American Youth at Fovea Exhibitions

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday August 6, 2009

The latest generation to be misunderstood by their elders, according to author Steve Appleford, is the largest in the history of the United States. Numbering twice as many as GenX, the iGeneration, who are now aged 18 to 24, are often characterized, says Appleford, as "spoiled cry-babies and fashionable zombies, plugged into the virtual unreality of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, BlackBerry, Blu-Ray, Bluetooth, PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360, the iPod, iPhone, iBook, etc."

Appleford and the photographers of Redux Pictures seek to explore and overturn those cliches in a book and traveling exhibition, American Youth, which opens this Saturday at Fovea Exhibitions in Beacon, NY.


Left: Hanging out in Secaucus, New Jersey by Joshua Lutz. Right: Kids with their "Scraper Bikes" in Oakland, California by David Butow. Copyright the photographers and courtesy Redux Pictures.

The facts are compelling. In the intro, Appleford notes that a recent Gallup poll reports that about 60 percent have dated someone of another race. That they multitask globally on a variety of wireless gizmos. That nearly twice as many enroll in college than their predecessors in 1970. They are more racially mixed than any previous generation and that they turned out in droves for Barack Obama.

The book, edited by Jasmine deFoore of Redux and published by Contrasto, explores young adults from all walks of life as they negotiate the pitfalls of work, love, and play. It opens with Kevin J. Miyazaki's portraits of the youngest ever superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Nearby but worlds apart, a shuttered jail in Window Rock, Arizona becomes home to the Cobra gang of Navajo youth, photographed by Darcy Padilla, who also photographed 20-year-old Pepper, who has lived on the streets since she was 15. Erika Larsen has photographed gay, straight, and mixed race couples while Michael Rubenstein visited a tight-knit community of Laetstadian Lutherans in Longview, Washington.

Young people hard at work are an important subject here, with occupations that range from the Mormon ministry, photographed in Mexico by Eros Hoagland to young lobstermen photographed in Maine by Peter Frank Edwards to a group of students who founded an experiment in eco-friendly living on their Oberlin College campus in Ohio. And privileged debutants, the subject for Mark Peterson's camera here, surprised him by the depth of their commitment to volunteer work helping youth at risk.

Drugs, binge drinking and risky behavior proved to be a magnet for Danny Wilcox Frazier who hung out with students at the University of Iowa. Known to be a big party school in a state where good jobs have dried up due to the out-migration of young adults, those who remain party hard to offset the lack of opportunity ahead.

American Youth, the exhibition, opens Saturday, August 8, with a reception from 4 to 8 pm at Fovea Exhibitions, 143 Main Street, Beacon, NY. Please visit the website for information or phone 845.765.2199.

The exhibition continues through November 8th and features photographs by Marc Asnin, Ben Baker, Nina Berman, David Butow, Peter Frank Edwards, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Eros Hoagland, John Keatley, Andy Kropa, Erika Larsen, Gina LeVay, Joshua Lutz, Preston Mack, Kevin J. Miyazaki, Darcy Padilla, Mark Peterson, Michael Rubenstein, Greg Ruffing, Q. Sakamaki, Erin Siegal, Angie Smith, Ben Stechschulte, Brad Swonetz, Nathaniel Welch, & David Yellen.

080609 redux