What she said:
“How come someone hasn’t noticed
That I’m dead and decided to bury me?
God knows, I’m ready!”
-What She Said, The Smiths
What She Said is the title of a song by The Smiths, one of the many groups that accompanied Deanna Templeton throughout her adolescence.
From the 1990s till now, Templeton has photographed youth cultures gathering on the streets, in venues such as parks, public spaces and punk shows in Huntington Beach, where she lives, and abroad in Europe, Australia and Russia.
The author follows with a sweet look, that of an older sister, her own changes alongside those of the girls she meets. Sometimes they’re natural, sometimes painful, but we all share them in some way while growing up. The strength of Deanna Templeton’s book is that anyone who has come out alive from adolescence can recognize themselves in it, if not continuously, surely in certain physical attitudes, gestures and gazes.
There is a metaphorical space that is purposely left white, between the portraits and the diary pages, which leaves us, the viewers, free to give shape to the story, filling it and coloring it with the memories that we have of ourselves in the midst of that dull and unbridgeable pain that accompanies the paths of growth, whatever they may be.
Templeton, in an interview, said: “I started noticing that a lot of the photographs reminded me either of myself when I was their age, or how I wish I could have been”. Perhaps it is also for this reason that the author’s intent in What She Said is saying that “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if you just hang on”.
The experience of growing up in a woman’s body is always the same and always creates some form of sisterhood, no matter what latitude this occurs at or from what starting point, whether it is marked by drug use, or whether it takes the form of being rebellious or silent.
Confronting the many ‘teenage us’ through the pages makes us want to hug them and reassure them by saying ‘you’ll make it, everything will pass and everything will help’.
Concert posters, diary pages and portraits intertwine here to create the story of a shared adolescence, which has the power to make us feel instantly more serene and less alone.