kevin amato's new youth culture bible stars travis scott and south bronx teens
The photographer and casting director captures the young inhabitants of his own NYC stomping ground in The Importants.
In July, Kevin Amato teamed up with VFILES to create WOMB, a quarterly magazine "by and for the youth." The fully crowd-sourced project's goal is to foster creativity by arming kids with 50 disposable cameras and zero direction. "We're not speaking," Amato told i-D, "just listening and nurturing young artists." Among the things the Mother Agency founder encourages in his adopted teen and twenty-something progenies are recklessness and naiveté. "The youth doesn't realise the power they have, the importance of their unique voice, in the market, commerce, politics, health care, agriculture, fashion, music, everything," he explained to us. "We should all be disruptive, empathetic, and jump in puddles."
The photographer and casting director's next project has an equally maternal M.O. The Importants is Amato's first proper book, a visual diary of NYC at its most uncontrived, and a secular youth culture bible. Most of Amato's subjects are the otherwise unchampioned kids who inhabit his own South Bronx stomping ground: gangly teens playing patty-cake in an elevated subway car, a muscular youth sporting bleeding lips and a "Young Americans" tee, or a man prancing across a line of neatly stacked shopping carts like Supermarket Jesus. Other faces are more recognizable: Luka Sabbat — who Amato discovered on the street, and recently appointed Editor-at-Large of WOMB — touches tongues with girlfriend Dani on the FDR overpass. Rapper Travis Scott flashes a diamond grill, and stylist Haley Wollens poses in a dusty loft wearing a backwards varsity jacket emblazoned with the words "Too Young to Tell." Sprinkled throughout are flash-photographed stacks of cash and sticky M&M-topped doughnuts.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Kevin Amato