My Last Day At Seventeen
Photographs by Doug DuBois
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Doug DuBois was first introduced to a group of teenagers from the Russell Heights housing estate while he was an artist-in-residence at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, on the southwest coast of Ireland. He was fascinated by the insular neighborhood, in which “everyone seems to be someone’s cousin, former girlfriend, or spouse. Little can happen there that isn’t seen, discussed, distorted beyond all reason, and fiercely defended against any disapprobation from the outside.” DuBois gained entry when Kevin and Erin (two participants of a workshop he taught) took him to a local hangout spot, opening his eyes to a world of not-quite-adults struggling—publicly and privately—through the last days of their childhood.
Over the course of five years, DuBois returned to Russell Heights. People came and left, relationships formed and dissolved, and babies were born. Combining portraits, spontaneous encounters, and collaborative performances, the images in My Last Day at Seventeen exist in a delicate balance between documentary and fiction. A powerful follow-up to DuBois’ acclaimed first book, All the Days and Nights, this volume provides an incisive examination of the uncertainties of growing up in Ireland today, while highlighting the unique relationship sustained between artist and subject.
Doug DuBois (born in Dearborn, Michigan, 1960) has photographs in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; J. Paul GettyMuseum, Los Angeles; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, MacDowell Colony, and National Endowment for the Arts. DuBois has exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum and MoMA. His first monograph was All the Days and Nights (Aperture, 2009), and he has photographed for magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, Time, Details, and GQ. DuBois teachesin the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.
Patrick Lynch (illustrations) is a cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic designer based in Dublin. He is cofounder of the small publishing outfit Cardboard Press and a member of the Edition Book Arts group.