Remember your prom? It probably seemed very magical and wonderful and awkward at the time, but looking back it may seem just awkward. And often, looking back at the images from it gives you that perfect mix of nostalgia and uncomfortablity. Now, you will be able to feel that way about other people’s prom pictures too.
Photographer Mary Ellen Mark traveled to proms from Wyncote, PA to Pacific Palisades, CA to take images of attendees and talk to them, gaining a look into who the American teenager is today. Beginning July 1, these images will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, along with an interview film with the students made by Mark’s husband. As the press release tells us:
Mark captures a quintessential adolescent experience, the American prom. Depicting youth at the outset of the 21st century, Prom presents 60 black and white photographs of teens in festive dress at their most anticipated event of the year. Taken at 13 high school formals across the country between 2006 and 2009, Mark’s pictures represent not only geographic and demographic diversity, but a broad spectrum of relationships, body types, and aspirations. In this series and exhibition, Mark chronicles a vivid rite of passage that is shared by Americans with otherwise remarkably different lives.
Prom: Photographs by Mary Ellen Mark will be on display from July 1 to October 28, and you can read more information over here.