/09 Adolescence

Glen Erler

Thoughts. Age 13-18

One as normal as the next but where the beginning opens doors to the end.
This being the beginning of a life of which the choices we make will shape us and stay with us for quite some time, perhaps until the end of our journey. It’s the beginning of a true understanding of what may lay ahead and to have the ability to comprehend the results.
Our lives are often based on memory and therefore every millisecond is stored somewhere deep within us and we then choose what stays and what goes. Some being the most beautiful and others not as pleasant yet these experiences ultimately form us into who we are or at least into who we will become.
I believe in many things regarding this subject. I believe we’re born with a unique genetic make up and this will determine how we deal with what’s upon us at any given time. I also believe that who we’re surrounded by during the early stages of our lives and their own genetic make up along with their own personal life experiences can have a significant impact as well, in other words, what and how we are taught.
There’s a point in our lives where we start to crave independence and to make our own decisions and I feel this happens at this age, or thereabouts, and inevitably an event will takes place of which in turn will bring this change upon us all. My parents separating around this time in my life became that event and with it being the first real recorded event to happen to me, it took time to realize the impact it would end up having on me. Because of their separation, my world had suddenly changed for the first time and how I dealt with it was going to be mostly based on my own coping capabilities and also of those immediately near to me. As simple and unimportant as this event may seem, I’ve accepted that it paid contribution to who I am today, for better or for worse. How I feel about life and love and also how I choose to deal with what surrounds me in my daily life. I’ve tried my hardest and failed to keep my own children free from this event where love falls into scattered directions. I am deeply saddened by this yet thankful at the same time it happened at an age of which I can only hope they will not be too deeply affected.
Each person I’ve photographed for these projects had experienced some form of loss at that point in their life. They were away from their families for the first time in an attempt to claim their independence or had experienced the separation of their parents or even the loss of a loved one. Several images chosen here were taken from a project titled Knowing Bella of which was the last project I did based on this age group. Bella had been through the separation of her parents and also had had a near death experience of her own not long before I spent this time with her. She was 14 at the time and even at that point in her life and due to the events that had happened around her she was well aware of the importance of the family unit, or lack there of, and the impact these changes have on all involved.
Each day now brings me to realise how fragile life is. What is happening around me and even to me, has a much greater impact on each step I take. We tend to spend our days in a hurry for the most part yet I remember days to linger. To have too much time. Life moved slower then and every moment of importance stood still as if locked in motion. The understanding of the fragility of life didn’t seem to enter the equation until much later when the realization of one’s own mortality rears it’s head and the glass we all tread seems just that little bit thinner.