Evocative Photos of ’90s Teenagers in Their Bedrooms

In 1995, artist Adrienne Salinger wanted to depict the authentic lives of young people in ‘90s America — a contrast to the perfect Beverly Hills 90210 types portrayed in the media. She photographed teens in the most intimate space of all: their bedrooms.

“I started it on the West Coast, when I lived there, just out of frustration at the ways teenagers were being depicted,” she recently told Huck Magazine. “Because this was before the internet, this was before computers, and our reliance on television was huge. There weren’t a lot of outlets for people to represent themselves, especially young people.”

The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque photography professor published a book of the photos in 1995 called In My Room: Teenagers In Their Bedrooms. It’s since been cited as the unofficial “bible for set directors in LA.”

The teenage bedroom is sacred territory, and Salinger captures that slice of time when four walls become a vivid symbol of our personal freedom, our self-image, and the memories we make moving into adulthood. We’ve quoted an excerpt from the interviews that accompany each photo in Salinger’s series — moving statements on life, loss, and dreams.