Snapshot: ‘The Teen Years’

Article originally appeared in Financial Times

©Mark Steinmetz, Jessica, Athens, GA, (1997)

In 1983, with a vague idea about working in film, Mark Steinmetz dropped out of Yale School of Art and headed to California. Poor and directionless, he was inspired by a brief friendship with the LA-based black-and-white street photographer Garry Winogrand. His work now features in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Like his mentor, Steinmetz’s monochrome photographs communicate sincerity, closeness and a sense of mystery. “Staged work often seems fairly lifeless,” he says. “There’s little surprise to it — it lacks that freshness, that rawness that comes from discovering something that’s out there in life.”

Travelling the nation, Steinmetz sought to capture the spirit of American adolescence. His work now forms part of the Joseph Bellows exhibition, The Teen Years; a collective portrait of the beauty and awkwardness, the sound and fury of youth.

‘The Teen Years’, Joseph Bellows Gallery, San Diego, California, until August 26; josephbellows.com

 ©Mark Steinmetz,  Highway 441,  Georgia-North Carolina State Line, (1997)

©Mark Steinmetz, Highway 441, Georgia-North Carolina State Line, (1997)

 ©Christine Osinski,  Two Girls with Big Wheels,  (1983-84)

©Christine Osinski, Two Girls with Big Wheels, (1983-84)

 ©Linda Brooks,  David in his room , (1981)

©Linda Brooks, David in his room, (1981)

 ©Joan Albert,  Martin , (July 1980)

©Joan Albert, Martin, (July 1980)

 ©Elaine Mayes,  Rodney, 19,  Haight Ashbury, (1968)

©Elaine Mayes, Rodney, 19, Haight Ashbury, (1968)

 ©John Myers,  Juliette , (1979)

©John Myers, Juliette, (1979)

 ©Andrea Modica,  Untitled , Modena, Italy, (2010)

©Andrea Modica, Untitled, Modena, Italy, (2010)

 ©Edward Sturr,  Coney Island , (1963)

©Edward Sturr, Coney Island, (1963)