Los Angeles based photographer, Phil Condit, has a wide range of imagery, but his new series, We were children, has universal appeal. For anyone that felt lost or adrift in school as a child, can relate to the isolation and emotion that comes through these images.
We Were Children: Scenes of the Crimes
A Look Back at Boarding School
“This body of work was created during a 40th year, high school reunion weekend at a boy’s boarding school I attended in the Midwest. The memories I have from that time are very strong. Things we did are burned into my brain for both good and bad reasons.
I did something on this trip I hadn’t done on previous reunion weekends – I visited the dormitories. The first room I looked into sent a spear through my heart. The site of the bed next to the window brought home to me that, at that time, we were all children. I could see us sleeping there, young and at peace in our slumber. All of those things we did that haunt and enliven my memories of that time were done by children.
I didn’t feel like a child when I attended there, but I was. I was a sensitive, overweight kid from a family with little money thrust into a pressure cooker filled with boys from families with old money and lots of it. Add to that the rampant testosterone filled angst of teenage years, isolated in the country, cut off from females who could have modulated some of the inherent aggression, and it was difficult, at least for me.
Some of my peers seemed to sail through those years unscathed. I guess that is a common feeling for a lot of people of that period of life. Others had a tough time dealing with all the aggression and needling. I was one of those.
With the initial breakthrough of us being children, I revisited many of the spots that have been seared into my memory for all these years. Looking upon those scenes now, I am saddened by all the pain that was inflicted by children on children. This experience was cathartic. I was able to let go of conflicted feelings still festering after 40 years and enjoy a weekend with men who had once been boys.”
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