Based in New York, the Japanese photographer Fumi Nagasaka has become recognized for her inventive and honest portrayals of adolescent life that tend to go against prevailing norms found in most mainstream publications. Choosing to primarily work with teenage girls over extended periods of time Nagasaka creates intimate and unself-conscious views of her subjects that would be impossible to achieve through one sitting. Somewhat unique within the world of photography Nagasaka’s images present an unmediated view of that difficult transition from child to adult.
Whereas her 2016 Untitled Youth book (published by Kahl Editions) was a large collection of teenage street portraits made for her editorial and photo projects, her latest publication, Teenage Riot, focuses its attention on four young women from Canada, Japan and the U.S.A. Broken into three chapters the book opens with two sets of images of Maxine (taken two years apart), a small town southern Ontario high school student, before moving on to Isabella, and her younger sister Alana, who live in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, and concludes with Fubuki, a young student who lives in Tokyo. It’s obvious looking over each chapter that although these women have much in common, the inherent differences of their respective cultures has had an enormous impact on how they’ve presented themselves within each location.
Created over a number of years, Teenage Riot is a poetic and honest representation of adolescent life. Calling to mind short length documentary films of the 1970s which strived to penetrate the real story behind the headline, this three part compendium skillfully presents not only the ephemera beauty of the moment, but the ever changing conditions that culture, environment and fashion have in forming one’s social identity. - Bywater Bros.