Doug DuBois is an professional photographer, who was born in 1960 in Dearborn, Michigan and currently lives and works in Syracuse, New York. Doug received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is an associate professor at Syracuse University and on the faculty at the Hartford Art School’s International Limited Residency MFA program in photography. DuBois’ work has been displayed in galleries and museums all over the world, and has been featured in numerous magazines and books.
The title, “My last day at Seventeen,” was first uttered by Eirn while I was taking her photograph in her parents’ back garden on the eve of her 18th birthday. Although Eirn argues her remark was more properly phrased, “ it’s my last day as seventeen” the sentiment is the same: there is a time in everyone’s life where the freedom and promise of childhood are lost to the coming of age and experience. The process can be gradual or abrupt; it can begin at age 18, 12 or 40.
For his photobook “My Last Day at Seventeen”, Doug DuBois captures kids on the cusp of adulthood in Ireland. DuBois has spent five summers documenting the lives of teenagers in Cobh Country, Ireland. Combining portraits, spontaneous encounters, and collaborative performances, the images in My Last Day at Seventeen exist in a delicate balance between documentary and fiction. The resulting photographs are an exploration into the promise and adventure of childhood with an eye toward its fragility and inevitable loss.
The photographs were made over a five year period in the town of Cobh, County Cork in Ireland. I came to Cobh at the invitation of the Sirius Arts Centre in the summer of 2009. Ireland had just begun its sharp decline from the boom years of the Celtic Tiger. I spent my days trying to ingratiate myself with contractors to gain access to building sites that lay abandoned throughout the Irish countryside. I got nowhere.
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