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13 Photographs Of Teens' Bedrooms That'll Show You How They Live

That pivotal time between childhood and adult life, expressed in just one frame.

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Photographer Daniel Carlson has visited teenagers' bedrooms to show the different ways a room can communicate a person's identity at this important time in their life.

Carlson used a large-format camera to bring the viewer into these private spaces. The photographer told BuzzFeed: "My hope is that the images encourage the viewer to appreciate the complexity and depth of the subjects whose rooms they're looking at."

Carlson came up with the idea for this series when he visited a friend he hadn't seen in a long time. While getting a tour of her house, he was fascinated by how different each of her teenage children's rooms were and how each revealed about so much about them.

The photographer says he was struck by "how everything of importance to them was crammed in these small spaces, all on display, a sort of statement of intent. Mementos of childhood – stuffed animals and vacation souvenirs – sitting next to Jay Z CDs and electric guitars.

"I started thinking about this moment in time, the years between childhood and adulthood, when people are learning to articulate – in words and in actions – both who they are and who they hope to be.

"This moment in time when being surrounded by these objects of one's interests – posters and trophies, books and clothes – serves as daily reminder (and affirmation) about who one is. For many, the final moment when everything is on display, in one space."

Asked if he noticed any pattern to the teenagers' rooms, Carlson tells BuzzFeed: "Oddly enough, no. Aside from the fact that they're these sorts of life-support capsules – containing almost everything they own – there seems to be a lot of variation.

"That said, there is a remarkable consistency from city to city, from country to country. These are all clearly rooms where teenagers live."

"As a younger kid, I was really into sports," says Carlson, "so there was sports stuff all around – posters, gear, etc. But when I was 14 I started getting interested in music. I started buying records, playing guitar. Then the more grown-up-ish reading began, so there were a lot of books around, Kurt Vonnegut and those kinds of things. Thinking about it though, there were still toys around too: Lego, model cars, etc. A bit of everything."

"Once I'm in the space, it becomes a technical exercise: What's the composition? Where's the light? How do I work around what is very often a fairly confined space? Those kinds of questions. I'm also trying to work as quickly as I can – I don't want to linger. Once the film is back, that's when I really begin to look at what's going on in the room. That's when I really become engaged with the room and what's in it."

"This work is a gift to the teenagers themselves, a way to honour this time and the environments they live in. One thing that almost all of the shoots have in common is that the parents all wish they had a photo like this of their teenage room. So my hope is that, 20 years down the road, their kids are able to see these images and understand how interesting and evolved they were, even then – especially then."


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