“We really didn’t have many of those in our culture now, in modern America,” says Keith McManus. “One of the things people might consider a rite of passage was this spring break thing. It’s not very profound as an activity, but… if that’s what you got, that’s what you do.”
Noisy, brash kids on loin-sanctioned vacations to Florida’s busy beaches epitomise the America that invented teenagers and repackaged sex. The youngsters party with a puritan’s view of hedonistic glee before they return to exams and debt, their bodies secured in college lettering and minds trapped conformity. But this is America, the place where despite the put-downs, downturns and the snark, you can still aspire to be better. America is the place that showed Europe how stuffy, dull and stubborn it had become. It’s the country that spread wide a culture of adventure and daring, hooking everyone into the dream of working hard to have more, be better and move forward. Spring break epitomises the spirit of American progress and belonging. Spring break is what you do if you’re a young American on the cusp of adulthood. Keith McManus calls his collection Rite of Passage. Spring break is just so. Keith’s humane take on it make his pictures glorious.