BBG Diaries: American Spirit

26 March 2018

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."

Mitch1
Mitch251
Mitch3
Mitch4
Mitch5
Mitch6
Mitch7
Mitch8
Mitch9
Mitch10
Mitch11
Mitch12
Mitch13
Mitch14
Mitch15
Mitch16
Mitch17
Mitch18
Mitch19
Mitch201
Mitch21
Mitch22
Mitch23_v2
Mitch24
Follow us on Instagram @boysbygirls
View The pink is a cacophony against the emptiness - a melody line paced in a second-hand birthday suit, easily hemmed... View And we are wild to make it stop: stuck in an empty booth, bold colours warming us up, no microphones... View He is light as a feather. Leather weighs heavy on him, adds ballast to his reality, suddenly makes it terrifying... View In the safety of a white suit, he blows himself about the empty space, spinning between instruments like a bird... View Like a hawk or an old hero, staring down the back of his future’s head, this boy takes to empty... View If change doesn’t arrive obediently, it will be chased down and hunted by the hungry. Peace is not prop for... View Falling apart at the seams and dripping onto the carpet of grass beneath bruised feet as the race for the... View Forget figuring out the bus routes, forge new passports with model mugshots and sprint for the border closing in around... View The traffic is stalled in the streets, halted by a punishing red light at every crossroads in every direction. City... View Tommy traces graffiti scrawled along paint, cement, and brick swirling in patterns denoting names and connoting beliefs while stylist Kayleigh... View Quitting a town named Stagnation in favour of an unfamiliar map revealing the temptation of breaking out into the unknown... View Rendezvous at the confidential hotspot for meaningful action. Setting the wheels in motion for an alternative living and imposing a... View Pushing through the crowd and negotiating the battlefield of elbows and toes, the commotion expands to a deafening silence. Chants... View This week’s exclusive Instagram editorial is ‘Standstill’ featuring Tommy Harragan at IMG models. Photographer Amber Grace Dixon captures Tommy’s standout... View A Renaissance man in every sense, @kalamaepstein writes/directs as well as acts and has a couple of shorts currently in... View View @kalamaepstein is photographed around Venice Beach, California - incidentally the location for one of his earliest projects, the short film... View View View Like a moth to a flame, some souls are drawn towards the light. Others seek solace dancing amongst the shadows...