Updated: Jul 12, 2018
I have the words "Do What You Love" tattooed on my calf, in my grandmother's handwriting.
It's a quote from a letter Thoreau wrote in 1848, the longer and relevant part which says: "Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life as a dog does his master’s chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good—be good for something. —All fables indeed have their morals, but the innocent enjoy the story. Let nothing come between you and the light."
The shorter version is a sentiment easily reduced down to a motivational poster or soft-focus Instagram meme, but I enjoy gnawing at it further. The phrase is often associated with work, and the quote dismissed as the privilege of those people who are lucky enough to have jobs they enjoy. I instead take the verb at its simple meaning of action: DO. Do SOMETHING. Move towards. And if you're moving, why not move towards joy, towards love?
This project will be a series of interviews with, and photographic portraits of, people who are doing what they love. Doing, in their spare time as a hobby. Doing, in the little moments between obligations. Doing, yes...as a means of making a living, as well.
I am drawn to people who have figured out what they're passionate about, and who are doing something about it. I am eternally curious, and I recently heard curiosity described as the ability to admit when you don't know something, and the drive to find out the answers.
How did these people come to do what they love? What does it feel like for them? How is it expressed? What is their passion? Now that they're doing it, does it make them happy?
My goal with this project is to learn to get better at doing what I love: connecting with people, asking nosy introvert questions, and to try and find meaning in my photographs: does creating a connection with someone by talking honestly and deeply about passion result in a better portrait?