Photographer Kate T. Parker has created a refreshing series of photographs of her young daughters that celebrate the girls’ strength and confidence. Aptly entitled “Strong is the New Pretty,” Parker’s series shirks beauty ideals, instead portraying her girls as active and impressive young women. The black and white images beckon viewers to place personal value on strength and determination, rather than superficial norms that society attempts to assign.
Parker’s two daughters, Ella, age 9 and Alice, age 6, are documented throughout their active daily lives. Rather than imagery of primping and polishing, these girls are captured in their extremely robust lifestyles. The girls play basketball, swim, ride skateboards and play soccer with guts and determination in solidarity with friends and teammates. Parker told Today, “I suddenly realized, wow, all of my strongest images are of my girls just being themselves — their freckled, emotional, sometimes dirty, messy selves.”
Instead of the stereotype of playing dress up or princess, the girls are shown as confident, happy and strong. These images are also gorgeous in their own right, with each girl looking as beautiful as she does athletic — and cast as role models for other girls.
But “Strong is the New Pretty” is not trying to be innovative, the images are meant to instead be authentic. Parker started the series to celebrate the awesomeness of her daughters, to offer an alternative image for other children to look up to as “normal.”
Parker also urges parents to celebrate their children’s uniqueness, whether they are overtly feminine or rough and tumble sports players — as her aim is to promote confidence in young girls.