Hair slicked back, faces clenched, hands tucked in leather jacket pockets — you can almost feel the tension between the photographer and these teen greasers, these James Dean wannabes, the dolled-up gals laughing over their shoulders. In fact, while photographer Joseph Sterling prowled the beach, the tattoo shops, the cafes, and other teenage hangouts in the late ’50s and early ’60s, he got roughed up. “Then they turned around and gave him a couple of dollars to bring back pictures,” Paul Berlanga of Chicago’s Stephen Daiter Gallery explains. Sterling was shooting his thesis for Chicago’s Institute of Design and captured a slice of history and raw vigor. Spotted by the Retronaut, check out these photos of beach-side make outs, double dates over ice cream floats, and girl gang night jaunts.