Ben Gore’s Second Adolescence follows the photographer’s personal transition from youth to adulthood. Featuring photographs of friends and strangers from his new home of Brighton, the book documents a year of adventures, relationships and growing pains as he flees his family home to stand on his own two feet.
TRIP caught up with Gore as he prepares to launch the book with exhibitions in London and Brighton.
TRIP: Tell us about Second Adolescence, who and where are the people and places featured within the photographs?
Ben Gore: Second Adolescence is a project about the transition into adulthood, old habits and growing up. It's a book about growing into yourself as you gain independence and the adventure you have along the way. At its core it’s about change over time, both internal and external. Where you find yourself, who you find yourself with, what’s happening around you and your emotional response.
The book opens at my family home while on the journey to take my cat growing up to the vets for the last time. Shortly after that I moved to Brighton, where the rest of the book is set. The people in the book are friends and the people I've had fun spending the last year surrounded by. However, the street shots are strangers who caught my eye.
TRIP: Second Adolescence is inherently autobiographical. At what stage of your life does the book find you in?
Ben Gore: The book finds me living away from home, working full time and fully independent for the first time. I'd been fully able to stand on my own two feet and started to find my own way in the world. For the previous few years I'd been unsettled physically and mentally by changing circumstances and this stage lays the foundation for the rest of your life.
TRIP: We featured your zine, Here & There last year. Here & There dealt with the often difficult transition from youth to early adulthood and Second Adolescence deals with similar issues. How do the two projects differ?
Ben Gore: The previous zines were much more about external change and confusion. They were about being constantly on the move, lost and searching for something. The future was much more uncertain and the story within the zines was much less focussed.
Second Adolescence is about being settled and taking in everything around you. In a similar way to the previous zines, it's a portrait of an age, but I would say it's a more detailed story. Where the other zines had fleeting characters and constantly changing locations, in the book characters recur and you can see relationships change. The only consistent character throughout is Brighton itself.
TRIP: The photographs within Second Adolescence are a lot more personal compared to those within your previous zines. Has there been a conscious decision to focus your lens on the intimate?
Ben Gore: I've always wanted to be able to shoot photos of everything but I never really had the confidence before to shoot or exhibit some of the more personal images in the book. It was a conscious decision to try and shoot everything that intrigued me. I also felt that to truly create an accurate portrait of myself at this age, I needed to show you as complete a picture as possible of what I want to remember seeing. Some of the most intimate photos in the book are some of my favourite and I'm really lucky to have been able to have taken them.
TRIP: You are hosting exhibitions with photographs from the book in London and Brighton. What can we expect from the shows?
Ben Gore: I'm hosting an exhibition in London at Doomed Gallery on Thursday 9th April which I'm really excited about. It'll be my first solo photo show. You can expect to see the space turned into an open book. I'm hoping to be able to reconstruct the storylines in the book on the gallery walls so those who haven't seen the book can follow the stories on a grander scale.
The show in Brighton will take place from 18th - 24th May at a pop up space on Gloucester Road and will be a simpler show as it is a smaller space. There'll be large prints of my favourite images and I'm going to be exhibiting my personal zine library for people to come look through and learn about self-publishing. I'm planning to teach some workshops during the week about how to create, print and promote your self-published zines. I'm hoping to get some other photographers involved too, so watch this space.