Melancholy: Igor Pjorrt’s Project on Teenagers Going Through a Difficult Age
To fight his depression, Portuguese photographer Igor Pjorrt started taking pictures of his friends to show how teenagers deal with their age-related melancholy.
Photographer, screenwriter, director. Born in Madeira Island, based in London. Is studying at the London College of Communication. Published his works in i-D, Hunger Magazine, Juxtapoz, and iGNANT.
— This project is about the inertia of the island of Madeira, the process of growing up resisting a lethargic current that I felt invalidated my youth and finally embracing it.
I was doing a lot of self-portraiture when I started, excessively relying on dramatization. I struggled with myself and it became too frustrating and disappointing. Eventually, I shifted this attention to my friends, only to realize I much more empathized with these images of them that they didn’t even have a particular interest in being a part of.
It’s hard to separate myself from these images, as far away as they seem now. Originally, I just wanted to get these feelings out there. Now I see other people identify with and find comfort in these pictures, even though they are included in such an isolated middle-class setting that can appear alienating even to me now that I’ve left my hometown. Melancholy is a blind sentiment — however, at the time I carried a lot of guilt and told myself I had everything to be happy. But I didn’t believe I was.
This series came together at a point in time where I was drawn to vibrancy in excessive amounts. What happened with these cold environments in the photographs is that I’d almost incidentally make central a warm element which, looking back now, evidences a certain vitality and hopefulness in the wake of less fortunate feelings.
It’s definitely a diary in the sense that for each of these pictures, as with journal entries, I am taken back to those moments and they become more vivid and accessible to me than they would have been had I not captured them with such preoccupation, just like eloquence comes into play in writing. It remains, in any case, a teenager’s diary — that is to say, there are bouts of romanticism and oversensitivity.
Am I afraid of getting old? Not anymore.