Gawky, moody, self-conscious,
inarticulate, given to daydreaming and melancholia, these young people
are a puzzle to older generations. Obsessed with the desire to be as
unlike their parents as possible, many of them become very conformist,
dressing and behaving alike, possibly through feelings of insecurity.
If you are to ingratiate yourself with
them you must make great efforts to understand the tensions that haunt
them. While they are still almost babies in your eyes, you have to
stand by helplessly and see them conform to the latest cult in dress
and make-up and way of life. The attractiveness of the innocent child
disappears, to be replaced by imitation adulthood. In the school
playground or later in the discotheque they are about as sensitive as a
herd of wild elephants.
But in the studio, nervous habits and
such natural outlets for tense feelings as lip-biting and
tongue-chewing, can make the task of portrait- taking difficult. If you
bear in mind the tension created by competition at school, sometimes
increased by overambitious parents, and tensions brought about by
disagreements with parents and brothers and sisters, you might find it
easier to be a little more sympathetic.
I believe that children in this age group
often have a deep conscience which is disturbed by their instinctive
urge to defy parents and fight with other children in the home. There
is also an awakening awareness of sex with its puzzling implications.
Little girls tend to be embarrassed by the subject, but little boys
often giggle over naughty stories.
The main purpose of outrageous behavior
in children approaching their teens seems to be to shock parents. The
only way to get them to reveal their true selves to the camera is to
get them to talk about a subject dear to their hearts. All little boys
are interested in cars. Little girls love animals (more than babies at
this age) and all of them are interested in records and pop music.