Highly regarded artist Ed Templeton has just compiled a new body of works for an impressive new book entitled Teenage Kisses. Published by Seems with great distinction, each piece of work is just like the title suggests while Templetons raw imagery proves more than impressive.
…Today in the Flickr generation, photographs of young kids in wild and rebellious situations come a dime a dozen. The internet is chocked full of these images, usually shot and shared between small groups of friends and existing on a myriad of random Tumblr and Facebook pages. Never before in history have we lived in a society where the personal documentation of peoples’ private lives has been so public. However, when Ed Templeton began shooting these photos of young people kissing this was not the case at all. The worldwide web was only in its infancy and the word “blog” had not yet even been invented. Photography of this nature was restricted to few practitioners, and existed in a rarified world young fans and art aficionados. It should be noted that while in today’s climate these images may feel standard, at the time they were being created Templeton was surely an innovator. His images spread through youth culture like wildfire, and in many ways one could blame the young photo-blog explosion partly on the fact that he took these photographs when he did.
For that reason alone, Teenage Kissers should be viewed as a historical volume. As we look at these photographs of young people exchanging awkward kisses we are reminded again of that wonderful uncomfortability that comes with the discovery of young sexuality. Not only do we all remember the feeling of that first clumsy teenage kiss, as mature viewers we can now look at the photos from afar and understand exactly where it’s all going. Like its predecessor, Teenage Kissers is a perfect documentation of this feeling. The photographs are, in many ways, beyond innocence. They brim with humanity in its most raw form and remind us that although some of us have now grown up, we’re still never so far from that first kiss. The basics of our sexual lives are reflected back to us in these images…and no matter how many times we see it, it cannot be denied that there’s a little “Teenage Kisser” in every one of us.