TMG Philosophy: “What Is It YOU Do?”

Ah, the question of so many first introductions; the question that fills awkward silence amongst strangers at social gatherings.   And it always seems to have that inflection on “you”, as if a challenge is being issued.  I was asked this recently by a friend of a friend…of a friend.   I briefly explained what I work on, the current website and some of the pictures I take.  She waited for what seemed an eternity, obviously processing my answer, before responding, “So you’re a photographer…of, like, things, not even people?!  It was a statement, not a question.  Before I could get out a clarifying answer, she continued with, “…not exactly life changing is it?!”.

Wait, WHAT did she just say?   I carefully removed my eyebrows from my hairline, unflared my nostrils, cleared my throat, pasted on a smile (maybe it was a smirk), and prepared to launch into a sarcastic spew that I felt would surely show her “life-changing”.  Something stopped me…what on earth, I’m still not sure.  In an uncharacteristically composed tone, I answered her.  “I get to discover hidden beauty and details.  Patterns, shapes, reflections and colors collide above, beneath, beside and on us.   I get to dance with light and shadows.  I get to sing with the wind on a hillside bursting with wildflowers.  I get to hear my heartbeat as I hold my breath for that perfectly still shot.  I think about all this, talk about all this, and write about all this.  Even better, I get to capture this beauty in a way that words and memories can fall short.  Life changing?  In the last 6 months, I’ve cried more with gratefulness and a deeper sense of appreciation for my life and the beauty surrounding me than at any other point in my life.

On the Job with My Field Assistant

On the Job with My Field Assistant

In the last 6 months, I’ve shared this with my 1 -year old son, hopeful that he’ll glean just a microscopic love for life’s canvas.  In the last 6 months, I’ve interacted with friends, family and strangers who have thanked me for opening their eyes and changing their perspective.  That makes me blessed.  That changes my life.”

 I paused mostly out of shock that I had calmly yet passionately articulated this with complete eye contact and not in a mumble.  Then I asked, “What is it YOU do?”


(Editor’s note:  See the responses for the answer to what her job was…)

6 thoughts on “TMG Philosophy: “What Is It YOU Do?”

  1. I agree with Diana, good answer! As I read what this person said, my jaw dropped. It is amazing how people judge. I started to write about this person being myopic, but then I’d be judging them instead. So I’ll rephrase my original thought … hopefully you opened her eyes to different possibilities. I’m curious as well, as to her response.

  2. Impressive… I wanted to flatten her… Not only did you choose NOT to do that, (which is laudable) but I thought your answer so precisely captures what you do. The answer, (and the practice) could so easily be, “I work on a website” which not only sounds boring but also isolated from people and the world. But what you described is not only true for how you approach and execute your job but also what the website is all about. It’s more than just pretty pictures. It’s creativity, exploration, inspiration, contagious, and impressive.

  3. She said her job was in “wine and hospitality”. We will let you draw your own conclusions as to whether or not her job was “life changing” and if she fully understood the “hospitality” part of her job.

  4. Amanda as always u say just the right thing and explained so that people understand. by the way did this person now understand what u do ? and what was her answer for what she did. Even though I am your Aunt family aside , I love what u do u capture things that other people can’t no matter how hard they try. Just remember u will always have your family covering your back. Love u

Leave a Reply to Nancy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *