1.2 decades, 12 years, 144 months, 4.389 days, 105.190 hours, 6.311.286 seconds, more than hundreds of people I’ve met and known more or less. Each with their own distinct story. Not even 50 people I now hold dear.
My passion for photography started in school. It was my last year of middle school, when I got an iPhone 4 and shortly after discovered that the quality of the images made with it was not bad at all.
Shortly, from just giving it a try, it became my passion. Since I was spending a lot of time in school, photography came like some sort of antidote to a flawed, or better said - broken system.  
I used to photograph my colleagues, randomly, during creative acts or when they “broke the rules” by smoking, or drawing on the walls, sleeping classes or skipping them, among others.
In my first year of high school I got my first “real” camera (for those who think a tool is more valuable than the mind), an Olympus - but I don’t remember exactly the model. Excited to see what a camera can do, I took most of the images during that period.
Taking fewer and fewer as years passed, until the graduation year, which contains (by comparison) a small number of photographs.
I was interested (unconsciously at first) in documenting what was actually happening in a Romanian school (but I’m sure other countries can relate) because when you do a scientific study about rats in a cage, you don’t write like a rat, you write like a scientist. Not being able to understand a rat without study because you are human - shorty said, it is exactly what’s happening everywhere, not only in school.
The difference is that we “the rats” can speak and write, but we leave ourselves to be silenced or prefer to be silent, to let the scientists decide our sake.
Getting back on the subject and abandoning metaphors (for now), I find it very odd that the adults who found themselves in the position of being a parent, a teacher or both always say how everything that’s being done is for you - the child - to have a better future than they did.
Ok. How does that exactly work? You give to most of us the same treatment you got as a result of the issues you grew up with.
Kids have to put up with a programme and schedule which doesn’t suit any needs, to meet expectations which if not met represent a goodbye to any kind of future (parental expectations, exams, graduation, grades etc), while still being able to learn and excel in the dreams you tell us to follow. Those dreams are, of course, the passions you don’t agree with because they are paid poorly, extremely hard to pursue or full of stigmas and labels.
Every life is as vivid as yours. You admit it, you know it and yet you live with this thought that younger generations have no problems.
I’ll call this a number one, but there are many other things which could fill our list of “teenage drama”. After graduating and meeting many different youngsters from very different families, I think I can narrow down a FII (Frequently ignored issues).
So let’s take it chronologically - the first community you take part of is a family (may it be blood-related or not). Since you can’t really choose where and how you start your journey, you might encounter the following issues:
    Being spoiled
    Lack of an open mind and/or education
    The differences between generations
    Caging  & Controlling (when your parents don’t let you get the smallest scar or ever act your way) etc.

Each of those mentioned above comes in a varied way, combined or alone, at a smaller or higher intensity. You can have a rich alcoholic father or a poor loving mother who spoils you. It really depends. But I put none on the list because no challenges as you grow up, often lead to immaturity and being very naive. So sitting on a throne or constantly being served ain’t gonna do anyone favors.
The second community you enter is the education system where, regardless of what has been said above, which are your needs, your worries, your capacities etc. demands the same amount, same quality, same behavior, same everything from everyone. And god forbid for you to be different or really sick.
The clash of those two, school and family leads (besides the fact that each human being is unique and unrepeatable) to:
    Perfectly adapting and succeeding
    Skipping classes because of stress, to finish the too much (illegal) homework you had
    Finishing what you had due in classes unrelated to the subject
    Underperforming, becoming a dropout
    Developing depression & anxiety and others
    Eating disorders because of the frequent labeling and stigma
    Self-esteem issues
    In your teens you might sell or take drugs (and have other vices) because of the conditions in the system and at home, because you might happen to really need more money if your family or single parent can’t support you properly, even more, if you’re an orphan (can lead to severe addictions)
    Other self-destructive behaviors become ways to cope
    Being forced to quit school to work
    You or your friends having suicidal tendencies
    Being abused/bullied - by parents, teachers, colleagues
    The stress of always hiding
    The inadequate feeling of not being able to be yourself
    Being punished at school and at home for not meeting the required expectations regardless of the situation and its circumstances
    Being unable to find a job after years and years of studies (being in debt because of them) because    experience in the work field is needed
    Being forced to have certain religious beliefs and practices
    Fucking with the wrong people because religion is a lot more important than sexual education
    Studying a lot of things which do not teach you how to survive and how to believe in yourself
    Pregnancies, becoming a parent
    Knowing what to think but not how to

And I am sure the list can continue.

The third community, which is one entirely based on the choices we were able to make, are our friends and lovers. Most of them will not last, some of them can turn out to be toxic and even dangerous and so:
    They might create even more problems
    You might discover you are bi, gay or trans in a society which would still throw rocks at those people if it would be legal (but it does increase the abuse rate)
    They might represent a bad influence from which some of us cannot leave (or at least not easily)
    They might remain and help
    They might have bigger issues than you
    They might be better than you think you are
    They might be forced by parents or circumstances to take a certain, parting path
    Most of them fade in time
Now, all I’m listing here are purely life experiences most of us face and unfortunately have to, in order to develop harmoniously or get lost (necessary natural selection). They are inevitable and you really need some of the bad in order to see some of the good (to get rid of naivety excess, to become more responsible, to find out who you are, who.what you need etc etc).
Most of you who will read this might say that you’ve also been through this and worse, that it gets harder after you finish school. Or might think it’s actually not that bad (see that excess of naivety?).
In this situation I find myself forced to ask why don’t you understand then? If each of us is fighting a battle we know nothing about, why make things even more complicated? If you put pressure on your kid or pupil, if you define his whole life, the one he should discover alone, because it is the one he will live, alone, how are you offering him a better future?
The things you relate to, brought you the life you don’t like. The heavy schoolbag which gave you scoliosis will do the same to kids today. The neglected building in which you’ve learnt, is the one your son is attending today and now it’s gonna fall at the first earthquake. The obesity you have because of the way your parents fed you and because of the school/job schedule (not being able to have three regular meals at appropriate times), is still a consequence. The fact that those things never happened to you, doesn’t stop them from existing, we are at least 7 billion people, breathing as you read this!
More technology and money and material goods don’t mean love, don’t stop abuse. The teachers you condemned are still teaching, the leaders are still stealing & leading. Less fortunate kids don’t. They don’t perform because more fortunate ones give bribes - in a country where corruption is high and the sallary is low.
So if you understand, why don’t you just give advice and let the future, those who will pay your pension decide what there is to change and how it should be changed? There is nothing that can be worse left for you, because you are closer to the end of your life. You already lived your worst time and if not and you are scared of getting there, you will regardless. Each personal is designed to have at least one skeleton in his her's closet. It's how humanity works, how life works. Your “worry” and narrow mind are blocking the potential of millions of children, you shouldn’t have the right to command (if nothing more than age can prove that you are worthy of commanding), you should only guide.
What makes you so entitled to dictate a future you won’t live, in a system you won’t get to see? What makes you entitled to punish and destroy what you don’t understand. Is there ever any progress born from punishing? What makes you so entitled to keep traditions and do things as they have always been done, when evolution is only possible if you break the circle?
Your age and experience are of value when it comes to the history which shouldn’t be repeated, only. Every new generation repeats it, because the older generations tie the “untouched” hands and talk about “how things are done” when they should talk about how they work and how they have been done because in that way, new solutions will be found and progress will take place.
When you ask a doctor for help, you don’t tell him the help you need, you don’t tell him what diagnosis you have, you tell him what’s wrong and what led you there and then. After further investigations the doctor will tell you about the help you need and will give you a diagnosis.
When you want to have a child or to teach a child so he can get the opportunity of living better than you did, you don’t tell him what to do with himself and his life. You tell them what you did, what you lived, what you know, what you perceive, what you were able to understand. He will learn from YOUR experience and figure out how that helps him in his own. You warn him about the risks, but he will decide if they are worth to be taken and the danger here, is that most of the time, he will take risks while hiding from you, because disobedience and free will is a sin you cannot forgive. Because you tell him what to do or not. You don’t tell him why, you don’t tell him what might happen, you can only tell him what you think will happen. And no, your maturity doesn't make you genius enough to cover every possible outcome of anything. No matter how wise you are and how much you lived. You can't control this. You can't even control your life. So stop.
If you understand, you will let the young ones do what you never had the courage to. If you understand, you will let them build even if you are blind. If you understand, you will let them be, because you wanted that too, until your age started to show and feel.
If you understand, you will only guide and protect (in extreme and particular cases), because that is how you stop repeating history. The key to a better future is always in the hand of whom it is destined to.  
PS: Of course there are also wonderful parents and teachers. Of course there are a few people who fight and understand, people who don’t think about how little they earn, but about how they can help. People who understand that just because something is out of their minds, it does not mean it is wrong, but simply made for another to do or pursue. There are people who listen, who disobey without fear, who follow their hearts after making peace with their minds, there are people who live only for pleasure, people who believe in themselves and in others. People who think there is enough space for anyone to be who he wants to be and they too, deserve appreciation and support because most of the time they are neglected, mocked and abused themselves.
They are the people who planted wise seeds in young bodies and they will always be remembered for this and for their own brilliance.
Still, we don’t need more exceptional heroes to mourn (since we begin to understand truly the value of someone only after they are gone or dead), but rather to start living and thinking in ways which will bring less motifs for mourning.

The Photographs were taken between 2012 and 2016 (they are placed randomly).
I started studying at an arts high school in 8th grade and stood my way up until graduation (12th grade).
And I must confess. I would burn it down with no regrets.

You may also like

Back to Top