The word BULLY, as defined by Merriam-Webster online, is "a blustering, browbeating person; especially one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable."
What would YOU add to this definition if you could? While I am certain a plethora of terms will come to mind for you, one thing is for certain: Bullying sucks, and it needs to be stopped!
At the beginning of the Monda Goette Photography 2017 Model Team season, I held an informal get together with our team to talk about what types of sessions we wanted to do throughout their senior year as part of the program. One that was certain was an "anti-bullying" themed session.
I had it in my mind right away to have the images be black and white to be more effective - because as an artist, black and white brings a whole different element of emotion and expression. I wanted this shoot to make bold statements about how the team feels both personally and in general about bullying in today's world. I also envisioned a message of encouragement to be tied in with this photo shoot that might encourage others to see that as much as words hurt, they can also help carry us through hard times as well.
Even though our whole team was not present at this shoot, their message was heard, felt and hopefully resonated with enough people to realize they ARE worth it, and that bullying is never. I repeat. NEVER ok!
The words and phrases on the left of each model in the background are words and phrases they came up with themselves, along with a few added by me. These are things they have heard in school, names they have been called, terms used by bullies. The words and phrases are heartbreaking to see. Imagine these words being said to you on a daily basis. To torment you. To try to tear down your walls. As Lexi's message states above, Words Hurt. So much that sometimes they kill. That is sad.
I gave the girls the opportunity to share the message they wanted to share. Many of their ideas were inspired by previous online campaigns or other images they found. But the experience they created this day, and their message to be heard, is their own voice. When Jessica (above) looked at herself in the mirror with these words written on her, she felt sad seeing her reflection. This was one of our themed shoots that really made the model team think and feel differently than we have in past shoots.
On the right side of each model's image, you see words of encouragement that the team came up with on what they would tell someone who is being or has been bullied. Phrases and key words that send messages of positivity and hope to others. It serves as a kind reminder that YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU MATTER. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Even if it feels like you might be! You can see Chloe's (pictured above) Instagram image she posted along with her message to the world:
I was very proud of the girls who were able to attend this session. They were vulnerable yet aware that their voice needed to be heard. People are hurting every day because of bullying.
This shoot was to prove that bullies never get the last word! Be strong, be powerful. Be YOU!!
To see more images from this session, click on this link -it is a super cool app that will download to your phone, or will open as a new site on your desktop browser! http://app.mondagoette.com/NOHATE2017
Or you can take a peek at the video compilation from their session.
My hope is that this small preview of our anti-bullying photo session will get you thinking just how serious bullying is today, and what you can do to be a part of the solution to end it, and help build back the confidence of those who are victims of this terrible crime. (yes, I call it a crime!)
Your challenge after reading this blog - is to handwrite a small note to someone. Anyone. Someone you may or may not know. And tell them ONE GOOD THING about themselves. Or a positive message to remind them of how special and worth it they are. And promise that you will not stand for bullying ever. It's a win-win for everyone.
Cheers - Monda the Photographer
Contact me here about joining our 2018 Senior Model Team!