Cover image for Coming of age
Coming of age
McBride, Will, 1931-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Aperture , 1999.
Physical Description:
109 pages, 3 unnumbered : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR681.Y6 M33 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



A chronicle of the struggles, bravado and irrepressible sexuality of young men. Will McBride, an American who has spent his adult life in Germany, has made one of the great extended photographic portraits of male adolescence, created over the course of his 40-year career as a photographer. In his studio work and in his reportage for such magazines as Twen , McBride has focused on young men as they come to terms with their inner and outer development.
McBride creates a portrait of the young male that is more revealing than those available in countless books, plays, movies and television shows. In his work, young men discover the power of their own sexuality, fall in love, suffer the imposition of the regimentation of study and religion, seek comfort, flaunt their courage, and play with the unfettered, goofy energy of boys. Clearly made in collaboration with his subjects, McBride's photographs are as telling and sensual as they are unforgettable.

Author Notes

Author, artist, literary critic and translator Guy Davenport was born on November 23, 1927 in Anderson, South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University in 1948 and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned a Bachelor of Literature from Merton College, Oxford University in 1950 and a Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University in 1961. He taught English at several universities from 1951 until his retirement in 1990. He received numerous awards including the O. Henry Award for short stories, the 1981 Morton Douwen Zabel award for fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and translation awards from PEN and the Academy of American Poets. He died on January 4, 2005 in Lexington, Kentucky.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Three new books pair fine writers and fine photographers, though the photos are always the main concern. Franck prefers human subjects in settings normal for them (not in photographic studios) and in action more often than at rest. In the correspondence with Franck that precedes the pictures, art critic and novelist John Berger says he sees futurity in many of her pictures, and many Franck pictures, such as that of two children just leaping from a wall and nowhere near the ground, imply successive events. Berger sees Franck's work as more dynamic than Cartier-Bresson's, though resembling his in sympathy for ordinary and poor people. Berger doesn't cite Helen Leavitt, whose pictures of children are yet more kinetic and whose fascination with play Franck seems to share; at any rate, play seems the animating spirit of Franck's pictures of children, her portraits of artists and performers, and even her sea, cloud, and landscape images. That she is the kind of black-and-white master whose pictures register as naturally as color adds to the satisfaction of perusing them. Geesaman works in monochrome, too, but strives "to idealize rather than to document" her subject matter of formal gardens and other designed landscapes, most of them in western Europe, and the ornamental and functional buildings in them. She focuses, exposes, and prints to obtain a velvety appearance and tones the images a light sepia; "golden dreams" accurately characterizes these pictures. They look as though the places they show might evanesce, which is what novelist Jamaica Kinkaid imagines in her meditative preface. McBride's presentation of sexuality for children, Show Me, was banned in some American communities 25 years ago. His new collection of equal numbers of black-and-white and color photos from throughout his 40-year career might have been banned then, too, for it features several nudes, mostly of 10-to 16-year-old boys. Many more clothed bodies appear, and they, too, are mostly boys, for boys' transition from childhood to adulthood is the book's theme. In the foreword, translator and avant-garde fiction writer Guy Davenport yammers about censoriousness toward nudity more than he discusses the pictures. After his spiel, McBride's images of students in a private school in Germany, a 15-year-old matador in action, young Buddhists in India, and a German street kid surprise with their reportorial freshness, and those of boys who modeled for McBride's sculptures seem as aesthetically aloof and emotionally candid as the statues themselves, some of which appear in pictures of McBride's studio. Davenport's best observation turns out to be comparing McBride to Norman Rockwell. --Ray Olson