Sweet 16

12 July 2017

Photographer and interview Jessica Madavo
Words Ellen Coyle
Model Steen Grover

16-year old Jessica Madavo captures her fellow classmate Steen Grover. They speak about the creative spirit and the influence of social media on their young generation. Gen Z explores Gen Z.

A friend captured by a friend makes this grey scale world far less than dreary. Frozen in black and white, 16-year old Steen Grover is caught in blissful adolescence by his classmate Jessica Madavo, assisting us in our quest to explore Generation Z and its facets. What better way to truly understand Generation Z than to provide them with the space to be seen and heard? We’re often under the impression that there is something wrong with being young. More so than that looking any younger than you’re age when you’re young is a curse.

Baby-faced, chubby cheeked, cherubs seems insulting when you in your late teens, but why? Steen Groover has those plump rosy cheeks, small but honest eyes and yet has more wisdom than his elders whom he tries to teach the ways of this fast paced world. There’s knowledge to his stance, pondering the future and whether flying cars will soon exist. He’s inspired by the creativity of others and discouraged by his obsessive generation. He revels in his youth; bold enough to do just him, because straying means everything becomes less meaningful. That’s the philosophy he lives by.

Delve into the wisdom of Steen Groover as he talks his musical inspiration, teaching his Gran to FaceTime and why social media is to blame for his generation’s insecurities. He’s far more than just a baby-faced teen.

What it's like being young and creative?
I really enjoy youth and do try to make the most out of it, I’ll sort of do anything that I want to and I think the further from this philosophy people stray, the less meaningful a lot of things become. My creativity is shown through what I wear and how I do things rather than a physical manifestation like music or art, although I do skateboard, so I guess that’s an expression of sorts.

How would you describe your generation, and is there anything you would want to change about it?
Obsessed, if I’m honest - myself included. I think social media has too much of a presence in everyday life. I believe I saw a caption Rejjie Snow posted a few days back saying that ‘social media created our insecurities’, which phrases it perfectly. On a more comical note, the specific thing I would change about this generation is the moronic addiction to maintaining a daily habit of sending pictures to other people for a fire emoji next to their name.

What inspires you?
People creative and bold enough to make music that expresses their feelings and opinions, such as Yung Lean, Mac Miller, Jack Johnson and Frank Ocean. I wish I was creative enough to make music with a message that people could relate to emotionally rather than superficially like a lot of the tunes we hear nowadays. People who do things differently are interesting and inspire me to be myself.

Is there anything that you would like to teach the older generations?
That’s tough, I feel like I tend to think the older generations had more of an idea what they were doing than we do now. People of the opposite sex can be friends without being partners is one thing that springs to mind. I try to keep my mum in the loop with music and TV shows, but she never enjoys much of it - she’ll stick to Coronation Street and Tom Jones (whose music I think is still great and one of the many things I’ve got from her). Teaching my nan how to use FaceTime could be useful though.

What does the future look like?
Uncertain; there’s always mad things happening in this world. As long as we see a flying car relatively soon I’ll be happy. I hope we see increasing awareness of mental illness and an acceptance of people wanting to open up without being shut down by a ‘get better soon mate’.

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