Over the years we have worked hard to inspire diversity in the 'media' we create. Believing firmly that representation is important, that beauty is more than skin deep and that we need to create images that reflect those values back to our children. We have loved meeting families from all walks of life and have loved hearing the stories about the amazing and admirable things their children are accomplishing. But at the same time our hearts have been broken by the knowledge that these same kids don't always see themselves the way their parents do. So we were inspired to create a session that included images of a different kind of before and after. It was an experiment, but we wanted to know if we could show a group of kids in a tangible way just how awesome their hearts are, would that be reflected in a way we could see?
We asked parents to submit their kids to our project keeping them in the dark about what we had in mind to ensure that reactions were genuine. A simple submission form requested that parents tell us what they admire about their child. We picked 10 kids, 5 boys and 5 girls for this project. The set up was simple, white outfits on a white background to ensure that nothing distracted from us capturing the emotions of the day. On the session day we asked parents to read what they had written and then select 2 descriptive words to write on the arms of their son or daughter so we could capture a bit of what was said.
Every child was different in their reactions while their parents read to them, but what was incredible to witness was the way the kids excitedly shared the words their parents had chosen. We asked the kids to pick the word they liked the most and show it to us in the group pictures. The kids quickly took ownership of the words, proudly showing me and the other kids and explaining what the word meant. The ease and speed with which they opened up to each other and let their true selves shine through was phenomenal. After this project, We will forever think twice about the words we us to paint the ones love.
To all our lovely families. Thanks for trusting us on this adventure!
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