As an artistic outlet of mine, photography has taken me outside of my comfort zone more times than I can count. What surprised me, though, is how it can also serve as a refuge from the stress of putting myself out there. In May of 2017, I was working as a product manager at a software company and visited Annapolis to attend a convenience store technology conference. I was the youngest conference attendee by far, and one of the few females.
It was a lonely experience - the kind of loneliness you can only feel when you are an amateur constantly in a crowd of experts. I benefitted greatly from having to venture beyond my comfort zone and feign confidence, but because of the professional and social challenges I especially cherished the hours I had to myself. I thanked myself profusely for packing my camera, for its familiar weight kept me company throughout the weekend.
During my free time, I wandered on foot all over the neighborhoods and downtown areas. From these solo explorations, I remember Annapolis most for its color, architecture, and charm. The brick sidewalks wrought with determined roots reminded me of the streets of my beloved Portland, Maine, and the spring weather had the flowers blooming in joyful hues. The buildings were so perfectly charming with their mish-mash of colors, interesting textures, and evidently rich history. Every turn around a corner revealed something delightful to lay the eyes upon, a gentle and inviting adventure.
Despite the discomfort I felt during the hours of conference activities, my memories of the weekend are warm and lovely. Taking these photographs was not only an immediate reprieve from the intimidation of corporate showmanship, but the photographs, in being my favorite memento of the trip, have shaped my memory of the days to be vibrant and cheerful.