Eimear Lynch’s debut photo book pays tribute to a teenage rite of passage

In Girls’ Night, the Irish photographer documents groups of girls at teen discos as they experience the fleeting moments of adolescence

“I loved going to discos,” writes Eimear Lynch in the introduction to Girls’ Night. “I mostly loved the hours of getting ready with friends beforehand. It would take most of the day. We’d usually go straight to one of the girls’ houses after school on a Friday and spend the following five to six hours doing our tan, hair, and makeup together.”

The debut photo book from the Irish photographer, who has previously shot for the likes of Dazed and fashion designer Simone Rocha, was partly born from a desire to relive her teenage years.

To bring the series to life, she spent months travelling around her home country photographing groups of girls at teen discos and, perhaps more importantly, capturing their anticipation as they got ready for them.

The images bear all the hallmarks of the sudden transition from child to teenager, when the first signs of womanhood begin to appear. Amid the inevitable insecurities and pressures that accompany this transition, Lynch recalls the undeniable thrill in the anticipation of growing up and the ability to partake in the rituals of beauty culture.

“We were no longer the 12-year-olds who our parents were dressing, we were 13 years old and were allowed to wear the bodycon cut-out dress we ordered from Asos and pretend we could walk in the cheap stilettos from the shops on Henry Street,” she writes.

Lynch isn’t the first imagemaker to turn their lens on the inner lives of teenage girls, with Girls’ Night nodding to Lauren Greenfield’s 90s series Girl Culture as well as the work of Rineke Dijkstra and Sofia Coppola. In this context, the body of work is a testament to the enduring universality of the teenage experience.

The images are accompanied by a series of texts including a foreword written by Rocha, who has long been a champion of Lynch’s work. The Irish designer recalls her and her friends going to Taney disco, “which I think was in a church. It was almost like going to church. The equivalent, a teenage rite of passage.”

Girls’ Night is published by Idea; ideanow.online