Know Your Why

Lately, I felt stuck in this immense feeling of something being off. I got so caught up focusing on the business side of photography that I forgot why I started doing it in the first place. 

How did I allow myself to forget what I love to do the most – experiencing magic when seeing and capturing the beauty of small, ordinary things that surround us on a daily basis? 

With the whole social media culture, I allowed myself to be guided by what’s trendy and fell into the trap, like so many times, of chasing likes and praises. Somehow, I created this vision in my head of what I think I should create, instead of going for that which resonates with me the most. 

Using the algorithm to reach more exposure is one thing, but to put it at the first place, in front of the ‘why’ that got you into this game, is another thing. 

Why do I get so easily thrown off the course and preoccupied with following the standards I somehow think I need to?

Focusing so much on achieving those perfect, magazine-like photos got me feeling disconnected from my creations. After taking a shot that fits in the lines of what’s professional, I’d first experience excitement for being able to produce something like that. What would then follow, was a feeling of zero connection to the image. Although it would be ‘perfect’, something was lacking. Every time I’d see that picture on my feed, I would feel empty. Almost as if the photo wasn’t even done by me, but this other being that somehow overpowered me and took the charge of everything. 

Recently, I was told how I should capture more emotions, how it doesn’t matter how pretty the person you’re photographing is or how brilliant the composition is. Art is here primarily to portray and spark an emotion in people. 

It was a slap in the face. Instantly, I came back to my senses. It became clear why I felt an emptiness when looking at those photos – they lacked emotion! I was chasing ‘pretty pictures’. I was on the run to do what everybody else was doing in order to get more ‘recognition’. 

But all we get in return is attention from people who don’t actually recognize our talents, but trends. 

And what you lose in the process, is the recognition you give to yourself and your creative desires. Self-respect that comes in the form of allowing yourself to be and express yourself in whatever way you need to. 

What those photos lacked the most was a part of myself. They weren’t a reflection of what I saw and got inspired by, but what I saw the industry create and praise. They were flat and emotionless because the source of creation was my ego. The need to be recognized and to fit in.

Funny enough, those same ‘perfect’ photographs that were created for the sake of attaining more likes, got the least response! Got to love life’s sense of humor.

I’m convinced people can sense the authenticity you portray in your work. Mostly unconsciously. Somewhere deep down, by communicating on some energetical levels, we can sense the intention that’s behind each thing that’s created.

The whole point of art and creation is connection. 

What do you connect more easily with – a perfectly composed, shot, and portrayed commercial, or a vlog shot hand-held with a phone by a person you feel drawn to because of their simplicity, creativity, uniqueness, or realness? 

People connect with that raw, imperfect, ordinary side we have. People connect with things that they can find within themselves too. With those vulnerable aspects of ourselves. Because they need the most of our attention, and love. 

That is the whole point. To get closer to each other. Not further away, which is what happens when we start presenting ourselves and our lives in unrealistic ways. 

How can anyone connect with being so strong and unshakable by anything and everything, at all times, with no fear, just hustle, and other stuff we’re often being sold on social media? 

The ‘why’ behind starting to share what I see behind my viewfinder was to show people the beauty of those simple moments each one of us has an abundance of in our lives. The beauty and magic of ordinary life. 

Then I spent every moment of my time worrying about not having photos that showcase some rare and often unattainable sight, and are so terribly perfect that they feel sterile. 

I guess sometimes I forget that I don’t really want that. That’s not what feeds me. And that’s not me.

That’s the society I allowed to get into my head and rob me of my creativity and individuality. 

I want the real self. In me, and in everyone in my life. I want to show people, and myself, how amazing our lives truly are. And not because we get to take a couple of days in the year at some exotic place. 

But because we get to wake up and have a quiet morning with nothing else but the smell of coffee and birds singing outside. 

Because we get to witness sun rising up and it’s soft warm touch on our skin.

Because we get to feel the drive to create.

Because we get to allow ourselves to immerse in the process of creation.

Because we get to have a small palace for ourselves in this digital world where we get to share our perspectives with others, and connect, learn, grow, support, and inspire each other.

Because we get to feel all that we feel, comfortable or uncomfortable.

Because we get to share it with someone.

Because we get to be so unique and individual, but still so incredibly alike.

Cheers to the raw, spontaneous, authentic, human way. 

Cheers to all those day-to-day emotions and things we’re concerned with. 

Cheers to all the real, honest, and vulnerable creations.

That’s where all the beauty hides.

That’s where we get to meet ourselves and others.

And connect and thrive together.

Focus on your ‘why’. All clarity comes from that place.

What got you to create in the first place?

Why are you having all those desires? 

Love,

Julija

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