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  • By Jo Castle
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Our Creative Youth - Robert Sweeny" Sweeny, R. (2008) Our Creative Youth, Lulu.com “Our Creative Youth” by Robert Sweeny is a photobook that works to counter the stereotypical versions of youth culture that are propagated by the media. He has chosen to do this by finding individuals who do not conform to these stereotypes and allowing them to tell their own stories, using a Polaroid camera and describing their past, present and future dreams and ambitions. All images within the book were taken by the five subjects using a Polaroid camera and colour film provided by the author. The author also asked them each three questions regarding what they wanted to be when they were young children, the creative activities they are presently engaged in, and their future plans. The answers to these questions are superimposed over the images and are dispersed throughout the book. The book begins with an introductory page and is then organised into five separate sequences of ten images,... More > one for each of the five subjects. The sequences are introduced with a page showing nothing more than the subject's name and age. The text, superimposed over some of the images, provides a narrative as these the questions appear in the same chronological order for each person (childhood, present day, future) although there does not seem to be a particular order in which the subjects are presented. In some of the sequences there is linking movement (e.g. it is fairly obvious that Olivier took his Polaroids within one dance rehearsal) while in others it is only the overall theme of the people and their artistic pursuits that bring the images together. This means the book flows more through the continuation of the overall theme rather than there being a flow within the photographs each subject chose to take. The layout of the book is such that the double-page spread contains a Polaroid on the right page with a blank facing page. The pages are black, which highlights the white border around the Polariods and the spacing between images allows a greater focus on each individual shot. The book is not crammed with photographs, which give the ones that are present space to breathe. The text used for the questions and answers is in a variety of colours and some of these are a little difficult to read (the red used for the first two subjects is particularly hard and I think a different colour could have been used better, or possibly using the opposing page). Although there are no margins, page numbers, etc the book adheres mainly to the conventional book form, driven by the external determinant of the author working with the imagery provided to him by the subjects. I think it is best described as a photographic non-narrative book, as it is a series of images related to a theme, which I believe is very close to the heart of the author, mainly because of the title. His inclusion of the word 'Our' in the title – 'Our Creative Youth' as opposed to just 'Creative Youth' suggests that he sees himself among the subjects, and I believe his aim of expressing both them and himself as more than just the stereotypical youth described in the media is both admirable and successful.< Less
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Product Details

Publisher
Robbie Sweeny C/O LSBU BA Digital Photography
Published
February 6, 2009
Language
English
Pages
115
Binding
Hardcover (casewrap)
Interior Ink
Full color
Weight
0.53 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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