If you remember Silly Bandz and Tamagotchi, Team Edward versus Team Jacob, and obsessing over your MySpace Top 8 and AIM away messages, you probably grew up in the early 2000s. As young millennials and Generation Z-ers come of age, a wave of nostalgia for the decade that’s notorious for its bad fashion and auto-tuned music is looming across the internet. Youth culture in the noughties, much like youth culture today, was defined by the rise of technology and consumerism—except then, it was flip phones, iPod Nanos, and Juicy Couture tracksuits that were status symbols amongst high schoolers. It’s also the generation that was raised in the wake of 9/11 and the “War on Terror,” and either graduated college in the midst of, or saw their parents cope with, the nation’s largest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This, along with the predominance of social media and hyper-publicized celebrity culture, created an unprecedented level of social pressures amongst 21st-century youth.
Below, we highlight five photographers who captured the energy and angst of the 2000s generation. Some, like
, are inspired by the snapshot aesthetic of the reigning documentarians of ’90s youth
, and the late
. Others, like
and Danielle Levitt, take a closer look at the individual stories behind teenage archetypes.