The year was my most eventful and diverse year of shooting teenagers since arriving in Australia in 2019. As we were finally able to travel outside the country, I shot dozens of teens across three continents. Closer to home in Melbourne I had the honour of photographing many talented teens here in Australia. In no particular order, below is my rundown of some of those favourite photoshoots with teens in 2022.
My Son’s Year 12 Formal
Having three teenagers and an emerging teen in the house made for a full house and empty fridge all year long. One of the highlights of the year was graduating my eldest son from high school and photographing some of his rites of passage such as the school formal. An interesting thing I learned this year is that it doesn’t seem to be a thing in Australia for couples to meet at each other’s homes for pre-formal photos. Or maybe it was just this particular group of friends? ln any case, we did photos of the gang outside the lawn and drove to their local bubble tea cafe for some distinguished portraits with their first loves. It wasn’t until we got there that I shot the photos with his date for the evening.
Back in the USA
I returned to the US mid-year and photographed a string of US teens in June and July. These teen photoshoots were special because I’d known these girls since they were 7 or 8 years old. So to see them again, all graduated and hopeful for their future, was a such a privilege and joy.
I’ve known Eve since she was 6 and have photographed her at multiple times in her life. We did her photoshoot on campus of her high school campus which was a poignant place for her during her teen years. Years ago, I photographed Eve in one of her child hood home, another special place for her at that time. Eve shared more about how high school shaped her in this post.
When Sonja was 12, I met her on the grounds of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco to photograph her during the in middle school years. Her sharp mind and love of books and music has only deepened through the years. With Sonja preparing to move to Dublin, Ireland for university, it was fitting to do her photoshoot on the streets of San Francisco where she spent these pivotal years.
You’d never know it from the variety of photos we got, but Coco and I had less than an hour together before she had to get to work at the local movie theatre. Because my availability was so limited when I was there, we made it work to do her photoshoot in the San Francisco neighbourhood she called home. It’s a colourful neighbourhood full of murals and eclectic San Francisco architecture. These image were a throwback to the time I photographed Coco when she just turned 13 and lived in a different part of the city.
A really special girl I finally met and photographed on my trip to California was Maryam. Maryam had only received arrived in the US from Afghanistan in 2021. We met through The Sisterhood, an organisation I started in 2020. I’m not actively growing the group now, but I keep in touch with all the girls who have been a part of it. If you want to learn more about it, you can read about it here.
Maryam was part of the Sisterhood. Up until that point, I had never met any of the girls from Afghanistan in the Sisterhood. Maryam was the first. She and I met up at a coffee shop and shared stories of living in the US. She shared some of her hopes and dreams with me and the challenges of rebuilding her life in a new country while missing the old life she once had. In the years to come, I hope to meet more of the girls from The Sisterhood. Maryam shares a little more of her experience in this article I wrote.
Continuing my work of teens around the world, I traveled to Thailand in August and met Zoe and her family. Her parents are inter-cultural workers with the local Thai peoples of Chiang-Mai. As such, Zoe graduated from the international school in her city and was looking forward to joining her sister at a university in Australia in 2023. Hearing the stories of third culture kids (TCKs) is always fascinating to me as my own husband is one. These are some of my favourite images we got together around the streets of Zoe’s Thai home. Zoe shared more about her experience living as a TCK in the blog article here.
Tom with Possability
I received a call from a community organisation in Australia called Possability. They empower and equip individuals to live meaning and independent lives through training in life, job and interpersonal skills. My assignment was to meet and photograph a young man named Tom, an avid cyclist also into amateur radio. When I arrive at Tom’s home, he was dressed for his shoot, eager to meet and not the least bit camera shy. Tom was finishing up his last year of high school and shared his love for radios as well admitting he was not quite sure what he wanted to yet do after high school. It was refreshing to meet a teen willing to be honest about the mystery of not knowing what was to come, yet content with life at the moment. To read Tom’s story in the annual report, click here and go to page 10.
Church Youth Ministry Formal
Did you know that I’m on the photography team for my local church? In September they youth ministry at Crossway hosted a formal for the teens in the youth group which was also opened to their friends. A departure from my normal portrait photography, I donated a Friday evening to spend with 150+ teens and their leaders as the church lobby and cafe were transformed into night of “La Vida Dulce” I love doing event work on the side and dances / receptions so fun.
Leticia’s 18th Birthday
I shot a few birthday birthdays for teens this year, but one of my favourites was Leticia’s 18th in December. An extraordinary moment during this event was photographing the moment when the parents spoke of their love for their daughter and how proud they are of her. You could even see love in action in the details of their house which they transformed for the party. It was truly an honour for me to be witness to an intimate celebration of good friends and the family.
Shooting musicians is not a new thing for me, but in 2022 I worked with two local music teachers to photograph their students at their annual studio concerts. I’ve quite enjoyed this opportunity and look forward to more open doors to photograph teen musicians this years, particularly as one of my sons will be playing with the Melbourne Youth Symphony this year!
In 2023, I will be photographing more teens both home and abroad! Maybe your teen will be one of them? If you have a teen or tween still at home, I’d love to hear from you to see if a photoshoot for your teen is right for your family.
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