Monday, April 6, 2009
The Girl Project: Five Questions for Kate Engelbrecht
New York-based photographer Kate Engelbrecht is on a mission to empower teenage girls through pictures. She started The Girl Project, a national collection of photos taken by American girls ages 13 to 17, in 2008. Each participant gets a disposable Kodak camera to capture self portraits and anything else that matters in her life. Then she sends it back to Engelbrecht, who is including the most compelling of those on The Girl Project Web site and in an upcoming book and a traveling exhibition scheduled kick off in 2010. Some of the results are heartbreaking, some are uplifting, and others are hilarious--but all the images are surprising and touching.
I recently chatted with Engelbrecht via email:
1. How did the idea for The Girl Project come about?
I became really curious about how much I "knew" about teenage girls regardless of the fact that I didn't know any and had not been one myself for a long time.
2. What was your goal for the project?
In the beginning I set out to explore whether or not if what I knew, or thought I knew, was true. Today its less about a question; it has become my own little mini mission to help share girls' perspectives of themselves. My goal is to compile the images in a high-end photography book as well as a traveling exhibition.
3. What are some of your most favorite/interesting photographs you have received so far?
Hmm... thats difficult to answer. There are so many images. The most interesting to me (in general terms) are those that reveal something really personal... where the girl completely goes for it emotionally and puts herself out there.
4. How many girls have participated so far?
Around 800. I hope to have 5,000 by the end.
5. What is the most surprising thing you have discovered doing this project?
For certain it is how innocent these girls are. They are so much more real than the world unconsciously leads us to believe.
Note: If you're a teenage girl who wants to participate in The Girl Project, sign up here.