A photo diary in Southern Australia tracks a lazy summer, and the the coming-of-age of local teens

There is a universal sense of yearning for youth. And while we easily become preoccupied with the far-gone joys of unblemished skin and monstrous metabolisms and a small scope of responsibilities, some of the best parts of being young aren’t unattainable to those who have grown out of it. The simple pleasures of living aren’t owned by the underage, they are simply more often adopted by them: digging your toes in the sand, sitting in silence with a friend, mimicking the behavior of a valiant stranger, engaging in play not for distraction or sport, but just for the sake of it.

For photographer Axel Swan, the intrigue around those coming of age lies in their genuine fascination with life. In Southern Australia, he found just that. Among a sea of small towns is a city, Adelaide, where “the teenage population seems to spend hours every day floating, carefree, through time.” Summer seemed to best promote this spirit; without school, days are lazy, and time is consumed freely and easily.

“What really struck me was the absence of the typical self-consciousness that I remember, of myself and of my peers in our teenage years,” Swan says. “I’m sure, of course, it still exists, but I wonder if the daily expectation to perform and to almost self-promote on social platforms has cultivated a generation who feel instantly at ease with a lens—with the idea of their image being shared or viewed publicly.”

For Document, the photographer offers a diary of the serene simplicity of youthful pleasure he found in Adelaide.