The glamour of the Cannes Film Festival lures in the glitterati each year but within the crowds of stars and filmmakers are groups of teenage cinephiles eager to gain entry to the festival. “For years I had heard from my husband (a film critic and journalist) about the teenagers who showed up each year holding up signs outside the velvet rope begging for tickets to the screenings,” says New York photographer Jennifer Loeber, who has captured the teens in her series Pleasures of the Uninvited. “My recent work has focused on themes of youth and identity so I immediately felt a kinship with these outsiders at one of the most hierarchical film industry events in the world.”
Formally dressed in ill-fitting tuxes and polyester dresses, the teenagers hold handwritten paper signs for the films they want to see but their optimism is wonderfully undercut by their fed-up faces. Jennifer’s photographs are bathed in natural sunlight which bounces off her subjects and the metal railings that cordon off the event. There’s a familiarity to the reams of red carpet arrival photographs you see on Getty Images but the film stars have been replaced by awkward adolescents. “I was interested in turning my camera away from the overexposed and aggressive spectacle of wealth that defines Cannes and the majority of the media coverage of it,” says Jennifer. “I preferred focusing on this overlooked periphery of fest attendees and and the quieter simplicity of their experience.”
Drawing upon our own memories of being a teenager desperate to go to the coolest things, Jennifer conjures a connection between the viewer and her subjects. “These portraits capture a uniquely adolescent state. In this rehearsal for adulthood, my subjects’ emotional subtleties and vulnerabilities come through as they yearn for literal acceptance in the form of an invitation.”
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.