In this module we are considering photography as a business. This is timely as I have two ideas relating to my project. One is a photobook of The Truth & Beauty of Me and the other is a photography and coaching workshop around The Truth & Beauty of You.
The WIP portfolio process has been a great discipline to produce and review work. It has also been a journey in to myself. Looking at images of myself has raised some new insights and more questions to pursue. A recent challenge from Laura Hynd to make some work without it having to represent something or make meaning was very liberating. As she pointed out the cognitive processes continue in the background whether you want them to or not.
The photobook will be a visual narrative with text on the subject of being me. It will have themes and chapters. I don’t know what these are but themes might include
- the relationship between the surface image and what is going on emotionally and sensorily behind the facade.
- what is reality and true?
- what is beautiful
- consciousness and thought
The chapters are not clear yet but to start the process of choosing some to refine and build on my first thoughts are
- I am successful
- I am a failure
- I am confused
- I am in love
- I am in pain
- I am
Now I will play with this and sketch out a first dummy to see if any of this makes sense.
Workshop/Retreat – The Truth & Beauty of You
Recently I was considering a week at Cortijo Romero. Friends in my mindful and meditation practice space strongly recommend this retreat in the mountains of Andalucia. One recent attendee describes it as..
“A lovely, warm, supportive, open-hearted feeling of community. A magical, peaceful, stunningly beautiful site. A great place to make real, meaningful connections with people, to make real friends.” Source
As I looked at weeks containing mindfulness, dance, music and tai chi my eye caught Ken Scott’s Mindful Photography week. Mindful Photography
It connected with some thoughts I have been having about combining my experience as a coach with my interests as a photographer to produce a workshop/retreat. As a coach I proved successful at asking the questions that got clients to hear their own answers to and from which positive change could emerge. With photography I am noticing how powerful images are in getting people to tell stories and to talk.
In my coaching practice I would say to people ‘if you have a good story about yourself then enjoy it and don’t mess with it…….if you don’t then let’s work on finding a better story and getting more out of life.’ There are an infinite number of possible stories for all of us and choosing the right one is a key ingredient for a happy and fulfilling.
I plan to start small with some 1 or 2 hour fotocoach sessions. From a coaching perspective there are my standard questions which are
- what do you want?
- what is getting in the way?
- what are you going to do about it?
- what help do you need?
The photography dimension can include
- photographs taken by you
- photographs taken of you
- photographs you like
I plan to learn from some individual sessions at first building from my coaching practice. The eventual goal would be to have a 3-5 day workshop with up to 10 people in a place like Cortijo Romero. The headline offer will be something like….
‘This retreat is designed for people who want to work on a new and better story for themselves. With others we will go on a journey to explore the many possible truths, stories, about you. We will see which ones you like and what needs to be done to pursue it. We will also look at what is beautiful about you. There is a lot of beauty in everyone but we need to look to see it and appreciate it within your story.’
or…’be who you want to be, go where you want to go, do what you want to do’ is a possible tagline and an expression I have used throughout life with my children.
The retreat will include
- guided conversations about your own story and what you like and don’t like about it.
- talking about photographs you bring to the retreat. some taken by you, some taken of you and some that interest you.
- exploring together what is true about your story. what is fact and what is assumption?
- create images of you not being you. doing things you would not do.
- consideration of what gets in the way of being the you you want to be and how much of the obstacles are put there by you.
- the idea of a photography project around the truth and beauty of you as a way of getting towards being the you you want to be
Lots more work to do on these very early ideas and let’s see where it ends up. I will finish with some images of me doing something I don’t do. They arose out of Laura’s provocation to ‘not represent’ and ‘not make meaning’. I can assure you I have not previously danced in front of a camera to T Rex dressed in a skirt!
To be continued.