcia

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Nirav Patel

Job Solutions:

For this project I will be taking a series of portraits of young teenagers who are on the verge of becoming adults and moving closer and closer to independence from their parents.

These images will be environmental portraits and will be shot on various locations including Portobello Pier, Colinton Dell, and indoors in bedrooms referencing a childhood past and present.

The subjects will be placed on pathways – symbolising the journey of adulthood and late adolescence which they are about to embark, or trapped in rooms – symbolising the body which they find themselves trapped in which continues to grow.

The other symbol I wish to include is water – symbolising emotions, change, renewal and rebirth into adulthood, the process of metamorphosis that all teens undergo.

Props included will be ice creams, giant lollipops, candy floss and other fair type paraphernalia when on location. Bedroom interior location props will include dolls and toys.

The subjects will be dramatically lit with the use of a ranger lighting kit, under-exposing the background/surroundings and leaving but a spotlight on the model symbolising the insular nature of being a teen.

The models will be young girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 16. The styling used will be retro and vintage items, referencing a childhood lost.

The viewer will be drawn in to the subject using dramatic lighting, shallow depth of field, vignetting and eye contact from the subject.

The images will be post processed using a nostalgic colour palette referencing a childhood past/lost but will also be combined with cinematic colour grading and cropped 16:9 to add a filmic/theatrical quality to the shots.

The dramatic/cinematic quality of these images is symbolic of how we as humans, especially teenagers, think we are the star of our own play/movie.

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