TEEN PORTRAITS - Self Esteem

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."


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Hub Pages Author - GPAGE

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Comments 19 comments

viryabo profile image

viryabo 6 years ago

When i was at that age, i had a bit of self esteem problems, no thanks to my mum. If i had someone around to help build some confidence in myself, i might have ended up feeling better about myself.

Luckily, my boyfriend then, (husband now!) took care of that, making me see myself in a different light and in the process building up my esteem.

This is a wonderful thing you are doing for these young teens G.

GodBless you.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

This is so true..

I did not have to go through that as I grew up in the Philippines where we value intelligence more than beauty but I would imagine in this culture it is very tough.

My son was brought up to "look into the hearts of men" so he does not buy into the physical looks per se. I am proud of that.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

virabo! Lovely to see you! I think we all needed a little extra nurturing at one point of our lives....but now I nurture myself by helping others....it is nice to have someone that loves you...this also helps us grow as women....it is funny when you mentioned the word "mum." I remember when I was living in the UK and my son started to call me "mum" after about 8 months living there...it was lovely, but I felt a bit sad because it was the last "American" word that my kids stopped saying ("mom") after all of that time...then they had the British accents 2! I looked around my house and felt so like the "odd one out" for a while.....it was so strange since hubby and family are British....I felt so alone! Ofcourse I got over it! I always do.....ha

Anyway, I always enjoy your comments! G


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

msorensson....thank you for stopping in and leaving your comment! I love the line you said: "look into the hearts of men." Lovely.......I do wish American culture would value women for their minds......G


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Nice hub G, I loved gettin moi pic takin in my teens and as ya see I still strike a pose lol. I was lookin at yer website and I like it but for one things, the colours deff cut the eyes of ya, you should try switching them about, I blog as well so I have experienced the same things, take a lil peek at moi website http://www.greattattoos.net/


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

Hey Art! Thanx for the love...I'm not sure which site you are talking about? BUT

I'm currently taking my main one down soon for some changes.......

I joined as a follower for your blog......can you join mine?

www.planettreat.com

Would love to see your cute face everywhere! ; hope you are having a wonderful and lovely day! G


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Anything for you hotstuff, on moi way to join it now ; ) x

There ya go, am now a follower ; )


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

This is a good hub and I am glad you are taking pictures of the teenagers. It is difficult at that age and I think probably harder now than when I grew up as the world is quite a different place. Thumbs up!


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Pamela.......it has been nice to hang with teenagers lately.....VERY interesting and entertaining! Thanks for stopping in......Best, G


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Self esteem is so hard for kids - especially for girls. Does anyone ever think they're attractive enough?


HappyHer profile image

HappyHer 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

What an awesome project, and you are right on the money. With two very young adults and two teens, I know first hand the challenges these kids face to fit into some idealized version of "attractive". I struggled with that myself and really don't feel I came into my own until my later thirties. I certainly don't want my daughter to have to wait that long. Thanks for an inspiring hub.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

habee, you are right my dear. I'm not sure anyone is entirely happy with themselves.....but atleast it makes me feel good to make a teen feel a bit better about themselves! Worth it to make a difference! G


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

Happyher.....Wow! You do have your hands full! I could not imagine teens in my home! I keep giving my children "stay small pills." ha They just don't seem to be working! I too came into my own well into my 30's. Silly really, all the attention on little unimportant stuff. What a complete waste of time....I could have been saving the world! ha

Nice to see you here! G


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I enjoyed for fine Hub, my dear. Your photos are great and the writing crisp, as always.

When I was a teenager I was terribly insecure about my looks and had a serious problem with a lack of self-esteem.

I'm kidding, of course. :D


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

JAMES! SO NICE TO SEE U! Thank you so much for the lovely words....You made me giggle ; very funny you are! I bet you had all the girls swooning even then ; running after you! G


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I ran real slow


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California Author

JAMES! U r 2 funny ; G


tomy101 profile image

tomy101 5 years ago from Midland, Texas

Very good article, and the photographs stunning, Your one piece of the world we need more of.Love what you do.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 5 years ago from California Author

tomy...thanx for being here and leaving such a lovely comment!!! Best, GPAGE

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