Last year, we fell in love with Kate T. Parker’s beautiful photos of her two daughters Ella and Alice because they reminded us of Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the idyllic American life. What we didn’t know back then was that those photos were part of an ongoing quest to capture girls in a different light, where negative stereotypes were shattered and where girls were encouraged to feel good about themselves. “I was shooting a 365 project, shooting an image every day, and I noticed that the images that stood out the most among the thousands were the ones that featured them in everyday situations looking fierce and strong and imperfect and messy,” she told My Modern Met. “There was such beauty and strength in those particular images and they stood out to me.”
When asked what kind of messages she hopes to convey, she said, “I think it is incredibly important to let our daughters and other women know that beauty isn’t just pretty poses or looking perfect, but that beauty can be found in embracing life and celebrating the bumps, the bruises, the imperfections, the strength. We get all these messages from the media of what we need to be to be beautiful, I wanted to show my girls, and others, that being your true self is the most beautiful.”
Now 6 and 9, Parker’s daughters are seen playing with their friends and participating in sports like swimming and basketball. There’s a toughness in their poses, these girls exude an inner strength that could only come from within. Of course, it helps that Parker herself is a former collegiate athlete and that she sees the value in physical activities like sports.
Strong is the New Pretty has now been shared around on the web on such huge sites as Huffington Post, Today.com, and Mashable. The Atlanta-based photographer has even been called out by some famous female celebrities. “I’ve been completely humbled and entirely grateful for all the attention surrounding this work and how it has been embraced,” she told us. “It’s particularly emotional for me to see other moms around the world posting their own shots of their daughters with the hashtag #strongisthenewpretty. A terrific outcome of all this attention has been from several actresses I love, Emma Watson, Zoey Deschanel and Melissa Joan Hart, have reached out via social media to express their support.”