February 27th, 2015
Doug Dubois – My Last Day at Seventeen
Doug DuBois first went to Ireland at the invitation of Sirius Arts Centre in 2009. What began as a month-long residency grew into a five-year project about youth, Ireland, and an exceptional group of young people from a few blocks of a housing estate in Russell Heights. The resulting photographs are an exploration into the promise and adventure of childhood with an eye toward its fragility and inevitable loss.
DuBois gained entry to the community when two of its residents, Kevin and Eirn (who would later become central subjects of his work), took him to a local hangout spot, opening his eyes “to a world of the not-quite adults, struggling—publicly and privately—through the last moments of their childhood.”
Over the course of many summers, 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 of 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 project provides an incisive examination of the uncertainties of growing up in Ireland today, while highlighting the unique relationship sustained between artist and subject.
If this Kickstarter campaign is successful, in fall 2015, the New York-based not-for-profit photography publisher Aperture Foundation will publish the photobook My Last Day at Seventeen. The book incorporates elements of a graphic novel, with stories from the community illustrated by Patrick Lynch.
Along with the photobook, Aperture Foundation hopes to also publish a unique “community edition,” produced especially for the individuals featured in the book, as a way to acknowledge the individual value of members in the community and their integral roles in the making of the project.