We Are Not What We Were Called

Bullies Called Him Pork Chop… he took that pain and created art.

From creator Shane Koyczan…

This animated piece is the result of a group of individuals coming together and binding their talents in an expression of solidarity and compassion. My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways.

I wrote “To This Day”, a spoken word poem, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual. Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.

There is so much we can do. So much that needs to change.

Start today.

  1. Watch the video.
  2. Share the message.
  3. Teach your kids.
  4. Heal yourself.

Marc Jacobs Crosses the Line in Sexualizing Young Girls

“This isn’t edgy. It’s inappropriate, and creepy, and I never want to see a nine-year-old girl in high-heeled leopard print bedroom slippers ever again.” – Chloe Angyal

Controversy will always be with us. Companies pushing the edge won’t go away. Companies running full-speed over the edge on purpose will always exist.

Why bother being an opposing voice?

Why take the time to address the issues if they won’t disappear anyway?

Because it matters…

  • to the one teen girl who sees a company, a movement, a message that says something different…
  • to the young girl who believes for a moment that her voice has power…
  • to the photographer who realizes the power in her camera and relationships…
  • to mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers everywhere… it matters.

We recently were directed to an article about a 10 year old Parisian girl’s images wearing a red dress and stilettos lying on a tiger skin rug stirring up conversation and concern.

“[The photos] clearly create an image of the girl as an adult woman, both in the clothing, the postures and emotional content of the images,” said Miller. “The message is that very young girls can be dressed and viewed as young adult women.”

Marc Jacobs Leads the Pack

This comes on the heels of ad campaigns with Dakota and Elle Fanning in the notorious Marc Jacobs ads. Marc Jacobs continually crosses the line with the over-sexualization of girls and women in his images and ads… depicting them as weak, vulnerable, and sexualized.

Sexualized images can have lasting effects on the young girls who see them. An APA taskforce found that sexualization by the media affects how girls think about femininity and sexuality, promoting… It’s also linked to low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression.

Did you read that? Read it again… please. We have an epidemic of low self esteem, eating disorders and depression in our young girls. We know there is a link between media sexualization and these outcomes. But what are WE doing to stop it, prevent it, fight against it?

What Can YOU Do?

Do something. Every conversation, blog post, article makes a difference.

Our daughter just wrote an article entitled “When Good Men Do Nothing” that reinforces the point that doing something matters for you and for everyone else.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke


  1. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or have a blog, write something. Share your heart.
  2. Share this article (or any article on the topic) to get people talking.
  3. Learn more by reading about the impact of sexualized media on girls.
  4. Talk with your daughter, niece, cousin, or any young girl in your life about how they view media. Help them see their worth beyond their body image.
  5. Consider not purchasing from companies that sexualize girls and women (boys too!).
  6. If you’re a photographer, use your images for good, for empowerment, for change.

What else would you add to this list?
What companies do you think are the worst offenders?

Share it in the comments and I’ll add to the list!

Want to do more?

Through Teen Identity, we are launching an empowering program for teen girls and bringing it to cities across the nation. If you’d like to learn more, get involved, or bring it to your city, you can sign up for our mailing list today.

Miss Photogenic Pageant Portrait Shoot: Madeline

Pageant season is here. Middle school and high school girls are in the throes of selecting dresses, practicing speeches, primping hair and perfecting posing.

In the middle of all that, each girl must make time to get her Miss Photogenic pageant portraits updated too! As quickly as girls grow and change during the middle school and high school years, it’s critical to have an updated and current photo to enter in the competition.

Madeline, one of our Teen Identity team members decided she wanted to get more involved in the pageant world this year. So we set up her photo shoot and decided to get a great variety of images for her model portfolio.

Madeline and her mom came into the studio to select their final images and by far, it’s the most challenging part of the process. Narrowing down to the favorite images, getting a good variety of outfits, posing, and even expression!

The black and white images are actually from our recent styled team photo shoots!

We’re so proud of Madeline’s most recent pageant win… she was crowned Miss Gwinnett Middle School queen. Way to go Madeline!

Our advice… say true to you. Remember where your true beauty comes from and you’ll be just fine!

Teen Identity Photo Feature: My Friends Are Weird

Powerful. Authentic. Honest.

Paige, one of our Teen Identity team members, shares her ideas about an ideal world for teen girls, her values, her memories and how she chooses friends… the results may surprise you… inspire you.

More images and stories coming over the next few weeks from our latest Teen Identity team photo shoot… where we empower and inspire girls to unleash their true beauty, find their voice, and change their world… forever.


What My Ideal World Looks Like

I definitely think girls deserve a lot more respect. Girls are just treated as objects. I can’t stand how in today’s society girls are judged solely on appearance. It’s about how fashionable their clothes are, how big their boobs are, how skinny they are, or how much makeup they can apply.

I almost wish make up was never invented and there weren’t nearly as many styles of clothes as they are today.

I wish girls would be “judged” based off of their personality…
and the things that they have total control over.

Who cares what we look like? We didn’t choose our appearance or what clothes/make up we can afford, but we do choose how we treat others and how we respond to things.

How I Choose My Friends

In high school I would say most teens pick their friends based on almost only good looks and popularity. I think I’m like the complete opposite… For some reason I’m always drawn to the kids in class that don’t have a lot of friends and don’t have the nicest outfits on.

People always say my friends are “weird.”
And I totally agree.

But I like people who are different and don’t get all caught up in high school. I like when they are not afraid to be their own person and don’t care what others think. I like girls that aren’t judgmental and aren’t constantly worrying about what they’re wearing or what others think about how they act. I think those are the people that get the most out of life. I can honestly have fun with them and not worry about getting embarrassed in front of them.

My Photo Shoot Prep

I spent a while getting all “glamoured up” for the photo shoot. I hardly ever dress up or do my hair anymore so it’s nice to sometimes spend a little time getting dressed up. I had my mom curl my hair right before we left and I put on my make up. I didn’t really practice posing, but I knew I wanted lots of pictures with big smiles!

Pictures of people smiling and laughing are my favorite.

What I Value

I value God most. I’ve figured out that this whole world is about Him, and He is the only reason we are here. I think people get so caught up in this world that we are missing what life we really is… We are each here for a purpose and that purpose can be found through God.

I can’t wait to get out of school and live my purpose.

My Favorite Photo Shoot Memories

I loved getting to help out with timing and holding the fan lol 🙂 I like helping with behind the scenes stuff. But I really liked getting individual pictures of just me. I felt awesome being all dressed up and knowing you can take awesome pictures! I also liked getting to talk with the girls upstairs. It was nice getting to know more about them and just spending time hanging out together! They’re all so nice!

Quick and Easy Card Making Project Video on Real Women Scrap TV

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Today Was a Sweet Day! (D160)

Woke up this morning to beautiful blue skies, so refreshing considering the grey skies the last few days. Perhaps that was my first sign that today was going to be a sweet day!


Today we met some amazing young ladies who believe in the vision to change the way teen girls see themselves and are represented in the media. Teen Identity is ON!

P.S. Way to go Saints!

Manual: Page 96—Metering.

Images: Looked at more images in Camera Creative by Chris Gatcum. I’m loving this book. It’s what gave me the idea to shoot these images today!

Fashion Magazine Pop Photography (D146)

That’s my style… or so I’ve been told. I think it has a nice ring to it and describes one style of photography that I like to do, especially with the teen girls I photograph. I’m not sure it’s even a defined style, but if you were to try to find it, you’d see it in the teen fashion magazines like Seventeen. One main difference is the way I shoot the girls… less revealing and sexy, more fun and full of personality. Primarily shot in studio with white backgrounds and studio lights, bright colors, and clean lines.


For today, I’ll take that style and see how it fits. I’m sure it will continue to evolve and change. But even as I shot these bright fun studio shots today, I recognize that shooting in this fashion forward studio pop style is fun and I can’t complain about that.


So what’s your style? Do you see it evolving and taking shape in the images you capture each day?

Manual: Page 24—Basic Playback.

Images: AfterCapture Magazine images from June/July 2009.

How to Get Killer Street Shot Photographs (D137)

Everyone wants to take killer street shots. Grabbing images on the fly. Capturing people you don’t know going about their day. Freezing moments in everyday life. Photojournalistic. Creative. Fun.

The video below is sure to give you some tips and ideas. It certainly inspired me and I only discovered the photographer, Joe Wigfall, this week through my husband since Joe is a future guest on F-Stop Beyond. Can’t wait to hear the interview.

In the meantime, check out his video and just below the video you can see my shots inspired by this idea (all my shots were taken without looking through the viewfinder – mostly at hip or waist level). They may not be “street” shots, but late on a Friday night, “mall” shots were the closest I could get. Some are pretty funny: guy caught yawning, typical teen girls, young couple in love, cop on cell, polka dot pajama pants, and lots of laughter. Something for everyone! You can see the full images by clicking on each one.

Manual: Setting autofocus.

Images: Had an amazing phone call with the breakout success duo, Scott and Adina Hayne today so I spent a lot of time looking at their images on their site and blog. Scott even has a No Rules Workshop and killer sets of textures for images and presets for Lightroom.

Fool-Proof Strategies for Creating Stellar Images (D127)

Here’s the strategy…it’s quite simple really. Anyone can do it if they want to. Yes, even you.

Just get together 15 of the most gorgeous teens across the country, have a stylist put together their outfits from head to toe. Then, hire professional makeup artists and hairdressers to take care of their “look” and make sure it matches the stylists’ outfits. Make sure you are in a idyllic location, beach at sunset, vintage garage with classic Rolls Royce, cute puppy, or classic centuries old hotel. Finally, get the best photographers from across the country to lead the way.

That’s it. It’s a surefire strategy. And do you know that people do this all the time?!? There are workshops, photowalks, events, conferences, etc. where you can be part of one of these shooting events to help you take better images than you may have ever taken in your life. And it’s fun!

I’m exaggerating a bit for comedic effect (not sure it’s working). But, today I did get to go on a shoot with a couple amazing photographers and watch what they did, as well as do a few of my own things. It was a blast! I can’t even come close to posting all my images so I’ll just give you a sneak peek and post more of them later. All of these were created at the SPA conference for senior portrait photographers in Coronado, California.

Manual—Page 5.

Images—Looked at images entered in the print competition at SPA. Amazing work happening all over the place!

Twitter Tuesday—What a great group we’ve got today! Welcome to all the new year newbies! So glad to have you on the tasra365 journey! Make sure to stop by and encourage one another as we head into week 2 of 2010.

@kvoth Updated my blog post: D126: Dreams #tasra365 http://bit.ly/7UiMC2
@jamesberghout Day 84 – The Path That Leads To Home – http://bit.ly/4PakpS
@KKVille: Day 106 Photo. http://kkjphotography.com/
@Brian_e_Palmer: Day 115 of 365 project, Silent Swings. http://bit.ly/6vsTT3
: Today’s Photo Cathedral of Christ the Light http://bit.ly/4H1RsR

: Day 88: Dog Tracking, part of the 365 Challenge, is up http://bit.ly/4FOvQp
@dijea Day 75: Love Kills Slowly http://bit.ly/6PhZvQ
Day 5: Las Palmas Mexican food with family is food for my soul! http://bit.ly/6UJWMn
@mytwoseasons Day 5 of Project 365. Diamond Plate. http://bit.ly/8xbORP
Day 116. http://bit.ly/6MqUSn

Day 81 of my #project365 is up: Four aces. http://bit.ly/7oT57d
@howlingwolves Day 75:- The Dr. Is in http://j.mp/40zTaj
@AlisaWhitley Day 5 photo posted….getting ready for snow! http://bit.ly/5cSQcW
@kc9cgj Monday’s Project 365 post: Day 121 “Sharpen your blades!” http://blog.mhartman-wx.com/index.php?showimage=312
Day 5 photo posted….getting ready for snow! http://bit.ly/5cSQcW
@_iDavid Day 119 – Yipeee! #uksnow is coming http://bit.ly/5TXKrN
: Monday’s Project 365 post: Day 121 “Sharpen your blades!” http://blog.mhartman-wx.com/index.php?showimage=312

The Last Day of My Life & My Story Book Giveaway

I’ve got two great books to review and giveaway. Both are stories of courage and hope in the face of trials.


Keep reading to find out how to win a copy of each book to inspire and encourage you!

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