Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s kids were cooler than they are now. They smoked, drank and got themselves tattooed with reckless abandon for they knew nothing of carcinogenic side-effects and hepatitis. They also had much better hair – so much so that the short back and sides with pomade slicked through it remains the haircut of choice for the achingly cool of London, New York and Paris.
Joseph Sterling must have known he was witnessing sartorial greatness and pure hedonistic abandon at the time, and his photographic series The Age of Adolescence perfectly captures that blissful era for all to enjoy (and envy). Whether riding in cars, hanging out on the beach, sluicing down dollar shakes or getting their biceps inked, the characters in Sterling’s images make us feel desperate pangs of nostalgia for a time we never even lived through – which speaks volumes about the sheer power of great photography.
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