Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Hidden Youth ExhibitionYoung lives in black and white

It was good news to hear that photographs taken by a group of young people were exhibiting as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe. So HOT reporter Lauris Morgan-Griffiths went to  the Hastings Museum to see how they fared against the professionals.

And they certainly hold their own. The exhibition is in a corridor upstairs in the Museum, the young people’s black and white photographs one side and colour images of the participants taken by Amanda Jobson the other. In both series of photographs there is a positive and hopeful look at the world.

In response to the unemployment, lack of jobs – Hastings is  the 19th poorest town in the UK –  photographers Stuart Griffiths and Amanda Jobson approached the youth drop in centre, Xtrax, to run some workshops with some of the 16-21 year olds.

Hidden Youth 2Rather than digital cameras they gave them old style analogue cameras and black and white film and encouraged them to take pictures of their lives.  So much is taken of youth culture by older people it is refreshing to see  their lives through their own eyes; young people looking at and commenting on how they spend their time, where they go, what they do and how they feel.

Then to give the work another dimension, after they had processed and printed the black and white films the photographers wrote on their work.

Stuart Griffiths remembered “how much my art tutors hated it when I wrote on my photos about how I felt, so I asked my students to do exactly that. I felt that, in the world of emails and text messages, seeing people’s handwriting can be inspiring, interesting and even important.”

The results are surprisingly honest and reflective. Their  intelligent, emotional responses show the vulnerability in their lives and  future.

“When theres nothing to do just remember your free to be who ever you want to be !!”

“Your past makes you who you are but life’s what you  make of it.”

“I own the game!  The luck of a four leaf clover, the body of a younger, the mind of the older.”

“To be a child again for a moment in time. Everyone needs moments like this.”

“What’s life all about?  I just wanna work it out… Think about it? If you dare.”

Jobson and Griffiths in Hidden Youth have facilitated an extraordinary project; showing, rather than the archetypal negative stereotype, a youth of hope and optimism. Inevitably, the people chosen have responded well to the project; it is palpable their growth in confidence and self esteem alongside the work.

Hidden Youth is at the Hastings Museum until 4 November 2012


Posted 11:52 Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 In: Community Arts

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