Through The Lens Of A 17-Year-Old
The Instagram account that looks like the love child between teenage angst and “Stranger Things.”
When you log onto Instagram and go onto user @s.ilver’s profile, you’ll be submerged into an alternate world where everything is dreamlike and you feel like you’re in the middle of a Harmony Korine film. The squares on the screen are all perfectly edited to curate a certain aesthetic, and although the photos have a muted and nostalgic feel to them, they explore themes of youth, tranquility and genuine authenticity.
The creative mind and photographer behind this highly successful and dream-like social media page is 17-year-old high school student from New Jersey, Lauren Tepfer.
At a young age, Tepfer has gained notoriety in the photography and social media worlds by posting photos of pink sunsets, hazy teens and dismal suburbs that all reflect her personal style and constant transitions through life. “I’ve found that I am most drawn to dreamy imagery and it just happens that that’s what I like and resonate with most.”
As a self-proclaimed story-teller, she uses photography and writing, more so photography, to explore themes including nostalgia, loneliness, magic, fear, the feeling of being overwhelmed and overjoyed.
In a world where everything, including the news, is consumed through digital media, social media is a way to present yourself to the world and create a profile to share your work. While many traditional artists do not understand the importance of “the digital footprint,” Tepfer owes a majority of her success to Instagram and networking through the app. “Social media has been a huge influencer in my career so far and I honestly owe everything to Instagram.”
Through the app, Tepfer has been able to connect with celebrities — like Dylan Sprouse from “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and Joe Keery from Netflix’s “Stranger Things” — who praise her photos, but the most influential connection she’s had has been with the LA-based dream pop band, LANY. To her surprise, the lead singer, Paul Jason Klein, responded and told her he was a fan of her work.
Although she has a special bond with the band, she’s still a loyal fan at heart and not just a photographer shooting a concert. “I always geek out about them, but I love it because it’s real and it’s who I am and there’s no reason for me to act like I don’t LOVE their music and obsesses like everyone else because I DO!”
In addition to being featured in Paper Magazine and Risen Magazine, as well as having her photos reposted on the Teen Vogue Instagram account — and even snagging a nice comment and like from Lorde — Tepfer is most notable for her column in Tavi Gevinson’s, Rookie Magazine. Gevinson, who Tepfer refers to as the “superwoman of the modern world,” gives young artists a place to showcase their work and spark conversations about topics such as pop culture, adolescent social issues and feminism
“Rookie has been a huge part of my life since 8th grade and working with them has been so much fun. They’ve given me an outlet to share my photos and writing with the world and I am forever grateful.”
However, with social media being an outlet for many to gain fame, the youth are often often dismissed and treated as inferior due to their unconventional ways of gaining an audience and creating a career. The struggles of being young and passionate about something and not being taken seriously have helped Tepfer grow and mature as not only an artist, but as a person.
“Having important recognition at such an early point in my career has helped me mature and realize how lucky I am to have the opportunity to do what I do and be supported, as well.”
Tepfer’s next venture is through the production collective, Adolescent Content, where she’ll be directing video content and creating more intricate work through moving picture and cinema.
She reveals that she spent a mass amount of time stressed about wanting to go into a creative career and was nervous that no one would believe in her or support her work. A few years later, she’s become an artist who is praised by many due to her authenticity and need to create content she’s proud of.
Her main pieces of advice to anyone who believes that they aren’t good enough to make it in a creative industry is to work hard at what you love and to not make any excuses.
“If you’re passionate enough and have enough motivation, I really believe anything it possible. I wouldn’t give up anything for my art. I’d work a million part time jobs just to still work as a creative. I sound naive, but I believe it. I know it’s possible.”
All photos by Lauren Tepfer.