What is it like to be sixteen years old in the UK now? This is the central thread running through the national project Sixteen where some of the UK’s foremost documentary portrait photographers collaborated in opening up conversations with young people about their hopes and fears, and who or what sustains them, giving prominence to voices rarely heard.
Here we highlight one of them, Michelle Sank, who focused her lens on Cornwall, drawn by an interest to explore how the economic poverty and physical isolation of the county impacts on the future of its young people.
Sank felt privileged by the connection she was able to form with her subjects and their families/guardians, who generously shared their stories, the social and family structures and domestic surroundings within. Having access in this way enabled her to understand the social challenges that were previously hidden.
The Engine Room