Anneke Paterson – Growing Pains

Anneke Paterson

Growing Pains


These are the things I wish to keep, though I know I can’t. My generation is saying goodbye to its favorite places, even entire neighborhoods with cultural significance; the remnants of our childhoods are an Austin that seems too far gone. Some say that these changes which are overtaking our city, though they harm some, will benefit many. We’re not so sure: the changes are certainly capturing us all, though not equally. This trajectory is comparable to my own precipice of adulthood, which just as unsettled and dubious, unrelentingly pushes me onward. The boom is stretching us thin and wedging and an even deeper divide in a city whose infrastructures are deeply rooted in segregation; the city itself was designed for those who wished for it to be divided: us apart from them.

Now, areas of Austin which were designated for people of color are being overtaken by developers and corporations looking to exploit cheaper and vulnerable properties and persons. In my mid-twenties, I witnessing the effects of Austin’s historical segregation: historically Black and Latino neighborhoods are being stipped of their cultural and sentimental value just as I’m parting ways with my childhood and watching their physical spaces be replaced with novelty.

Though I am a native Austinite, I was naive to believe in the myth of the exceptionality of Austin, for which many others know as well: The Live Music Capital of the World, the place built on creatives and music and small-town sentiments. This identity does not speak for us all. Austin must confront its changing identity just as I must confront mine, what I thought of myself, of the city, no longer holds true, for better and for worse. My work explains my coming of age, expanding identity, and their parallel with the changing scape of this American city. These are friends, ex-lovers, strangers, all Austinites, connected by the experience of our remaining care-free days as adulthood and inescapable change looms.

Short Bio

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Anneke Paterson is an early career photographer of humanity with a distinct interest in youth culture. In her work, Anneke considers the dynamics between what and who she photographs and her role as the image creator. Currently, she is focusing on personal narratives as a way of establishing a better understanding of the adapting world around her. Her photographic essay, Bitten by the Moon, which examined access to surgical healthcare for those with physical malformations or conditions in El Salvador, was published by Burn Magazine in 2017. Other works have been published by National Geographic Travel and National Geographic Books. Anneke is an undergraduate student of cultural anthropology at Texas State University, with a desire that this degree will serve her photographic perspective and guide narratives which include sensitive topics, such as the effects of urban development. Anneke is a member of The Photographic Museum of Humanity and Women Photo


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The Fujifilm/Young Talent Award is supported by Fujifilm



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