What Thirty Years of Female Friendship Looks Like

When Karen Marshall started photographing a group of teenage girls on the Upper West Side in 1985, she wasn't sure what would happen. A decade older than them, Marshall was interested in exploring what girlhood looked like in a middle class, urban environment. "I wanted to look at girls who reminded me of how I grew up," Marshall said to The Atlantic. "Most of the photographs I would see of teenage girls were about women under the poverty line or prom queens in the midwest—neither of the things that I grew up with."

Marshall started photographing Molly Brover, a charismatic, curly-haired junior at the Bronx High School of Science, and her group of friends. She photographed them hanging out in Riverside Park, smoking cigarettes, having slumber parties—the mundane and exhilarating rites of puberty. Ten months later, Molly died in a car accident. What Marshall thought was a coming of age story turned into something more complicated—now also about loss, not only of Molly, but of childhood. "I had to see this project through," Marshall said. "I had her in all these photographs—she was still going to remain very much alive and the rest of them would grow older."

The black and white photo essay, Between Girls: A Passage to Womanhood 1985-2015, is now being shown at Hampshire College until November 17. Below is a selection of those images.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Beach Classroom, Giant Eye, Trench Puppies

    Cherry blossoms in Germany, Fashion Week in Madrid, an island castle in Switzerland, Ramadan prayers in Mecca, a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean, a comfort dog at the U.S. Capitol, and much more

  • Luis Tato for The Washington Post

    Winners of the 2021 World Press Photo Contest

    Some of the winning entries in this year’s annual photo competition

  • Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty

    Protecting Crops Against a Spring Frost

    Images of a widespread battle against the cold in France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland

  • Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Plastic Lake, Van Cat, Burning Judas

    Ballet in an empty Syrian market, a forest fire in California, a briefing by the Easter Bunny in the White House, riots in Northern Ireland, a giant sand dune in France, and much more