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Daily Inspiration: Meet Courtney Coker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Coker. She and her team share their story with us below:

Courtney Coker is a freelance photographer fascinated with the Southern landscape and the people who inhabit it. Her portraits attempt to capture the beautiful complexities of being human.

Courtney spent a previous life in medicine earning her MD and training for several years in obstetrics/gynecology and radiology before returning to her true passion, photography.

She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband, three daughters, eight chickens, and one exasperated dog but spends much time in Nashville where she grew up and where her parents and sisters reside.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My path has been somewhat tortuous in that I spent many years in medical school and residency before realizing that I was never going to be truly happy with medicine as a career. I began photography in high school and found that my creative mind was ready for a return to photography as not only a passion but as a career.

The pandemic presented obstacles to my business, but I found this to be an opportunity to grow my fine arts photography and was grateful for the opportunity to take part in several local shows both online and in-person at Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville.

The time spent with only my immediate family enabled me to shoot more and more photographs of my three daughters as they navigated the freedom and social isolation of the spring of 2020.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Through photography I attempt to speak in a language that comes easier to me than words – one in which images articulate my vision, tell a story or channel an emotion. My photographs examine that brief slant of sun, a second hand’s pause. With portraiture, I hope to unearth the raw and wild nature that lives within us all.

Recently I have been exploring and photographing my grandmother’s abandoned farmhouse in rural Virginia and the surrounding buildings that all date to the 1860s. The stories of Virginia are dark and haunting and saturated with battlefield atrocities, the horrors of slavery and the gothic South. Yet this is where I spent my childhood summers and near where I now reside. And though these structures are crumbling and haunted by the past, their resplendent beauty lies in the ability to persist, to embrace the rewilding and slowly decompose into the ground. With my camera I hope to capture the stories of the past, of the inchoate natural world and the imprints and desires that it leaves with us.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I have been fortunate to have friends who have helped me in critical times during my career.

Artist friends who gave great advice and critiques and curator friends who offered me a chance to show my work. And friends who showed up and supported my work. I am forever grateful.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Courtney Coker Photography

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