An intimate view of Gen Z
Photo & Text ©SueBarr
Even though my kid considers me ancient I can still vividly remember the simultaneous physical and emotional state I entered into in my teen years. I also recall that these feeling lasted close to a decade before I realized that they weren’t necessarily reality.
To be a teenager is confusing. I don’t believe it is any different today in the age of screens then it was in my day when we passed notes. It is the time when we begin to feel an undeniable need to figure out who we are becoming. Literally and figuratively both our body and mind are drastically metamorphosing into an entirely different soul.
Everything we have known about ourselves becomes unrecognizable almost overnight. Our parents aren’t even sure they know us anymore yet they insist we are still their little babies. At the same time they require we start doing the most mundane adult things like take the garbage out and understand how finances work. It wouldn’t be so bad but all the adults in our universe including teachers and coaches are also continually talking to us about that unknown entity they call the future. It is impossible to listen to them when we are internally conflicted with the deafening sound of our new physical realities. I swear I just wanted to sleep through my teen years.
The innocence of childish oblivion is fading but it is replaced by what brands define as coming of age self-expression. By just stumbling through their day-to-day lives teens accidentally define cool. There is a need to communicate without adult interference because well, “grownups just don’t understand”. The limbo between childhood and adulthood is filled with inner turmoil that manifests into the chaos of their bedroom, the only safe space they have. Their bedroom seems to be where they retreat to in a world they are being told they can one day take over.
My images are an intimate look into the sacred space of teenagers, their bedrooms. How is it that many of these teens find comfort in chaos? Is it an outward projection of what’s going on inside? This photo expose is simply my journey to comprehend the passage of teens to adults because I am confident that my son and his generation will one day rule the world but first they have to clean up the mess !
AL Age 17 Continually cries about her future. She just doesn’t know what she wants to be.
EB Age 15, Gets over 1000 views on her daily snapchat stories and lives with her dad after her parents chaotic divorce
FK Age 16 Aspiring Broadway star from a tight knit family of 5 who chose to go to an all girls parochial high school.
LP Age 16 Israeli parents lives in Philly with her mom and brother as her father passed when she was 8 years old ( ½ a lifetime ago
R B, Age 16, Transitioning trans gender female who is just trying to get through daily life. She took her female persona from a friend that passed away a few years ago.
LH (Lindsey Age 17) Introduced her dad to her best friend’s boyfriend’s mom & now they all live together except it is awkward because her best friend broke up with the boyfriend
RB, Age 13, Sickly baby adopted from Taiwan and nursed back to physical health but has an anxiety disorder and is home schooled
EB Age 16 DJ & busboy and in no hurry to figure out his future but would like to know if there is a party this weekend ………………………………….. ( MY muse and inspiration for this essay)