Photographer Deanna Templeton: ‘Everything gets mixed up when you’re a teenager’

The artist’s street portraits of young Californian goths and punks took her back to her own adolescence in the 1980s, a troubled period she recorded in an intense journal. Now she’s put the two elements together in a new book

For around 20 years, American photographer Deanna Templeton has shot street portraits of young women who caught her eye, filing them under the heading “Female” in her expansive digital archive. “I’ve always photographed what interests me,” she says, “but it never occurred to me until I began looking closely at them that they all had a vaguely similar look. They reminded me of my younger self – or, at least, what I wished I’d looked like back then.”

Many of the young women in her photos have a hybrid style that sits somewhere between punk, metal and goth: dyed hair, dark eyeliner, torn jeans and T-shirts that profess allegiance to a favourite group – Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Subhumans, Suicidal Tendencies. Some are more chic in head-to-toe black and matching cropped hair; pale, stylish goths who proliferate even in the California sun. “I’d often just run up to them and say, ‘I’ve seen that band on your shirt’, and we’d get talking,” says Templeton. “I noticed that they mostly tended to be more happy and contented and confident than I was at their age.”

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