In the digital photo series, “Places I’ve Cried in Public” I explore and visualize past moments of vulnerability in different locations throughout Ontario. This series aims to normalize crying through shameless sensitivity while inviting viewers to reflect upon their own personal experiences with vulnerable emotions. By retracing and mapping out tearful moments the societal shame around strong emotions is dismantled and human connection is highlighted.
As a naturally sensitive person, I have found myself shedding tears in public spaces and subsequently feeling the rawness of vulnerability. Whether it’s from an emotional movie, a broken bone or a long difficult day I have occasionally struggled to mask these feelings. While crying is healthy, natural and human, for adults it is often societally shamed into privacy by being deemed as a sign of weakness.
I believe that the normalization of crying and showing strong emotions could relinquish some of the shame around vulnerability. In our highly gendered world women are often judged as hysterical when they overtly display emotion. Men are often expected to downplay and hide these emotions in an effort to seem tough. This brings up the question of why our society correlates strength with stoicism and numbed emotions. I myself have even felt the allure of apathy in others, despite knowing that emotions are a key part of connection and the human experience. Despite the pressure to hide our emotions, I stand firmly in my belief that moments of emotional exposure are synonymous with moments of courage and strength.
This photo series was inspired and created while hiking on Green Head Island in Saint John, New Brunswick.
After stumbling upon waste that had a shockingly strong juxtaposition to the woods surrounding it, I was left feeling curious. The theme of this series is highlighting unnatural objects found in nature. One wonders if this litter is more impactful on the senses because it is especially out of place and rusted. A plastic bottle floating in the ocean would most likely not bring the same type of intrigue, but it has a similar environmental impact. Finding and capturing this waste made me wonder if unconventional trash and settings are more inspiring for change.
This series aims to have viewers question how these foreign objects ended up in the forest and how long they will remain there. Who selfishly brings a bathtub, a car or a wheelchair into nature, leaving it behind to slowly rot and decay? Nature is left to recycle man-made objects in an attempt to return the world to its natural state and re-claim its space. How long will this process take before the impact of these objects is no longer strongly evident?
Copyright © 2021 Molly Steels Photography - All Rights Reserved.