Asia Croson Khallaghi owns a photography business in downtown San Luis Obispo, but her nonprofit organization Girls Who Handle It aims to show what can’t be captured by the camera.
Girls Who Handle it encourages its subjects — young women in San Luis Obispo — to share stories of the struggles that they may not share on social media.
The organization aims to challenge the standard of perfection on social media, displaying the photos and stories at the annual Girls Who Handle It exhibition.
“We like to say Instagram is a window into someone’s life, but then you read these stories and you realize that it’s actually like the teeny-tiny crack in the back door,” Vice President of Girls Who Handle It Julia Freet said.
The exhibit juxtaposes black-and-white images of women and their stories with their respective Instagram feeds, illustrating the differences between social media and real life.
In her photos, Croson Khallaghi aims to convey both the similarities and differences between the women she interviews.
“We really wanted it to be something that felt really uniting,” she said. “Every girl just has her hair up in a top bun, so everyone looks really similar, but at the same time you can really see the differences between all the women.”
The latest installment of the Girls Who Handle It exhibition took place on October 29 at Croson Khallaghi’s studio downtown, with Safer, Cal Poly’s sexual violence prevention resource, tabling at the event.
Visitors of the exhibition took the opportunity to look beyond the facade of social media.
“It’s just really supportive to have that community and be able to have these conversations together,” Sociology junior Claire McCord said of the event. “Just really overall warm and uplifting spaces is really crucial to have.”
Croson Khallaghi is known locally for her photography of Cal Poly seniors, sorority headshots and other events. Girls Who Handle It aims to bring awareness to the unseen struggles women face behind the camera including eating disorders, mental illness and more.