Life & Culture

Photos of Youth and Beauty in the 1980s

Jack Pierson’s work is marked by its seduction and glamour. Here, he shares a exclusive preview of his new book, The Hungry Years

  • TextAnother Man

Jack Pierson is associated with a group of photographers known as the Boston School, which also counts Nan Goldin and David Armstrong as members. His work – examples of which are housed in the Met, Whitney and Guggenheim – explores notions of the uncanny in everyday American life, often with a focus on youth and beauty. He’s just released a book titled The Hungry Years, which brings together a selection of his photographs from the 1980s. Here, he introduces this book and shares an exclusive preview of the images inside.

The Hungry Years is the title of a Neil Sedaka song released during his comeback in the 1970s. It’s a song I especially love. It tells the story of an ambitious couple that rises to success, and makes a case for the importance of things ‘lost along the way’. The work I made in the 80s seems to me about a moment when time had the quality of being ongoing and abundant, and it seemed possible to be observant without really trying. My life was unformed back then – a minefield or a goldmine depending on how one felt in the day. I’m not convinced it was any better or worse than it is now. I’ve learned to love life more dearly now and enjoy for a pleasant experience more than ever. The subjects that interested me then, continue to now: youth, beauty, taking pleasure in the moment and occasionally pulling on the loose threads of illusion and watching it unravel.”

Buy a copy of The Hungry Years here.