There's no doubt about it, being a young girl is tough.
One minute, you're content playing with dolls, the next you're worrying your thighs are too big or your hair is messy.
Through her new photo series 'Being Inbetween' photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn explores the complex and confusing time when girls are around the ages of 10 and 12.
"The aim is to give girls of this age a platform, to empower them and create a beautiful portrait of them as they really are," Mendelsohn tells The Huffington Post UK.
"They are so many things; strong, characterful, wise, fearful, fearless, funny, and unique, but often people underestimate them and don’t listen to them. Often all these interesting individuals are defined as ‘tweens’ - a group."
Mendelsohn's series is also an antidote to the body image pressure girls tend to pick up on at this age.
"Girls of this age are often bombarded with advertising and marketing aimed at tweens – I have a daughter of this age, and see it all the time," she says.
"I I feel it is important that this doesn’t define who they are. I wanted to explore this by taking beautiful real portraits of these girls. Honest ones, where they are given the chance to be themselves and celebrating who they are at this point in their lives."
Mendelsohn came up with the concept of 'Being Inbetween' after contemplating strong memories she has of her own "tween" years.
"The things people said to me at that point really stuck in my head," she says.
"One memory is particularly vivid: me aged twelve on a balmy summers day. I spent the most part of the morning in my room plucking up the courage to go downstairs in a pair of shorts. I was only a small thing at that time, but incredibly self-conscious.
"I remember walking slowly down the stairs to be met by a laughing parental comment: 'Oh my goodness! Your legs look so chubby.'
"I ran upstairs mortified; feeling exposed, and I didn’t show my legs for years, until a friend commented on her confusion about my attitude to my 'chunky legs'."
After writing a blog about the "inbetween age", Mendelsohn put a call out on social media using her website, Twitter and Facebook looking for girls to participate.
"I stuck posters up, and I was invited to talk about my work on radio and also at public talks. I have children of a similar age which helps," she says.
"The most important thing was that (and still is because the work is ongoing) the girls involved understand what the series is about, and want to be part of it."
Mendelsohn invited the girls to come for the photographs and interviews in clothes of their own choice.
This ranged from jeans and t-shirts to a onesie and a full on costume.
"It is important to me that the girls feel comfortable and wear something that represents who they are. So it is always interesting seeing what they have chosen to wear," she says.
"The answers they have given me to the questions I asked them, were really insightful; sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, often profound."
Check out some of the stunning images below or visit Carolyn Mendelsohn's website to see more of her work.
Carolyn Mendelsohn's next exhibition will be on the 28th - 30th May at Gallery 2, Saltsmill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire.
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