Finding Myself in Black & White | Meri Daugherty Photography
When I first began my photography journey, I didn’t know who I was. Or, rather, I knew, but I was only a single version of myself, new to the big scary adult world, and swirling around in a time full of constant change.
I started seriously pursuing photography after I graduated college. I had found out I was pregnant with my first child the week of my graduation. Suddenly my career plans and dreams seemed uncertain and everything I had been working towards seemed unlikely. Shortly after, I picked up my (mom’s) camera and haven’t really looked back.
Photography is much like growing up; there is a huge progression of skill and maturity and refining that takes place once you commit to the journey. We all essentially begin in the same place, the beginning, but where we end up is a magic all our own. Once your eyes are opened to how huge the photography world actually is, you realize that there is practically an infinite number of places to stop along the way, innumerable genres and subjects and themes. We may all start with learning exposure and focus, but there is no one definitive ending to our quest.
I knew who I was as a human when I first attempted manual. But I had no idea who I was as an artist. I had no concept of myself as a creator or creative. I had not broken myself into a million little pieces to see how I fit together, to see what makes my heart beat and my soul fly, to find what grit I had within myself to push through the murkiest caves of my self-doubt.
This journey is not unique to photographers, but it is, in my humblest of opinions, an essential one for us. It is unique for everyone and means different things for us all, but it’s what binds us together as artists. Because when we pick up that camera we are transformed.
We are curators of moments, creators of atmosphere, captors of memories, explorers of connection. We are artists. What we do requires we dive deep into the uneasiness and introspection and really know who we are, that’s how we create work that moves us which in turn, moves and changes others.
I didn’t know who I was three years ago when I began this journey. I was an overeager shutterbug who’d shoot literally anything. Now I stand firmly on a foundation that I feel like I scraped together from any shred of dirt or rock or clay I could find as I clumsily threw myself atop it. Am I done? Never. It’s a constant struggle. But it is why we fight on.
Over these years, I have honed my craft and heart to really refine myself as a person and as an artist. Much of what I do now is in dark, grainy black and white, which I have come to realize, really represents me. It’s nothing new to photography, but finding myself in my work has allowed me to better know myself outside of it. Over the next few weeks, I am going to write more in depth about what my work says about me and what I have found through my work, so I hope you’ll gain some insight into who I really am, and maybe feel empowered in who you are… or maybe share part of your own noble quest as an artist.
I’m Meri. I am a wife and mom, so naturally I wear a million hats. When I’m not telling visual stories with my photography, I’m likely binging on Netflix, chowing down on french fries, or reading Harry Potter for the ten millionth time (likely a combination of all three!).