In his 2007 work Teenage, cultural historian Jon Savage dates the modern conception of the teenager to 1945, arguing that out of the melting point of rage, rebellion and independence imposed by industrialism and two world wars emerged a new and powerful beast, the Teenager. Where once the young were a cluster of half formed adults-in-waiting, the post war boom saw their radical redefinition as an unpredictable sector of society wielding huge influence and, vitally, money to burn – well, buy.
More than half a century on, youth is king, queen and Silicon Valley billionaire. Indeed, the latest issue of AnOther Magazine has as its theme the fearlessness of this seminal period of life, and Young Blood is the subject and title of photographer Fumi Nagasaka’s latest photographic project. Portraying the young people she met travelling through New York, LA and Stockholm, the series serves as a distillation of a certain kind of fearlessness, expressed in clean, clear eyed portraits of a series of beautiful and unusual looking young people. In a world that both reveres youth and is scared of it, the photos create a quiet and non-judgemental space to admire this moment of time, showing style and aesthetics that are at once unique to each, and entirely of now.
Alongside a gallery of images, here we speak to Nagasaka about the project, and her own concept of fearless youth.
What inspired this project?
My life experiences. I have been traveling and living in different cities and countries for the last couple of years and that really gave me lots of inspiration. Meeting new people is so very interesting. I always watch people and find interesting kids, and I realized that I might never see them again so I started to talk to them and asked if I could take their portrait.
How did you meet the subjects?
On the street, train, station, park, shopping malls, etc.
Do you have a favourite shot?
All of them. Each image has a special story.
Is there something unique about kids who live in different places, like is a NY kid really different to one from Stockholm or LA?
I have found some amazing kids in NY and Stockholm, because I am/was living there, I found some in some other cities because I was there to do this project. I would love to go to more places if I get opportunities in the future. I like finding kids in different cities and countries because they are all different.
What are your favourite memories from your youth?
When I was aged between 10-16, I wanted to be a professional basketball player and I had short hair and wore NBA t-shirts and big Reebok pump shoes. I played basketball every day and watched NBA games and videos. I didn't think anything else besides basketball. That's a fun memory.
Who or what represents the fearlessness of youth to you?
Young people, they have nothing to lose. I realized that when I started to think seriously about my life.
Text by Tish Wrigley
Read an interview with John Savage, and an extract from Teenage, in the latest issue of AnOther Magazine, out now.