Mikey Billings, 29, Statesville, N.C.
B.A. in film studies from Full Sail University. Wants to work in the film or music industry. Currently working part-time at a malt shop.
Student Loans: $80,000

Monica Navarro, 24, Escondido, Calif.
B.A. in literature and writing from University of California, San Diego. Wants to be a librarian. Currently a library volunteer and Home Depot employee.
Student Loans: $44,000.

Adrianne Smith, 28, Seminole, Fla.
B.A. in psychology from University of Central Florida, and an M.S. in Counseling from Nova Southeasern University. Wants to expand her business. Currently an entrepreneur and therapist.
Student Loans: $40,000

Alexandria Romo, 28, Austin, Tex.
B.A. in economics from Loyola University, Chicago. Wants to be an environmentalist. Currently working at a corporate-security firm.
Student Loans: $90,000

Ari Hoque, 22, Brooklyn.
B.A. in Economics from Hunter College. Wants to be a banker. Currently a rental-car-company employee.
Student Loans: $12,000.

Annie Kasinecz, 27, Downers Grove, Ill.
B.A. in advertising and public relations, Loyola University, Chicago.
Student Loans: $75,000

Eric Curran, 23, Wahoo, Neb.
B.A. in history and religion from Midland University. Wants to be a professor of Lutheran theology or history professor. Currently an education assistant.
Student Loans: $11,000.

Ashley Chang, 25, Queens.
B.A. in comparative literature from Hamilton College. Wants to be a digital media manager. Currently a digital-media analyst.
Student Loans: $20,000.

Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, Suffern, N.Y.
B.F.A. in graphic design from School of Visual Arts. Wants to be a graphic designer. Currently a graphic designer and production assistant.
Student Loans: $130,000.

Jacqueline Boubion, 30, Diamond Bar, Calif.
B.A. in communications from California State University, Fullerton. Wants to be a film director. Currently production assisting in commercials and music videos.
Student Loans: None. $22,000 in credit-card debt.

Jessica Meyer, 23, Pacifica, Calif.
B.A. in art history, Sonoma State University. Wants to be a veterinarian. Currently a veterinary assistant.
Student Loans: $27,000.

Lila Ash, 24, Washington Heights, N.Y.
B.F.A. in painting from Rhode Island School of Design. Wants to be a cartoonist. Currently a decorative finisher for an interior designer. Student Loans: $25,000.

Robert Shane Ellis, 29, Alhambra, Calif.
B.A. in Asian humanities from University of California, Los Angeles. Wants to be a film director or actor. Recently enrolled in an M.F.A. program.
Student Loans: $10,000

Sarah Van Eck, 24, Hendricks, Minn.
B.A. in Biology from Northwestern College. Wants to be a social worker. Currently a dietary worker at a hospital.
Student Loans: $50,000.

14 Portraits Of College Grads Living At Home

"Yes, mom, I'll be home before midnight."

It used to be shameful to move back home after college--a sign of personal failure. Now, because of rising student debts and a sub-stellar economy, it’s a common reality.

That doesn't make it any less weird for a liberated young adult to move back home and experience the childhood delights of family dinners and curfews all over again. Photographer Damon Casarez captures this odd spectacle in Boomerang Kids, a photographic collection of college grads who moved home.

Casarez spent two months traveling to eight states and 16 cities to photograph his subjects. “This project started out of my own struggle to find work and support myself after graduating college with over $100,000 in student loans,” Casarez tells Co.Design. “I had a great start in school, I was working a lot as a photographer's assistant and shooting small editorial assignments. About a year and a half after graduating, work became extremely slow. I had drained all my resources, sold everything I could, and my last resort was to move back home with my parents, so I did.” Out of his personal plight, Casarez began to photograph friends who were in a similar situation. He sent the early shots to NYT Magazine, and his project was picked up as a feature.

You’ll notice that Casarez didn’t shoot in the documentary style, watching his subjects like a fly on the wall. A portrait photographer by trade rather than a photojournalist, he carefully poses scenes following discussions with his subjects. This discussion is key to informing a scene that feels earnest, even if it’s technically invented. For instance, when photographing Mike Billings, a 29-year-old film studies graduate who worked part-time at a malt shop, Casarez was a bit stumped as to how he could flesh out the scene.

“We began talking a bit about job interviews and looking for work. I had asked him what he usually wears to an interview or meeting," Casarez explains, "and he replied, ‘Well, I usually wear this bow-tie and sweater, but I have to watch a YouTube video on how to tie it. I can never remember.’ That became his portrait.”

Maybe it’s these intentional moments of humor. Maybe it’s just the silliness of seeing young professionals stuck in the rooms of their 13-year-old selves. Boomerang Kids should be depressing. But it’s not. It's as if the subjects are in on the joke--possibly because they’ve figured out something that a lot of past generations have not. As Casarez writes, “After traveling the country and talking with everyone I've photographed, I realized that we all want to have fulfilling careers and not just jobs where we can make money."

See more here.

[Hat tip: Beautiful Decay]

[Photos by Damon Casarez]

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39 Comments

  • Alex Lex

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  • Daniel Faith

    Personally, I see nothing shameful here. It is, actually, another way around. I think that it is a very smart decision. OK, you graduated (get graduation papers here http://essayonlinestore.com/dissertation.html ), you have a student loan debt, no job or whatsoever and you are willing to get into bigger debt renting an apartment. What is smart about that? Nothing, of course. Shut down your personal ego and, friends if needed, and move back to your old room. Think of this as a temporary thing until you can stand strong on your financial feet.

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  • Film studies. Art History. Literature. Painting. Asian Humanities. No surprises there. Worthwhile degrees...maybe...but not directly employable - they'll need to be creative in their job search, The one who wants to be a librarian, well the only way to do that is with an MLS. The rest of the examples with degrees in economics and biology, I think those kids are just being lazy, or at least are unmotivated at the moment - but there's nothing wrong per se about moving back home until you find that first real job.

  • “After traveling the country and talking with everyone I've photographed, I realized that we all want to have fulfilling careers and not just jobs where we can make money."

    In the words of The Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want."

  • Chris Musket

    Well Mark that is fine and Dandy and i agree, but i would not expect these people to be working their dream job and feeling fulfilled while living in Mom and Dad's basement. If someone goes to school to be a librarian and wants to dump 100K into that education then that is fine with me, but don't expect me to feel sorry for you when your 40 years old and still living with your Mother and Father. I think it is a great article, don't get me wrong and i'd like to see more like it. I feel the problem these days is they consistently concentrate and focus on how to keep praising the kids..it is a constant bombardment of positive feedback when in actuality people need to learn to fail and pick themselves up or at least learn to pick themselves up..it is part of the learning process.

  • Chris Musket

    this is the laziest generation ever..yes they charge 100K for student loans..you live on campus..your food is taken care of..you are given computers these days when you sign up for school..that is why it is so expensive..and then you go on spring break because there is too much pressure??..lmao!... i am very secure and happy with my job and never worried about a millenial taking it, because they don't have my work ethics. In one of these pictures..the girl is in bed wearing pajama's??..when i wasn't working i made it a habit to put on a suit and tie every day and get out of the house and pick up good habit's. This is most certainly the entitled generation..we makde a mistake and now they want us to pay for it because there are no jobs in the study of dung beattles in africa going on??...here's some advice..put down your phone..put down your computer..get out of your house and DO SOMETHING!!...to the guy with the power rangers poster and the batman doll..your parents must be proud!!

  • dwmeyer17

    I'm 29, majored in Graphic Design, got laid off in 2010, started my own business, decided to be a professor, went to school to get my MFA in Graphic Design, started working for a rock band...all with out working a suit, tool. This isn't our fault, I'm not lazy, my generation isn't lazy either. We work organically, we a fluid and want a life that is authentic, not one that is safe.

  • Kev In

    Very broad generalization there would be like saying everyone in your generation is as ignorant as you based on your comment. You looked at 14 pictures, read an article on a semi-reputable site, and made a huge generalization about an entire group of the American population backed on very little research. You are what's wrong with this country not millennials.

  • alchematrix

    Put down the phone and computer? These days those are extremely useful-- if not necessary because many places require you to apply online, or have a LinkedIn profile, etc-- in finding employment and, in many cases, fulfilling the demands of such employment. Besides, how do you know they aren't getting out to try and do something? Several of them do have jobs, just not ones that will help pay off loans at a decent rate-- but they have jobs because they know they have to take what they can get, especially if their studies are more specialized and esoteric.

    I realize your generation does like to look down its nose at the millennials, but I also think many of your generation are horribly out of touch with how reality has changed even in the past decade. I for one would dearly love to see what many could accomplish if not weighted down with debt and the mistakes of previous generations, because most I've met are very motivated as well as interested in improving the world around them.

  • Nathaniel Taylor

    A millenial might not have your work ethic; let's hope your grammar and spelling don't carry over either.

    Living with your parents is not always a sign of indolence. It might just indicate shrewd planning for the future.

  • Chris Musket

    LMAO!!!...So i guess you guys are grading my grammar now on a blog post!! Are you going to come up with an original comment or continue to plagiarize Mr. Pope? Let me guess you run everything through Microsoft word before you shoot off your comments?? Living with your parents is great and i hope you continue to do so and your schrewd plan works. You kids these days are a joke. Sponging off of mom and dad till the very end. How does your girl like it down in the basement of good old Mommy and Daddy's? Feel free to send her my way as i have plenty of room over here for her..just tell her she doesn't have to worry about waking mommy and daddy up in the middle of the night while i'm banging her...LMAO...in a game of whits my little friend don't show up in a forum empty handed

  • Thomas Pope

    I can't tell if this is a joke or not. If you can't even use capital letters at the beginnings of your sentences, I really doubt you are this hard working, older-generations, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," mogul of some sort. "Habit's," really? There is nothing "entitled" about our generation, considering the older-generations decimated our economy, we're working with the scraps. I have the feeling (if you're not a troll) that you wouldn't make it a University right now. You can't even stay on subject on a comment, how could you stay on subject on a research paper?

  • Chris Musket

    Yes Thomas..denial is your first issue..deny every problem you have and eventually it will go away..i'm already done with school my young man..and yes you are an entitled generation. So now you blame us for all of your financial woes too, because you declare we decimated the economy and you can't find a job collecting dung beatles?? That has to be the stupidest statements ever made, but i am not surprised coming from your generation. When was i off topic? I think i spelled everything out here clear as day, so focus son! As for grammatical issues..this is a posting not a research paper you dolt. Don't you have a twitter,facebook,pinterest, tinder application to update?

  • russkick

    Note to all boomerang kids: If you move back into your old room, for the love of God, get rid of all your childhood shit. The trophies, the stuffed animals, the posters, all of it. Live in a bare room if you have to, but don't live as an adult immersed in the pathetic crap from your adolescence and earlier.

  • Thomas Pope

    If it brings them comfort, allow them to do it. I'm sure your various minimalist rooms, in your expensive, high-rise apartment are lovely.

  • russkick

    Note to all boomerang kids: If you move back into your old room, for the love of God, get rid of all your childhood shit. The trophies, the stuffed animals, the posters, all of it. Live in a bare room if you have to, but don't live as an adult immersed in the pathetic crap from your adolescence and earlier.

  • Parker Quackenbush

    No Engineering Majors. I wonder what would happen if we just charged less for art degrees and the like... considering they are unlikely to have as high of an income over the course of their lives.