/09 Adolescence

Ewen Spencer


Since the inception of Teenagers and the emergence of youth culture in Britain we have been becoming older sooner and staying younger longer. If I can observe any success in these pictures it is based on a common agenda an awareness that we have all been here and can possibly return to these roles again and again. They are unashamedly human moments.

“Teenagers” was first exhibited as part of Jam London-Tokyo at The Barbican Gallery, London in 2001 the following year the exhibition continued on to the Tokyo City Opera House. The work has seen been shown at Exposure, the Hereford Photo Festival in 2001, Rencontres D’Arles in 2004 and more recently at the Musee d’Elysee in Lausanne Switzerland in 2008.

“In 1999 Ewen Spencer embarked upon a project simply called Teenagers documenting British adolescents as they come to terms with socialising, dating and sex. His signature flash style became synonymous with a close aspect to his subjects. What separates him from other social-documentarians is the feeling you get from the pictures that he knows and likes his subjects, that they trust him enough to allow him entry and that he has an understanding of what’s going on without being embedded in the scenes himself.”

Olivia Gideon Thomson, 2009

“Ewen Spencer’s documentary shots of teenagers at play – drinking, pulling, snogging – are both intimate and arresting, as if he is an invisible observer of age-old courtship rituals.”

Sean O Hagan, 2004