“DECEMBER 3rd, 1986. I want to be anorexic!!”
Deanna Templeton grew up in California in the 1980s listening to punk bands, feeling unhappy and cutting herself. Largely ignored by her parents, she spent her teens going to gigs, taking drugs, wanting to be thinner, wanting to be prettier, wanting everything to be different.
She grew up, got married, felt better. Years later she pulled out her teenage diaries and reread them. “I wished I could go back and hug that person and tell her she’s going to be all right,” she admits in the introduction to her new book What She Said (named after a song by The Smiths).
Templeton grew up to become a photographer. “For two decades, I shot portraits of people in the streets with no particular plan for what I would do with the images. Over the last eight years, I came to a striking realisation. Many of the women that I approached for portraits had certain qualities in common; I was drawn to these women for a reason. They were either me when I was their age, or what I wished I could have been — beautiful, strong, independent, bad-asses.”
What She Said, which combines Templeton’s photographs with extracts from her teenage diaries, is a mixture of pain and hope. “We will all be able to look back at our own youth and smile,” Templeton concludes, “remembering how intense life feels at that age.”
What She Said by Deanna Templeton is published by MACK, £40. ©2021 Deanna Templeton