As adults, we yearn for the past: we look at children and crave their physical and psychic purity. Though we all pass through youth and remember its perspective, it’s so easy to forget…

It is said that adolescence is the “no-man’s land” between childhood and maturity—the time when our relationship with our surroundings and reality is constantly in flux. During that time, we are doubled: we are both child and adult at the same time.

In the throes of adolescence, it can be hard for outsiders to get close—we are brimming with secrets that incubate the self, allowing personalities and identities to develop. These secrets raise walls between us, barriers that strengthen us and give life to our new, individual selves. What do they look like? Writing in a diary, sitting behind locked doors, gathering private books of memories. Secret books that, if read by an outsider, would prompt the question: “Why is this a secret?” And yet, these secrets challenge and nourish the growing strength of the self and individual.

The big questions in life are dissected during this period: Why am I alive? Is it true that I’m alive? Do this world, the Earth, and all the planets in our solar system truly exist? Why is a chair called a chair, and a table a table?

I witnessed this transition in the relationship between my brother and his best friend. They live for nature and escaping the people around them; they are constantly discussing their own small and secret concerns. I ventured to find and display these moments in my pictures—the parallels in their continuously changing and evolving natures. They live in a fragile, clean, unprotected and honest space. They do not comprehend the world as existing in a set space but instead see its indefiniteness, its flexibility.

This is a project about the intimate relationship between two young adults in the truest sense of the term: a book of secrets that shares moments from their ordinary and extraordinary world.

—Bianka Schumann

If you enjoyed this article, you might like one of these previous features: Where Children Sleep, a series on the lives and sleeping environments of children from around the world; The Middle of Somewhere, Sam Harris’ sun-drenched images of two sisters growing up in the Australian countryside; and American Cowboy, a project on the day-to-day lives of young girls on a family-owned cattle ranch in northern Nevada.