Photographer offers preteens free sessions to up self esteem

London photographer Kamini Le Capelain, who was bullied as a preteen, hopes to help kids gain confidence by highlighting their unique attributes.

Kamini Le Capelain's be.Tween Project features kids between the ages of 9 and 12

London Photograher Kamini Le Capelain hopes to feature 100 kids this year as part of her be.Tween Project. (Kamini Le Capelain )

Life got more difficult for Kamini Le Capelain when she turned 11, a time in her life that was so memorable it has shaped the London photographer's latest project.

"Puberty started, I put on a little bit of weight, my whole life changed. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin and I think the other kids could sense that, so there was a lot of bullying," said Le Capelain.

London Photographer Kamini Le Capelain (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC News)

"It shaped a lot of who I am today. I wanted to hide. I didn't want people to see me. I wanted to blend in and fit in and I spent a lot of time worrying about that." 

"It's kind of an awkward age for a lot of kids."

Last year, Le Capelain launched the be.Tween Project, to celebrate kids between the ages of 9 and 12.

"It's kind of an awkward age for a lot of kids."

Le Capelain spends 45 minutes photographing each child, and also secretly collects quotes from the child's parents, friends or teachers.

"What makes that child unique, why they're special, why they should never change and what people want to see for their future," she said.

Kamini Le Capelain collects quotes from each child's friends and family. (Kamini Le Capelain)

The result is a slide show, featuring the child's portraits, superimposed with quotes, and set to music. The session is free and each child is given a 100 dollar voucher for a portrait.

Le Caplain hopes her portrait sessions will help kids gain self esteem. "I think kids have it even tougher now. There's the constant pressure, they never get away from it. Social media keeps them plugged in and tuned in to what their peers are talking about and saying about them at all times."

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