First steps, first words, first day of school, first sleepover, first kiss, first car—adulthood. When we are children, time stretches onward indefinitely; many of us spend countless hours thinking, “I can’t wait ‘til I’m old enough to…” Yet from the outside, this precious period passes by in a blink of an eye.

These seven projects—in wonderfully varied ways and visual languages—tell different stories of growing up. Some of these views are romantic, others are gritty and real, yet all of them share insights into that delicate time that we get to experience directly just once…enjoy!

— The editors of LensCulture

Cut It Short
Two teen boys in Poland — Dominik and Marek — are inseparable friends as they “come of age”, discovering sex, travel, adventure, and the follies of fashion. By Michal Solarski and Tomasz Liboska.

Teen Tribe
Documenting the delicate, turbulent stages of adolescence through intimate portraits of her own children’s lives. By Martine Fougeron.

The Middle of Somewhere
A celebration of childhood and family life through a collection of simple yet beautiful moments of two sisters growing up in the remote Australian wilderness. By Sam Harris.

A kind, lovely 11-year old girl entrenched in the poverty and trauma of one of Sao Paulo’s worst slums. Her possible way out? The “Young Miss Brazil” beauty pageant. By Luisa Dorr.

My Last Day at 17
Rich portraits of teenagers in Ireland coming of age — as individuals, as groups, as part of a community and as the new generation of Irish. By Doug DuBois.

Tractor Boys
Young teenage boys in rural Sweden have a ritual of gathering together in a large deserted field at night drive souped-up old cars at crazy speeds. A charged, yet sensitive, meditation on youth. By Martin Bogren.

Julia Wannabe
A photographic collaboration between a mother and her daughter, as the daughter transitions from being a girl to a young woman. By Anna Grzelewska.

You can also share your story by submitting your best photo narratives to the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2019. The deadline is December 19, 2018.