Here’s a nice flickr photo gallery of an artistically inclined teenage girl. (View the photos as a slideshow). Of course, the fact she is cute adds to the appeal, but these are also great shots. Oops, she is 16 years old! Well, never mind that.
Here’s another photogallery from a Polish photographer I admire (more age-appropriate!). She is also stunning to look at as well. (I have another dozen female photographers I could link to; their works are all dazzling to behold).
Over the past decade I’ve admired self-portraits by many female photographers. They are clever/artsy/flirtatious/pretentious/fun and genuinely beautiful. Yet, I have to admit that much of their appeal derives from the privileged position young women have in making things beautiful. In this respect, photography has become a means of empowerment. Yes, the woman seems to be saying, I know I am photogenic, but I also want you to admire my mastery of technique and color. I want you to respect me as an artist. And really, i do.
One of my earliest Internet experiences was following the Internet diary of a very young artistically-inclined girl. She was 14 and doing all sorts of cool things—really I never knew that girls that age were into that stuff. Actually I never really knew girls that age—even when I was that age! I attended an all boys high school, and even though I dated a lovely girl named Susan, she seemed more intellectual than artsy-fartsy. I’m exaggerating the deprivation a bit, but understanding high school girls seems like totally unfamiliar territory for me (that may explain my penchant for Hollywood comedies starring high school girls; see Clueless, Bring It On, Election, etc). To digress a bit, there was one girl I knew vaguely during that time who was cute and intelligent and remarkably talented in all sorts of ways. I was in total awe of her at the time (and alas, I wasn’t the only one). I’ve googled this person’s name, and she has had an interesting and successful career. I’m sure she is still a fascinating woman. Let’s leave aside for a moment the sex/dating angle; I still remain curious about the things gifted high school girls do. As a high school boy, I was reading, writing and leading D&D campaigns, dabbling in computers and publishing and acting. Those were the kinds of things geeks did. But after perusing people’s photo galleries and blogs, I see now that high school females were really into stuff not even on my radar: arts and crafts and fashion (not to mention poetry and acting and singing). Back in high school, you’re clueless and inclined to pursue all sorts of crazy things because you think it’s important. My sister for instance was into drill team, fanatically so. I just didn’t understand it, but it was her world. There’s a scene in Bring It On where the cheerleader’s parents tell her that in college she’ll have to develop more conventional interests; she smirked at them and muttered something about cheerleading being her life. In high school it’s easy to stumble upon a project no one has ever tried before or a totally new means of creative expression. In high school you really haven’t a clue what’s important; by the time you get to college, you begin to think you know what’s important (but in fact, you’re totally wrong, as you’ll find out after landing your first job). When you are a high school student you recognize that your parents are limiting you, your school is limiting you and your friends are limiting you; why not try something radically new. Yes, maybe someone at the next high school is trying the exact same thing—but who cares about that.
That is one benefit from the Internet: helping you to see the interests/obsessions/hobbies/concerns of demographics you would normally not come in contact with. I’m sure I could probably google “Morocco blog” and learn a ton of first-hand information about daily Morocco life (And here’s a tip: go to PeaceCorpsJournals and find a random country—then start reading! Whether this new perspective will benefit you is another story. For a while I was following this great blog by a gay American living in Sweden. Am I gay? No. Do I wish to live in Sweden or do I even have any curiosity about it? Not really. But I am fascinating by the ordinary details of these people’s lives.
Alas, my 14 young Internet muse is now 23, married and (I learned 5 minutes ago) pregnant. And I am feeling older…and wiser.