After three years in New York City’s Pratt Institute, photographer Liz Calvi realised she couldn’t afford her final semesters.
Calvi was lucky enough that her parents let her move back in with them at home in Hartford, Connecticut, and attend a local art school to finish her education without having to pay the price of room and board. She soon realised she wasn’t the only one back in town.
“I noticed quite a few kids had come back home,” she remembers. “This group of boys stuck around the longest, which is how I got the idea for lost boys instead of both genders.”
In her photo series “Lost Boys,” the name of which was inspired by the use of “Peter Pan generation” to describe a generation that some believe refuses or postpones adulthood, Calvi mixes portraits of Hartford’s 18 to 26-year-old “lost boys” with scenes from her hometown to illustrate the effects of a struggling economy on her peers.
Here, she has allowed us to republish an excerpt of her project. To see the complete series, visit her website.
In 2013, about a year after graduating, Calvi started her project. She was inspired in part by her younger brother Nick, pictured here as a junior in high school. 'Being around him and watching him grow up, especially over the past two years, influenced me to start looking at other boys as well,' Calvi says.
Calvi started with her 'good group of guy friends,' but eventually branched out to look for more subjects in town. Nolan, pictured here, is currently studying graphics in college, and lives with his parents for the summer.
The project's subjects are all at home for different reasons. Some have graduated college, hold temporary jobs, are paying student loans, thinking about grad school, or are in school and saving on room and board. Kevin was homeschooled by his grandparents and is studying to be a firefighter instead of attending college.
Varley is taking a break at home after hiking the Appalachian Trail. He wants to save enough from his restaurant job to return to the hike.
Derick was taking a break from his plans to be an actor at the time of this portrait, working in landscaping and yard work.
'I feel like that might be the biggest consensus: the struggle between what made them happy and what would also be financially smart for them,' says Calvi. Mikey, who went to school for environmental studies, wasn't sure what to do with his degree after graduation, and now lives at home, working as a carpenter.
Trey lived at home for about a year after graduating high school, saving up money to move to Los Angeles and pursue an acting career.
This photo of Alex was taken a week after his return from rehab. He's working at a restaurant and plans to return to college, where he had previously been studying.
Matt had been living in Boston with an ex-girlfriend, studying writing at Harvard. He didn't graduate, and is now living with his aunt and learning to brew beer.
Larz moved in with his father after completing two years of college, and is now working as the manager in a local bagel shop. He's considering going back for his degree in business.
Eric, who is studying Japanese, chose to move home to save money for a move to Japan, where he hopes to start his business career.
'I think a part of me was kind of frustrated, because sometimes older generations made comments to me based on stereotypes that my generation is lazy and that's why we're living with our parents,' Calvi explains. Christian was pictured here just a semester away from his college graduation, after spending a year's sabbatical teaching English in Africa.
'I wanted to show more empathy, more of the mental state of these guys,' Calvi explains. 'I feel like they're OK, but they're not totally happy with being back here. They're really trying to get jobs and make money.' Dallas is attending a local college while living with his parents to save money on room and board.
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.