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In search of a clue
Spring Break

The trouble with youth, quipped George Bernard Shaw, is that it’s wasted on the young. Was he at last year’s par-tay in Panama City Beach, too?

Photos and narrative by Nathaniel Welch


Excerpt: [from the photographer’s diary of a fortnight’s shooting in and around Panama City Beach, located on Florida’s panhandle] i want people to look at my pictures and feel ill that this stuff happens. get sad or mad. feel the desperation. the searching for something to hold onto, the mob mentality. insecurity is such a big part of it. feel like i’m judging the kids. don’t want to, but . . . ¶been following a sorority from virginia for a few days. trying to get a more personal story. it’s working. i like these girls but have a hard time dealing with how senseless they can be. they date these frat guys from school that are just idiots. pigs. only way to describe them. but the girls put up with it and even encourage it. i photographed 4 girls in the shower with two guys. . . . they start drinking at 10 a.m. when they get up. . . .¶watching the girls downstairs start to act human. breakdowns, boyfriend breakups. this is the real stuff the kids do, not the mtv and rolling stone versions. . . .¶feeling ill. think i’m getting a cold. partied hard last night. can’t believe i’m here for another week and a half. what was i thinking? just need to push hard and get it done. . . .

About the photographer: New York City–based Nathaniel Welch has been photographing college students on spring break across Florida since 1999 and hopes to turn the project into a book. His editorial work has been published in such magazines as Time, New York and Germany’s Stern, and his commercial assignments include various ads and album covers in the U.S. and overseas. A selection can be viewed at www.nathanielwelch.com.


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