"When I see something that really strikes a chord emotionally within me, I’m not really thinking of that when I’m photographing it. I’m just saying to myself, I have an understanding of this, I can’t put it into words, but I feel that I have some kind of understanding”. – Joseph Szabo
Joseph Szabo’s work not only tells a story of adolescence, it’s a marker of the photographer's profound empathy for it.
The former high-school photography tutor describes; "the years of restless desire and blossoming sexuality; the world of high school, parking lots, and street corners; and the uniquely American culture in which all of us have grown up", when he talks about five decades of photographing his students and friends.
In 1978, Almost Grown (Szabo's first book) was published to great acclaim and the photographs within it represent a remarkable evocation of the period, providing a timeless and endlessly compelling look into the formative years of American youth.
Our online show presents a body of work inspired by this book and includes a number of photographs from it as well as later work. The photographs here are curated in celebration of friendship, of spring break, the holidays, and over a deep nostalgia for that pivotal point in every human life where we created the memories that will be with us forever.
In contemplating Szabo’s work we are immersed in the world of teendom - the dazed stares, the heady teenage loves, the solemn isolation one felt in the middle of that raucous party that you couldn’t relate to - it's all here. Szabo's effortless images — at once nostalgic and timeless — appeal directly to our senses and resonate deeply within us. His photographs remind us of the best days of our lives.