When I was a freshman in high school, all I thought about was trying to escape all aspects of my lifemy body, my friend group, my school. I did everything to separate myself from the greater public, even if it meant facing school lunches in the bathroom in prime Mean Girls fashion. I would often use my art as an escape as well, locking myself in my room for hours to write music or take moody self-timer portraits with my iPhone camera. In the first photo, my mom and I used my mom's old film camera from the '90s to capture this graceful twirl in my mom's housewife-looking dress from the '80s. I got these pictures back a few weeks later, and I was so proud of how they came out. I think it was the first time I'd felt proud of myself for something I created. Now a junior in high school and recently licensed, I'm shooting a roll of film per week and feeling proud of myself all the time. 

The second and third photos are of a model who contacted me after the launch of my photography-based website. It was the first photoshoot I'd driven myself to, rather than taking the bus or getting a ride from my mom. I remember finishing my last picture, feeling so empowered and independent, thinking, "I really did that." I know it's corny, but I feel like I have come so far, not only as a photographer, but also as a person. I don't feel like I'm trying to escape anymore, but rather running towards hardships and good times, even if I'm scared as hell. 

By Emma Jassy

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