Seventeenth Summer

I created “Seventeenth Summer” as an homage to my home, to growing up and moving out. When I was in the process of photographing these images, I was also packing up and moving out of my childhood home, and out of these mountains which had been my sanctuary. When I felt lost, I used to take a drive here, 30 minutes from my house with music blasting and occasionally tears in my eyes. I enjoyed the silence of the mountains, save for the occasional hiker or chattering marmot.

Molly and Megan, the dancers featured in these images, were also in the process of moving out. Both had recently graduated high school and had been best friends since youth, now moving out to separate colleges. I admired their inside jokes with each other, their comfort working as a team with me and with each other to pose. They could’ve been sisters.

As I did the math since my birth, I found out it was my seventeenth summer on this Earth. This had a strange ring to it, seventeen summers of heat and sweat and boredom. It was the loneliest summer of my life, moving out of those mountains, but in place of the emotional turmoil of moving I found a great peace. These photos represent that peace, the steadfastness of the mountains that will welcome all of us home, childhood friendships, and the bonds that time and distance cannot break.

Seventeenth Summer was shot on Portra 400 35mm, and a Pentax K-1000.

By Carly Hough

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