A new photography exhibition at Side Gallery in Newcastle brings together wide-ranging representations of young people in the UK from 1981 to 2021 as they edge ever closer towards adulthood.
Earlier perspectives come from documentary photographers Chris Killip and Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, whose various works along the northern coastlines sit in dialogue with contemporary images made around the country.
Vanessa Winship and Alys Tomlinson each shine a light on young people’s experiences of school during the pandemic, between them contributing portraits of year 5 students in Cumbria, and would-be prom attendees dressed in their formal attire despite being robbed of the occasion itself.
The exhibition toes the line between energy and stillness that young people themselves often wrestle with. It’s a contrast encapsulated in Tom Sussex’s portraits of young campaigners and Black Lives Matter protesters photographed last summer, where the immediacy and energy of the crowds are presented alongside quiet, pensive portraits.
Maryam Wahid’s photographs trace her mother’s experience of arriving in Birmingham at the age of 18 by recreating archival portraits with Wahid wearing her mother’s clothes, while Sadie Catt’s long-term project explores a young person’s experience and handling of grief following the death of her mother and sister.
“Photographs are a critical platform through which young people can be seen, heard and remembered,” says the exhibition’s curator Liz Hingley. “The photographers in the exhibition tenderly document the awkward, surprising and passionate period of maturation into adulthood, that resonates across generations but is at once unique to each.”
Youth Rising in the UK, 1981-2021 runs at Side Gallery, Newcastle from July 17 until October 3; amber-online.com/side-gallery