When I start feeling jaded – about photography or the world at large – I try to remember what it felt like when I first immersed myself in art as a teenager. These books help spark that feeling:
Book of Roy by Neil Drabble
This extraordinary book charting the development of an ordinary boy is so vivid I can almost smell the adolescent awkwardness. Sometimes the richest subjects (and books) fly under the radar.
The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams & The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer by Alessandra Sanguinetti
As magical as their titles, these two books are like a hidden pond in the forest where I can refresh my creative energy.
Deep Springs by Sam Contis
Put down your phone and look at these pictures of young men in nature. Whether they were photographed seven years ago or seventy, there is a comforting continuity to the physical world.
What She Said by Deanna Templeton
Seamlessly combining tender portraits of adolescent girls with Templeton’s own teenage diary, What She Said is a reminder of the awesome turbulence of youth.
Portraits and Dreams by Wendy Ewald
What does that murky world before adolescence look and feel like? These thirty-five-year-old pictures and texts by Appalachian children are the best clue I’ve ever found.
Somersault by Raymond Meeks
As much as I love the photographs in this tribute to Meeks’s daughter Abbey, it’s her words reflecting on her younger self that slay me: “She wants to climb on a train and go where it takes her. I am very much still her, somehow.”
Discover more inspirations and reflections in Alec Soth's new book Gathered Leaves Annotated.
Header image: Alec Soth, A Pound of Pictures (2022)