07/24/2014 03:57 pm ET

Teens Reinvent The Selfie, Prove Our True Selves Are The Most Beautiful Of All

A group of girls in Australia were recently given a challenge: Think of how you want to portray your true self to world, they were told, and then create self-portraits capturing that idea.

The challenge was part of a youth program called "This Is Me: Self Identity Project," in which the girls -- who are between the ages of 12 and 15 -- were encouraged to get in touch with their inner selves and challenge conventional notions of beauty by coming up with an alternative take on the conventional "selfie."

Instead of adopting a more typical "selfie" pose or look, the girls used props, costumes, makeup or photoshop to create stunning images that emphasized weirdness, darkness, seriousness and silliness, qualities not typically celebrated in media.

"We wanted to show that representing your true self is beautiful, not trying to emulate what is seen as conventionally beautiful," program coordinator Fiona Whitton said of the project, per local outlet The Newcastle Herald.

Body image is something many Australian teens seem to struggle with, Whitton added; and the point of the "This Is Me" course, which Whitton and photo-media artist Simone Darcy led, was to provide young women with a safe space to learn and talk about building self-confidence and combating unrealistic standards of beauty, while also using tools like photography to learn to better self-expression.

"Sometimes its easier when you’re doing or being creative to think about how you fit into the world," Whitton told The Herald.

Scroll down to see some of the wonderful, weird and whimsical self-portraits from the "This Is Me: Self Identity Project." The full series will be on display at Australia's Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery from July 26 to Aug. 3, 2014.

Teens Take "True Selves" Selfies