By Luis Cubas
Robin Bowman, a New York-based photojournalist, set out on a quest in 2001 to capture and narrate the lives of teenagers all over the United States. She spent five years on the road, interviewing and photographing over 400 young people from different backgrounds and communities. The portraits and interviews are compiled in her award-winning book, It’s Complicated: The American Teenager (Umbrage, 2007).
After this experience, Bowman decided to share the goal of The American Teenager with young people and teach them to take on the same process in their own communities, in the hopes that they would find their voices and make stronger connections with other young people from backgrounds both similar to and different from their own. With the help of Julia Hollinger, a high school history teacher in Richmond, Bowman started The American Teenager Project in 2011.
“I was inspired to keep that vision going, of telling stories and actually wanting to teach young people how to do what [Bowman] had done,” says Hollinger.
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