Recent stories  in the media give voice to auto makers’ marketing conundrum: the demographic that is starting to make their mark on the workforce and increasing their purchasing power–the millenials–are not as interested in cars as previous generations. An NPR story asserted that while cars used to represent freedom, for millennials freedom is now the cellphone.

Ohad Cadji, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh remembers reading in one article that “some guy was upset that people our age thought having a smart phone was more important than having a car because for him cars did represent freedom.” But for Ohad, “a car is another expensive thing that I have to pay for.”

That was the catalyst for Ohad to start the website Young Millennial Adult to respond to the stereotypes about his generation. Millennials, defined as those born between the year 1980 and 2000, often bear the brunt of labels that include “entitled,” “technology-addled” and “lazy”–stereotypes that Ohad feels don’t apply.

So Ohad asked his friend, Weenta Girmay, a journalist, to help him start a project to show the individual and unique natures of the young generation.  Young Millennial Adult draws inspiration from “Humans of New York” and the work of photographer Dawoud Bey.

Ohad, a photographer, captures the individual while  Weenta conducts the interview. They focus on how those featured feel about everything from  technology and finances to family, politics, and ideas of success.

Through this lens they hope to “present a more honest and forthcoming representation of this generation, one that’s focused as much on the individual as it is on the entire collective.”

Here’s an excerpt from Hadley, a communications person at a local nonprofit: “I always hated people who’d say, “Oh yeah, man I’m just going to graduate and I’m just going to travel and I’m just going to go around the country and sleep on people’s couches.” I feel like you’re always taking advantage of somebody in some way when you do that…I would know people who would say, “Why don’t you just let go and go out of town?”

It’s because I need to eat food and pay for my student loans.”

The project launched in late May and the pair hopes to have 100 portraits up on the site by the end of 2015.

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment....