Confusion in her eyes that says it all
The passageway of adolescene to adulthood and the difficulty of forming one’s identity are seen via women, in their teens, staring into the camera with a mixture of heightened self-awareness and awkwardness in Rineke Dijkstra’s “The Buzzclub (1996-1997)”, shot at the Buzzclub in urban Liverpool, England.
Posed against a minimal white background and exposed both to the camera and to the peers at the club, the adolescents are dressed up for a night out as they try on the masks of sex, seduction, adulthood, and cool. Despite trying very hard not to reveal their vulnerable outward appearance, most of them look silly in their desire to be attractive and exhibit lack of confidence and shyness, embodied in their tilted head and half-smile postures and in their attempts at imitating fashion models in clothing that does not quite fit the body.
This artwork shows individuals being exposed to influences of advertising, popular culture and their obsessive desire to search for identity through identification with an exterior element such as clothing instead of searching for inner qualities. There is no obvious agenda in these photographs. Dijkstra’s tendency to create portraits of awkward teens, however, is caused by her fascination of transition, vulnerability and purity, what she thinks are essential from human beings.