BBG Diaries: American Spirit

6 March 2019

Photographer and Words Mitch Zachary

This month has been an interesting one, as we spent March exploring the 'American Spirit'. To further delve into this theme, we invited BBG Diaries photographer Mitch Zachary as a guest editor for our online March editions to help us fully explore what it's like growing up in American today. What you see are stories of a generation that is ready for change and working to redefine the current youth landscape. The 'American Spirit' is about diversity, acceptance, and individuality. In this series, Mitch shares his own visual diary celebrating the American LGBTQ spirit.

In his own words:

"I spent the past year working on rediscovering my history by hearing stories from my family and reliving my own truths through hearing other people’s stories - in the hopes to find healing. My youth was chaos and uncertainty whilst having to fulfill a lot of expectations. This catapulted me into adulthood before I was prepared. This self-care quest inadvertently informed my body of work and fed my curiosity to find out more about other young men who are in search of their own utopia.

I photographed boys from anywhere between Massachusetts, Miami, and my peers in NYC. In the process, I've had a lot of conversations about growing up and the absurdity that often comes along; about living truthfully in new environments, not fitting in, heartbreak and love, family and rejection, growing up in a house full of girls, and about death, fear, and uncertainty. These themes resonated with me because they are part of my own story. And while there are things far too painful to revisit through photography, I did find out that with awareness comes healing.

This has been my relationship with the American Spirit: nuanced, unexpected, and strong. In a way, these features helped me rediscover what my favorite things about growing up: family, friendship, and love. I'm hopeful to see we're finally having a collective reckoning and redefining roles for women, LGBTQ+, and people of color. The American Spirit is about diversity, perseverance, and individuality. Each feature touched upon themes of boyhood, vulnerability, masculinity and what the American Spirit means to all these great artists featured this month, and I'm especially humbled by Devin's story of strength, love and solidarity."

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