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Your theme is adolescence. But we also wanted your theme to be intimacy. So really, your theme is both intimacy and adolescence. It’s about the intimacy in adolescence. And also how you ultimately create intimacy with your subjects.

So yeah, you could say my team’s topic was broad.

Luckily for me, I found myself instantly attached to the young man I’d be photographing.

Noel.

A kid with style coming out his ears. I use the term “kid” loosely, however. At 15, I couldn’t believe the thoughts that emptied from his mind. Later, during the editing process back at the Barn, I’d refer to him as basically a young philosopher. We spent a good deal of time talking about death and mortality. Even more time on the concept of family; how “family” extends beyond what we’re born into and the ways in which we support those we care enough about to consider family. The conversations may have been a bit more specific than that, but ultimately, what I witnessed was a 15-year-old thinking much more critically about the world around him than I ever did at that age.

That was most of what we did the first day. I made some photographs, but for a while, there weren’t many to be made. However, on the second day, the connection I made with Noel allowed me to step back at witness him in his element; with his friends where he seemed to want to fit in, but was kept just slightly at bay. Then with another friend, a girl, where a real connection was obvious.

I wish I could have spent more time with Noel, but hopefully I did his story justice in the time I did have.

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