TEEN PORTRAITS - Self Esteem
Teen Portrait 2010
Self Esteem In Teens Is "Key"
It is interesting that I'm here writing about this subject now that I have entered my mid-forties. I guess you can say that I'm kind of revisiting my youth, but you can also say that "self esteem" in teenagers is a very important issue. I have noticed that a lot of children are nurtured at a younger age and then when they enter into their teen years, a lot of parents seem to "pull away" or "retreat" because of all the changes that kids experience all at the same time.
I have not spoken or featured my photography here yet since I am known by a different professional name, but I thought this was a start since I photographed a seventeen year old girl this past weekend. This is one of the photo's I shot at the right of this paragraph of the girl in the red hat. The thing that shocked me most was that the first thing she said to me was that "she was not photogenic at all." That is a very strong statement coming from a seventeen year old. I said to her, "No worries because you need to leave that up to me." She sort of smiled and stayed very quiet. She then said "I have never done this before." I looked at her and said, "Well...there is always a first time." I told her a few stories from my youth and made her giggle with the hopes to get her comfortable for the shoot. I sat her down right away and put light make up on her because she had skin issues and I wanted her to feel good about herself. She then proceeded to tell me that she never wore make-up before. I said, "Well let's pretend this is a special occasion." When I saw her looking at herself in the mirror, I felt like I had given her a "Cinderella Moment" and this made me feel good. I also thought to myself and wondered if she ever played "dress up?" I mean even my little girl and I have played dress up before. Interesting.
The main point is that I really felt for her and it sort of made me think a lot. At the age of seventeen to be so aware of your faults and really I thought she was cute. Maybe she is not "model material" in the way Hollywood portrays young girls, but overall she had a nice look and dressed cute too. I sort of got angry thinking about all of the young girls who think they look bad and I thought back to the old days. At one time I felt like that too, but one thing that was very different was the fact that I always knew that I was extremely photogenic. My only issue was my weight and that I often felt I was never "skinny enough." I'm still hard on myself when it comes to my weight and I do blame Barbie dolls. Infact, my daughter has never been allowed to have anything "Barbie." She never liked dolls anyway, so I just let it disappear with the rest of the toys that are not a real portrayal of women in the world.
Don't get me started on TOYS! I was always so happy that my daughter has such a love for animals. This always made it easy for me to avoid all of the media frenzy on the doll market. We have all heard about how the media destroys "self esteem" in young women. I'm even seeing it more in young boys also. I have recently spoken to two different parents dealing with their gay son's in highschool. Both boys had self esteem issues years before and both boys had thought of themselves as "unattractive" and "outcasts." If you saw both of them, you would be amazed at how good looking they are! Shocking! I'm not saying that this is why they are gay. I'm just saying that "self esteem" is a BIG issue for both sexes.
So, this is yet another reason why I'm writing about this issue. I have decided to focus on shooting photos of teens for the next month or two to give them a good start in the next chapter of their lives. I sort of call them my "Urban Teen Senior Portraits." I take them out into the "wild" and dress them up and make them feel good about themselves for a couple of hours. I think it is important for them to see themselves in a professional setting especially if they are so "focused" on images in the media. I think it is important for parents to encourage this before they venture out to college. I'm hoping I can make a difference by showing them that I care and by not making them look older then they actually are. There is a way to make them look sexy (if that is what they want) without exposing too much. Maybe by doing this I will be able to show them that "Hollywood" is not real and "anyone" can do it. Then maybe this will help them "move on."
Hub Pages Author - GPAGE
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