Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Girl Project

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Liz Hagen, the owner of Venetian Red – a fellow artist, writer, blogger and neighbor! The e-mail told me about the Girl Project, the idea of Kate Engelbrecht, a photographer, who is sending disposable cameras to girls in the US, collecting the photos, and then curating them for an exhibit/installation. Humans have long been fascinated with female adolescence. The promise and hope behind their eyes… the purity and romanticism youth represents, the razor thin line between immaturity, maturity, innocence and rebellion. (The Girl Project Statement)

I've seen some of the photographs she has received and selected so far and it is very moving and thought-provoking to see what the girls choose to portray about their lives.

All girls 13-18 living in the US are eligible to receive a camera. Kate is looking for as wide a range of girls as possible -- rural, urban, different ethnicities, racial backgrounds, interests, etc.

In today’s world it not only piques our curiosity—it feeds our insatiable need for drama. The supposed lives of teenage girls have become modern entertainment. Our ideas about them grow from what we read about Lindsay Lohan in The New York Post or what we saw on last week’s episode of The Hills. We learn what they like, buy and wear and what they believe, think and do… and just as quickly as we get our fix, we fail to understand the complexity and truth behind the very group we obsess on.

With the hope of reintroducing them to us, The Girl Project explores the lives of American teenage girls through images they create themselves. Using the raw, honest qualities of photography, girls reveal their self-perceptions in a daring act of intimacy- both behind and before the camera.

—Kate Engelbrecht, The Girl Project statement

If you know some girls who might be interested or people who work with girls who might be interested in learning more, here's the website and blog information.

courtesty of Liz Hagen:


Sheree Rensel said...

This post hits a nerve with me. Some might know I work with kids who are "rough around the edges". I do a lot of technology with these kids because it hooks them, so to speak. I get them to respond to me. Without the techie aspect, it would be difficult to do this for many reasons I will not mention.
To make a long story short they realize quickly, I have something they want. This is creating with technology.
Just TODAY, I handed a young girl (13) her photo CD. She took pics of herself and friends. She made an art picture book. I taught her to edit the photos using Photoshop. When she was done, I taught her to burn a CD and make a CD cover. We printed her photos and she added them to her journal. I had noticed in her folder the names of her .jpgs. It struck me as odd because some of the titles were almost vulgar. ] I opened up a few and discovered she had named any picture of herself with some kind of self depreciating file name. I was taken aback. I sat down with her and asked her about this. She really didn't have a clue why I would even mention any of this. I told her instead of naming this pic THIS, she could have named it THAT. I was trying to get across to this sweet girl that you have to see the goodness in yourself. You just have to. Otherwise, we would name all our photos "ugly me".
Thank you for telling us about this "girlproject". This sounds like a wonderful project. I hope it is grand success!

Zoomie said...

What a fascinating idea - I'm sure it will be very involving for the girls and for everyone else to see how they view themselves and their lives.