The transition from one’s teenage years into young adulthood is an enigmatic, eventful and rather emotional phase.
Such an intriguing subject matter seems to set the perfect theme for Doug DuBois’ latest work: My Last Day at Seventeen.
The focus of this project is on the children and adolescents from a very specific community in Ireland,Cobh who all share the experience of growing up at the Russell Heights housing estate, described by the photographer as “a place that, unless you know someone there, or have a real reason to be there, you wouldn’t wander into.” For Doug, what started as a short visit to the neighborhood, suddenly developed into a five-year-long project. Its relatively long time span gives the work the depth it deserves and a brilliant attention to detail.
One of the most important elements of this image collective is its rawness and loyal portrayal of such a reality. The teenage years of these individuals, engraved on the photographer’s film roll, are neither romanticized nor dramatized. They are honest on the emotions they transmit: hope and fear, pride and self-doubt, playful yet introspective, naive but somehow aware. Contradictory feelings, all so familiar to anyone whose teenage years have already been left behind.
DuBois’s work is now on book format thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign supported by the Aperture Foundation. My Last Day at Seventeen is not just a photobook, but a careful scrutinizing of the coming of age inside this community, with photographs, interviews and an original comic strip.
For more information regarding its release, visit Aperture’s page that is dedicated to this book.