Essay 322 • Aug 15th 2018

There is something about the coming of age that has always fascinated me. The concept of seeking and forming an identity while still young, with limited experience and knowledge is a curious stage. We're no longer children. Experiencing new emotions, making many of our own choices, developing our own style, experimenting, exploring and confronting our sexuality. We begin to build strong relationships outside of our families and seek out stability, affection and other emotional needs on our own in the outside world, all for the first time.

We become self-conscious about our appearance and may compare ourselves to others, which can lead to feelings of insecurity or confidence and sometimes a bit of both. We want to be seen and included. Often that doesn’t happen, leaving us feeling left out. We may question where we stand amongst our peers. Some of us learn that we can exert our power over others and some of us feel powerless.

It's this inner conflict that all people go through as teenagers that I find compelling. As humans, we are all seeking love and acceptance from ourselves and others, a journey that begins at a young age and lasts throughout our lifetime.


Aviva Klein is a NYC based portrait and documentary photographer and director whose work is rooted in introspective moments that momentarily hold us still and inspire vulnerability. From large-scale productions to stripped down intimate portrait sessions, Aviva creates imagery that echoes the diversity and genuine spirit of the people in her hometown Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been on display at Yale University and Milk Gallery. Select clients include Beyonce/Parkwood, Halle Berry, Belvedere Vodka, Epic Records, Pepsi, Jordan Brand and Puma. Aviva is also an educator, teaching photography to a group of young Hasidic women through a private continuing education program in Brooklyn, NY. Through visual storytelling, Aviva investigates the relationship between young people in urban spaces, marginalized communities and their humanity as perceived by their cultural peers and the outside world.

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