"Strong Is the New Pretty" by Kate T. Parker / Workman
Capturing confidence on camera
As a parent, I hope my children experience the joy of being immersed in an activity they love. As the mother of two daughters, I want my girls to dismiss our culture’s focus on being pretty rather than passionate. Speaking directly to these twin goals is Kate T. Parker’s new book Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves.
The book is a response to the popular response Parker, a professional photographer, first got in 2015. As her website featuring the photos got attention from the likes of Today, Yahoo! Parenting and The Huffington Post, Parker began getting emails asking “Where can I buy this book?”
“But there wasn’t [a book],” she says. “It got me thinking about what a great idea that was.”
She didn’t have to ponder long. Workman Publishing in New York City contacted Parker within days of her story going viral. “It was literally a crazy, whirlwind dream come true,” she says.
Parker lives in Atlanta and is a married mother to two daughters. She’s also a former collegiate soccer player and Ironman athlete who shot thousands of images around North America for Strong Is the New Pretty. She estimates 10,000 photographs didn’t make the final cut.
In making her selections — more than 175, all told — Parker wanted photos that showed the diversity, power, strength, emotion, ferocity and awesomeness of the girls she photographed.
“As the project grew, I learned that strength doesn’t always come in one package, and it doesn’t always manifest itself the way it does in my girls,” she says. “Strength isn’t always loud and feisty. Strength can be in the face of a musician creating music because it is inside of her. Strength can be changing tables in the lunchroom because your ‘friends’ weren’t actually your friends. Strength can be meeting a cancer diagnosis with unrelenting positivity."
These girls, she says, are the faces of a generation who don’t need someone to tell them it’s what’s on the inside that counts — they already know. Read on for Parker’s behind-the-scenes take on photos from Strong Is the New Pretty.