Being a teenager is a confusing time. You’re no longer a child but only on the brink of adulthood and on top of that you’re starting to discover drugs, sex and alcohol just to make the daunting reality of growing up that little bit harder. Oh yeah, and then there’s the hormones.
One of the best, most concentrated examples of the teenage condition can be found in Britain’s youth clubs. These places are filled with kidults drinking, dancing and falling in and out of love – a place where the youths of the UK can express themselves without the pushing and pulling of the dominating figures in their lives.
Back in 2000 photographer Ewen Spencer was commissioned by Graham Rounthwaite at British music, fashion and culture magazine, The Face, to create a series focusing on these youth clubs across the UK and portray this idea of the initial human exploration of love and lust. On the collection, he said:
Today we stay younger longer and become grown up sooner. The successes of making any sort of story around youth are to recognise that we’ve all been there at some time in our lives.
Being a teenager is like a concentrated moment of the human condition – all of the successes and pitfalls all being played out in one messy drama.
I’m sure these photos bring you all back like they did with me. We really are a classy bunch us Brits, aren’t we? If you’d like to see more from this collection, you can now see them all in book form. It’s called ‘Ewan Spencer’s Young Love’ courtesy of Stanley/Barker and you can pre-order a copy before its release in September on this link.
To see what happens once puberty’s over and British people turn into full on boozehounds, check out this photo set.