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Work / Photography

William Lakin revisits the trashy Mediterranean resorts of his teens

“The idea came from my experiences both visiting one of these resorts for a holiday and also working in one a year later. I went to Magaluf in 2010 with some friends when I was 18. I found the place utterly intimidating but also enjoyed myself. The following year I went with a group of friends to work in Faliraki, a similar resort,” says photographer William Lakin. “I only lasted five weeks and left feeling completely defeated and exhausted after spending every day working and drinking.”

William’s project Good Times for Free, sees him revisit the Mediterranean resorts of his youth, travelling to Magaluf, Kavos, Faliraki and Laganas. Shot over four years, the photographer wanted to capture that sense of escape felt by teens when they visit and the “absurdity” of these towns seemingly dedicated to drunken masses of people.

“The project is about a young person’s longing for escape and search for excitement but also about how the reality of an experience differs from the expectation,” explains William. “My experience in both visiting and working in these places was very contrasting in the sense that although there are points where you let yourself go and have a good time, you also have periods of quiet, hungover contemplation where you really question your choices and what you are doing in a place like this.”

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These highs and lows are best depicted by William’s portraits. The once fresh-faced adolescents sit forlornly in plastic chairs, their skin sallow yet slightly sunburnt, awaiting the twilight hours to fall and repeat the night before. “The edit of the work follows a similar cycle to the rhythm of life in these resorts; blurred colourful energetic images of the nightlife, followed by bright stark and revealing images of the morning after,” says the photographer. “I used the landscapes and still lifes to highlight the absurdity of the places in daylight, emphasising this constant two-dimensional cycle.”

In regards to his subjects, William says people were very open and happy to be photographed. “In a couple of the resorts there was some suspicion towards me photographing because in recent years television programmes had been made there and had presented them in a very negative and polarising way," he says. "It was sometimes difficult to get people to take it seriously because they had come to a place where they almost never have to take anything seriously, it can be quite hard to break that down.”

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