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girl fishing in a t-shirt that reads fish like a girl

Fish Like a Girl (Archival Pigment Print 2015, 12" x 12")

Girl jumping in a mister on a hot day

She Found a Mister (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 12" x 15")

girl holding a dandelion in a bike helmet

Her Beautiful Weed (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 12" x 15")

girl wearing leotard riding bike holding football

Jack of All Trades (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 14" x 10")

girl wearing jeans and high heels

Ready for the Ball (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 14" x 10")

girl measuring herself at carnival ride

By the Heel of Her Boot (Archival Pigment Print 2016,16" x 10")

girl walking to playground in the woods

To the Playground (Archival Pigment Print 2014, 15" x 10")

girl swinging on stomach at playground

That's How She Swings (Archival Pigment Print 2013, 15" x 10")

girl waiting to play lacrosse with her dad

Waiting for Her Turn (Archival Pigment Print 2014, 15" x 10")

Bicycle Battle Scars (Archival Pigment Print, 2017, 12" x 12")

muddy boots in dirt

Muddy Boots (Archival Pigment Print 2014, 15" x 10")

Girl holding pull up at Army recruiting booth

Army Strong (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 14" x 10")

Girl eating gelato in Positano Italy

A Moment on the Lips (Archival Pigment Print 2015, 12" x 15")

Girl playing with doll and her bow and arrow

Bow and Doll (Archival Pigment Print 2017, 14" x 10")

girl picking large pumpkin in field

This One Looks Good (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 15" x 10")

Girl on beach lost in her world

Lost in Her World (Archival Pigment Print 2014, 16" x 10")

girl in leotard with American flag

Olympic Dreams (Archival Pigment Print 2016, 12" x 12")

girl spinning with large tree in background

Objects in Motion (Archival Pigment Print 2017, 12" x 10")

In Like a Girl, I’m photographing my daughter’s childhood journey, examining her strength and spirit in that period before she internalizes the gender norms imposed by privileged white suburban America. I am telling her story in an editorial way—these moments are real—but my perspective is an integral part of the project. Through her, I recall a faded memory of me: the person I was before I worried about what a good girl should do, what society expected of me; the person who put her own worms on a hook and climbed as high as she could. I started shooting Like a Girl when she was two years old, and I intend to shoot it for many years.

I am a black and white photographer, and I shoot in the mid-century style of straight photography. Black and white removes the distractions of an image and strips away any gender connotations of color, but it also is unforgiving: without the seduction and emotional impact of colors, I’m only left with the image’s composition and luminosity. The image’s success depends on range of tones—the interplay of black, white, and (most importantly) gray within the frame—and the use of form, lines, and subject placement. Through this use of monochrome, the inclusion of meaningful secondary elements, and thoughtful consideration of crop and frame dimensions, I create images emphasizing the conflict and ambiguity about my daughter’s passage through girlhood, as well as the pride I feel in watching her grow.

(c) Natalie Fay Green 2017