Photographer Captures Sweet Moments of Summer

Before We Land
Bryan Derballa
Friends take a break in the parking lot of a grocery store next to the van we rented for a swimming trip, 2011

Raised in North Carolina and educated in California, the Brooklyn-based photographer Bryan Derballa has an unwavering love for the outdoors. For the last four summers, he’s set aside his work in order to head into the country with his friends. For him, these journeys are essential to his livelihood. As he enters his thirties, they allow him to hang onto what he calls the “liminal state between youth and adulthood. It’s a period of uncertainty that occurs sometime after college but before homeownership, when friends become family and time becomes finite.”

This theme of chasing childhood translates directly into Derballa’s work. Images of diving into the sea, setting off fireworks, and cuddling on the beach illustrate the sweet moments of summer everyone wishes they had more of.

As the responsibilities of adulthood quickly replace the recklessness of adolescence, Derballa has become increasingly aware of the importance of holding onto the fleeting moments of adolescence. “Now, I’ve got real responsibilities and strict deadlines and client relationships to manage,” Derballa says. “I spend equal amounts of time looking at real estate properties online as I do watching skate videos on the Thrasher website.”

For him, both adulthood and his increasing successes are exciting, but there is also an inherent fear in growing up. “As we get older and inevitably jaded, the world loses its mystery,” he says. His images show this, succinctly capturing the final moments of youth.

Despite the fear and anxiety of living in the delicate space between youth and age, caution and danger, Derballa has found ways to deal with it. “The feeling I get just before jumping 60 feet into the bottom of a waterfall has no rational value in my adult life, but I live for it. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to stare down mortality with the invincibility of youth, but I cherish all the remaining seconds that I can.”


Bryan Derballa is a documentary photographer and creator of the photo blog Lovebryan. He was recently selected as one of PDN 30’s emerging photographers of 2014.

Josh Raab is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow him on Instagram @instagraabit


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