Girl to the 5,000th Power

by Web Intern

New York-based photographer Kate Engelbrecht is on a mission to empower teen girls through pictures. She’s heading up The Girl Project , in which she sends 13- to 17-year-old females in the United States cameras and asks them to document their lives with self-portraits and images of anything else that defines who they are. Engelbrecht has posted some of the submissions on The Girl Project Web site, but she’s also planning to curate the most compelling of those in a high-end photography book as well as a traveling exhibition, which she hopes will kick off sometime in 2010. I chatted with Engelbrecht through email, and here’s what she had to say:

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.

What is your overall vision for the project? What are your goals for it– both for yourself and for the girls involved?

In the beginning I set out to explore whether or not if what I knew, or thought I knew, was true. Today it’s less about a question; it has become my own little mini mission to help share girls perspectives of themselves.

What are some of your most favorite/interesting photographs you have received?

Hmm… that’s 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.

How many girls have participated so far?

Around 800. I hope to have 5,000 by the end.

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 are a teenage girl and want to participate in The Girl Project, you can sign up here . –Jax

Photo: Courtesy of The Girl Project

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