Expectations of Adolescence

From Lens Culture:

Twins_4 Blake Fitch’s “Expectations of Adolescence” is a remarkable collection of photographs for many reasons. It documents, over the course of ten years, the growing-up of two cousins less than a year apart in age, seen only during large family reunions in the same two timeless settings of their grandparents’ ornately decorated New England home or the family’s summer place on the water. We do not know these two young women outside of these family meetings during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and summer holidays. But we can watch them interact, grow Twins2 and change, relax (or feel anxiety) in these settings outside day-to-day life, and in moments of introspection. We see them as they grow up, become more and more themselves, chafing perhaps at the obligations implied by required attendance in surroundings of upper-crust comfort that remain unchanged and constant.

Fitch shows us two adolescent girls experimenting with trying on new identities, breaking out or fitting in to the preconceptions and roles for which they’ve both been groomed. Here we see an emergence of those identities. First, Julia and Katie appear to be twins as they prepare to practice a music lesson together. But very soon, we see them as individuals growing up in parallel — and branching off.

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