I couldn't believe what I was hearing! "I thought this was a good picture, but it only got eight likes". From MY daughter? Fiercely independent, sassy, funny, smart, and beautiful? Concerned with other peoples' opinion? A year ago this never would have happened. But my daughter is now a full-on tween, insisting on picking out her own clothes, ever so carefully choosing which jewelry to wear every day, and inexplicably obsessed with how she compares in relation to her peers.
Our daughters will never say it out loud, especially to their moms, but what they're really asking the world is "Am I pretty?", "Is this cool?", and "Am I good enough?". It breaks my heart, but it comes with the age group. So how is a mom, forced to walk ten paces behind
at the mall, supposed to show her daughter how absolutely amazing she is, no matter how many "likes" she gets?
In comes The Who I Am Project. For a very limited time, and the first time ever, we'll be photographing tweens- ages ten through twelve. These are known as "the lost years" in photography, because as much as these are the years where your daughter's style develops, her core beliefs are established, and her personality starts to change into it's adult form, yet for most of us, all we could have are a few school or sports pictures. I know that's when I developed my love of animal print (but it was the 1980's!) and my fast wit, but not according to the few pictures in my parents' album.
The photoshoot section of The Who I Am Project involves two outfits. The first details what she enjoys doing, such as cheer, sports, or music. The second is where she can show off who she is, with her favorite outfit, accessories, and styling in an environment where she's more than a cheesy smile and a head-and-shoulders crop. Because let's be honest, that's not really who she is. That's what she looks like. We're going deeper, so you'll be able to exclaim "Yes! THAT'S my daughter!"
The second part is a secret, but involves the people your daughter loves, so that when she comes with you to view the finished slideshow, she's also viewing words of wisdom, encouragement, and praise from her favorite people. Not about the Instagram her, the retouched, "I took 40 selfies before I found one I liked" her, but the REAL her. Just how she is.
This project was inspired by my daughter Ella, as a way to build up the confidence of our community's tweens, so they have a strong sense of self that isn't determined by how many "likes" they have, before they hit their teenage years, where the gossip, comparisons, and drama become tenfold. Because I believe so strongly in this project, I'll be offering complimentary sessions for the first three weeks, plus a print credit to thank you for allowing your daughter to participate in this wonderful project.
Before the craziness of "What did you get for Christmas?" happens, and the inevitable Instagram posts of their newest thing, give your daughter the chance to show the world who she really is with The Who I Am Project, so she can look at her images and say "yeah, that's who I am, and I like it". That should be all that matters. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 8th to schedule your free session with The Who I Am Project. In a world of wants, likes, and stuff, give her what she NEEDS to sail through her tween years with confidence.