Why We Do It

by Clem Wehner


We photographers and artists see things differently than most people. We do things that make other people think we are obsessed. We imagine things that are not real. We have visions that we can’t get out of our heads until they are somehow satisfied. We understand other people who do the same strange things that we do. In all of history, many other people have done them, just as we do today.

The ancient Greeks said that it is caused by the Muses. Muses were the goddesses of art, creativity, and inspiration in the arts. The Muses choose certain people to carry on their work. Once they visit a person, they leave behind a destiny that cannot be ignored. If a muse has touched you, you will never be the same. You’ll harbor an inner passion for creating that does not go away, but gets stronger the more you ignore it. It will tug at you until you create something that satisfies the muse. You really have no choice in the matter. You must create and once you do, a muse will reward you with an addictive feeling of satisfaction. It’s what drives artists, indeed it may be the definition of artist.

But remember, the Muses only want you to create. They don’t care if you make money at it, or if people want to buy your creations. That is not important to them. Only creating is important.

So powerful were the ancient Muses, that words and concepts important to us such as music, amusement, mosaic, and museum resulted from their influence. The Muses, daughters of the God Zeus, are still at work today inspiring and guiding a select few of us mortals to be artists.

So, the next time you get a spark of an idea, a vision that won’t go away, or that searching feeling that only artists understand, you’ll know why. You are one of the chosen few and you must create. Tell all who question your behavior that you have no choice because a muse makes you do it. So, fulfill your destiny and go create something wonderful. Your muse will be pleased and you will be well rewarded.