WEST CHESTER, Ohio (WKRC) – A photographer is trying to make an impact on the lives of young women.
Thomas Nguyen started Project Beauty. It emphasizes young women’s natural beauty.
A look into his lens is a glance into the life of fearless teenagers, Elizabeth Agricola and Sydney Dove. But the man behind the camera does a lot more than take a pretty picture.
“One of the things I do is kind of use this art of photography to give them a sense of hope that there is a different light to whatever they’re battling,” said Nguyen.
Project Beauty is not just a photoshoot. The concept sheds light on the conflicts that many young women battle.
“I have always struggled with mental health issues. Especially just my self-esteem,” said Agricola.
“I had to eat through a feeding tube until I was 5, so I grew up with scars all over my stomach. I was like the girl with scars at school,” said Dove.
Agricola and Dove are given a blank slate inside Nguyen’s studio. No makeup and no photoshop. These are the somewhat challenging rules of Project Beauty.
“Girls feel a lot more judged, especially in their personal image, how they dress, what they look like,” said Agricola.
In a society where social media is so influential the idea of maintaining a flawless image became exhausting, so the mission of this photographer is to turn the thought of imperfection into a concept of confidence.
“I didn’t know I could look like that without makeup on because I always relied on the makeup to make me be able to take pictures of myself,” said Dove.
Both are now unashamed of their raw beauty. After seeing the results…
“It was almost surprising in a way because I had never felt that way before,” said Agricola.
“I didn’t know how impactful it actually was until I saw the pictures,” said Dove.
It is their reactions that keep this photographer in love with his career.
“It’s almost like I did it. I helped them kind of break through whatever they were struggling with. I know this is not the cure for everything, but at least it’s the first step towards a good direction of what they can do to better themselves,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen raises money to donate to local charities to help those who struggle with depression, suicide, eating disorders and more. Click here to learn more.