A few weeks ago I took a ride out to Ocean Beach hoping to shoot some portraits, particularly of teenagers – the subject of a current ongoing project. I walked up and down the beach and into the avenues and wasn’t having much luck.
I ran into my friend Jason and took a shot with him with his girlfriend and dog. Meh.
I met a nice lady who opened a thrift store stocked with her deceased mother’s belongings. It had potential, but wasn’t really working. Way too dark.
Quickly losing light and pretty disappointed that I didn’t even make it halfway through a single roll, I walked back down the beach towards where my bike was parked when I spotted a group of teenagers putting stuffed animals in a fire pit. I approached and learned that one of them, Jenny, had been wronged by her boyfriend and was preparing to burn all the gifts and notes that he had given her.
They were happy to let me shoot their little ceremony and I was delighted to do so. It was a truly endearing moment, so emblematic of teenage heartbreak. I was touched by how supportive Jenny’s friends were and how relieved they all seemed to feel upon ridding themselves of the physical evidence of a painful memory (and a few textbooks).
This is what I love about being a photographer.