In honor of Rineke Dijkstra‘s retrospective currently on view at the Guggenheim, we figured we’d do our own little rundown of the photographer’s work. Dijkstra’s portraits illuminate all the subtle emotions and struggles inherent in being a youngster. When you’re a kid, you can’t help but be the underdog. Some cosmic order of the universe is keeping you down in some way. You want to be taller, smarter; or maybe you want a pair of sneakers that you can’t afford. And all the while, you’re not sure if you’ll ever make it out of adolescence alive. And your lack of hope makes the whole process that much worse. The painful existence of childhood brings about a certain unique wisdom. It’s not true wisdom (you haven’t experienced enough of life to be wise), but it’s close. Maybe the right term is jaded. In Dijkstra’s photographs, youthful subjects stare out at us in disdain: “what are you gonna throw at me next?” And you just want to tell them that everything’s going to be alright, that it gets better with time. But then you wonder if you’d be lying. Reconnect with your younger self with more images after the jump.