Real talk: one of the truest things I've ever heard said about me was by my brother. During a conversation last summer, he made a point to say that I'm not someone who is easily impressed. One of the second truest things I've heard about me was by my counselor. During one of my sessions, she pointed out how inauthenticity triggers anxiety for me. I'm not the type of person who will do something just for the sake of doing it; unless it sets my insides on fire with excitement and my heart is invested, I won't invest my time or energy. The constant pressure to produce content and create art for the sake of relevancy and exposure on social media obviously doesn't align with who I am, even though I pretended to be that person for a number of years. It wasn't until I started my journey to heal and become more self-aware that I realized I was fueling my own anxiety and depression by trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be. For a really long time, I thought that I needed to look and act a certain way to be validated, admired, and happy. Over the course of the last year, I've been unlearning who society told me to me and remembering the person inside me - the quirky girl who finds comfort in being the quiet observer, laughs at weird things, loves getting lost in her own imagination, loves fiercely and does things on her own terms. In finding myself, it's completely altered the way I approach photography. There is no method to the madness; I simply show up and trust myself to know when to click the shutter button. The images I'm sharing with the world were each captured with intention, not by luck of capturing multiple frames. For the first time, I'm proud of my work because it looks like I created it and for me that's more than enough.
Here's a glimpse of what I saw while basking in the sights and sounds that filled downtown Youngstown at Federal Frenzy. Thanks for looking :)
All photographs captured by Mollie Crowe on April 23rd 2022.