When I was eleven I had started at a new school with high hopes, no friends… and a bully. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot that anyone loved me.
Then my older sister moved back home. She didn’t see the pimply, awkward, friendless, quiet kid I was at school. She saw me as her sister and someone she had always loved. As an outsider, her support was significant and reminded me that I wasn’t ugly or stupid or even invisible.
When my own kids entered their tween years I began making ‘I Am’ projects. I wanted to use my skills as a portrait photographer and give the big sisters (aunties, parents, teachers, coaches and friends) a chance to show each child their worth and importance.
Each project is like a mirror, showing kids who they really are. I present your child with a collection of 20 strong, beautiful portraits alongside the unexpected quotes from their favorite people. The recipient of an I Am project is witness to their own strength; every image and quote proof of who they really are.
**Books and prints are available for purchase. These things will stand as a physical reminder to their strength, resilience, value, connection and importance to the world.
Tween: an uncomfortable age between 10 and 14. Often non-verbal, aggressive and won’t believe compliments from parents.
“The I am project is one of my daughter Paige‘s most prized possessions. “-Kelly Pisciotta
Who is this for…
I originally only photographed kids 10-14 years old: tweens. Over the years I have had numerous graduates enter my studio and walk away with an I Am project to take to Uni or life away from home. I have also had numerous requests to make projects available for moms, dads and grandparents. If you would like to gift this to yourself or a friend at a time of joy, transition or difficulty (midlife, divorce, cancer diagnosis, etc), please contact me. I Am projects are for anyone who could use a reminder of who they are and how many have been lifted by their presence.
“It‘s embarrassing, but it would save me some days to have a book of flattering pics of myself, looking strong or beautiful or interesting, with some quotes from other people to bolster me.”-Andi Howell
My kid really needs this but…
Many of the kids I photograph need a boost that an I Am project can give. But let’s be real here, most people aren’t very excited to be photographed. And if a teenager hears that people are writing things about them… no way! No one wants to ask people to praise them and often it feels like asking if an I Am project is accepted. Some kids love the attention and the opportunity to be a model for the afternoon. But, like most of us, being in front of the camera and having people tell us how awesome we are is sometimes difficult. Especially for our struggling kids. To get my own kids to participate I asked them to do it for me, for my Mother’s Day gift.
“Getting Sebastian to you was tricky. He hates his photo taken.-Kerrie Maloney
I told him it was for me and used that emotional pull to get him there.
I knew when he got there that you would be awesome with him AND you were….
You were just so inviting and made Sebastian feel comfortable.
I can‘t think of anyone else who could have gotten him
to agree to photos, let alone to different poses
and even a smile.”