My teenage experience was coated in pink, period blood, and purity; I applied strawberry Lip Smackers between dramatic sighs and lived for the thrill of sneaking out to meet my crush. I’ve evolved immensely from ages thirteen to nineteen, but have maintained my adoration for Courtney Love, rose lipstick, and scribbling my inner dialogue in journals. The photo collection “Exiting Teenage Purgatory” is the visualization of my personal experience as a teenage girl on the verge of leaving adolescence and entering my twentieth year. This piece is a farewell letter to my teenage angst and reflects the deconstruction of childhood and feelings of longing and boredom in Suburbia. Through this collection I captured a pure teenage aesthetic through an authentic experience, thus creating environments of comfort, monotony, and desperation.
“Exiting Teenage Purgatory” expresses ennui through popping pink bubblegum, the agony a simple pimple can produce, bridging the gap between childhood and becoming a woman, getting ready with no where to go, the personal privacy of a diary, longing late night on the internet, killing time at the mall, struggling with purity, decompression through technology, sneaking out at 5:00 am, and aching to run away. I was aiming to express the complexities of being a teenage girl and how that’s presented visually and the psychological pressures are rarely explored. This concept of discontent and pining was the main motivation behind the series since these teen years are centered around longing for escape and craving privacy, academic excellence, stable friendships, and individual identity. “Exiting Teenage Purgatory” is a personal account of girlhood and is meant to help transport the viewer into the mind of a teenage girl by creating a sense longing, relatability, and nostalgia. I never thought I would make it through my teen years or come of age and have the ability to declare the strength adolescent females build up and the tremendous amount of pressure they can withstand.