why i love what i do so.damn.much |

A couple days ago I posed this challenge to my dear facebook group for photographers - to write about WHY they do what they do.

It seems pretty straightforward for a lot of us: I like photography, so therefore I am a photographer. But that's a cop out. Let's be really, really honest here. This path is hard. Business is hard and art is hard--making a business of your art is really freaking hard. 

It takes a lot of courage, conviction, and unwavering commitment (to yourself, your path, and your work) to walk this path.

Having very solid, specific, and personal reasons that you do what you do are imperative. They give you direction when you feel so lost in the chaos; they give you vision when you are hopeless; they give you meaning when you are lonely. Having your "WHY" is essential.

This isn't an exhaustive blog post about all the reasons why I love what I do, but it skims the surface of a very deep and personal well that helps to form my very identity as a person and an artist.

 romantic sunset picture of couple about to kiss at lake lanier in northeast georgia by meri daugherty photography with sun flare and soft focus and heavy grain

1) I've always had visions

From the time that I was in elementary school, I can remember having distinct visions in my mind about photos. I've had distinct images in my mind that begged to be brought to life, only I lacked any skill to bring them to fruition. Now, I feel like I have finally reached a point where I can bring things to life that once just wafted around in my brain.

 dark and moody romantic photo in black white of elderly couple grandparents kissing close up

2) My (he)art is their legacy

I have to periodically (metaphorically) pinch myself because what I love to do is something so profound for so many people. Having photos done is a common event these days, but the intimate photos I take speak to a timeless legacy that will be well-worn heirloom items in the years to come. These are the photos their children will pore over, hearing their about how their family came to be. These are the photos their grandkids will ogle over. These illustrate the love story that they will use as a foundation for their own relationships. These are the stories that will live on for as long as the ink lives on the paper. That is a ridiculous privilege that never ceases to amaze and humble and enliven me.

 black and white romantic photo of couple with him kissing her cheek softly as her hair blows in the wind in atlanta georgia

3) LiFe is hard - but so damn beautiful.

Oftentimes we forget to see the beauty in our story or it feels too far away from what we're shown so it never feels like it's really that great. But that's a travesty. Finding someone you love who loves you back and sharing and building a life is nothing short of miraculous. Being seen, valued, and safe is a beautiful art all its own and is more than worth celebrating, but we are so rarely given the opportunity to witness it outside of ourselves. I love digging deep into couple's connections to show them what is already there that they likely don't see on a regular basis. I love getting to show them their lovestory in a special, romantic, and intimate way that represents what they actually have together. Having an artistic representation of their love is so important to me, but it's so profound for them.

 dark and romantic photo of a beautiful same sex couple in long maxi dresses cuddle and kiss by large waterfall at hemlock falls at cloudland canyon in northwest georgia

4) Because I'm a mother [freaking] feminist.

No, really. That's a reason. I believe in what I do and creating something that is a piece of me that can THRIVE. I believe in setting an example of hard work, dedication, and pure heart for both my girls so they can see that women can be successful, can build empires, can achieve whatever they want, and can do all of that while they are married and/or moms. I certainly don't assume that either of my babes will have to be either married or mothers, but I never want them to feel like they have to choose a life as a mom OR a career. Ever.

 black and white photo in atlanta georgia of couple snuggling close to each other nose to nose

5) The world is dark (and full of terrors)

Every day there is some new scary villain or tragedy. I live each day with chronic health conditions that have had me (literally) falling to my knees. I am consistently bombarded with negativity and isolation (we all are--it's called social media). But, GAAAAH, there is so much beauty and I insist upon putting more light into this dark and scary world. Because I think it changes things. I believe art matters and opens up hearts. If I can make someone's day a little less shitty or hard or painful, I want to do it. If I can share some love that softens someone's heart, then I'm thrilled. I want to call out the hate and stand up to corruption as much as anyone these days, but I also don't want to be consumed by the same anger and rage that seems to fuel so many of the fights right now. Instead, I want to be a force of light that calls out what needs to be called out, but still be at peace with the MANY wonders that already exist all around us. Some people can walk this line so easily, but I struggle with feeling so angry and brought down by the constant deluge of bullshit, which is why I really try to focus on the love and warmth I see around me. Sometimes that feels like the only way out of a very dark hole. And, honestly, we could all use more love.

I'm fairly certain I could list about 50 more things about what I do that I love and connect with, but that's because I have honed and refined my work so, so, SO much over the last few years. Honestly, if you don't love it, why bother? And if you do love it, speak it out into the universe because the world needs people who are passionate. And this path is long and difficult, you need the fire to fuel you.

So, why do you love what you do? Why do you do it?

meri daughertyComment