Being Teen Particpants


Show us your summer holidays, we said. And the selfies came pouring in.

Written by       Photographed by Being Teen Particpants

It was the summer of 22. The school year accelerates towards the close. It’s tomorrow’s deadline pressure, it’s fighting for focus as long days and hot nights call, it’s prizegivings and balls, the special hell of exam study, the extra-special hell of exams—until you finally burst into summer. Released. Off the clock. Your time. And your photos.

Today’s teenagers grew up behind the camera. They’re used to curating their own images online. So it can be strange to see themselves through the eyes of professional documentary photographers who aren’t interested in the posed shot, the smile, the pout. But these things are essential to being a teenager today, and can be just as revealing as the unguarded shots we usually seek. Here are the summer holidays of the participants in Being Teen, as seen through their own eyes.

For some the summer of 2022 was a chance to get parents out of the frame. They hit the road for festivals and parties or downtime with mates, like Vidthia Beaglehole who took friends to her holiday house without adults around, or Te Orahi Akuhata, who lived his best beach life in Nelson. Whānau still featured strongly for most, like Seilala Muagututia heading to Samoa, Jaxon Czepanski shooting his sister’s wedding, or Mihiata Teepa coming home from boarding school in Palmerston North to see her brothers and sisters in Ruatoki. Not everyone went away: Ceejay Attenborough’s holiday shots are all within her orbit of home and speedway races. Hollywood (well, Jason Momoa) came to Hawaikii Papuni Bristow, and gave him a hongi. Liam Walle’s photos from Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island contain almost no people. And Will Rollinson’s shots are all on the farm: summer, there, means harvest time.