My MA photography project ‘The Truth & Beauty of Me’ is being therapeutic for me as it provides some help for me to deal with my wife’s chronic MS. It is also a project that is growing in scope and provides new insights on me. I believe there is a business proposition to take this project in to the market place under the banner of ‘The Truth & Beauty of You.’ The idea is to combine my psychology and coaching experience of the last twelve years with a photography project as a contribution to effecting personal growth.
In my coaching practice I helped executives with business problems find different ways of being in order to solve their problems. Underpinning my work was an idea that if you have a good story about yourself then keep it and enjoy it. If you don’t then find a better story and live it. Where there are problems there is usually a significant contribution from the story being lived.
The MA photography project is showing me some tremendous material that can be used with a client to support the coaching process of finding a better you. It is also a great way to introduce people to the structure of a photography project. There is a great opportunity for the ‘narrative ability, authenticity and subjectivity’ mentioned in The New Visual Testimony (Morton, 2016).
The Truth & Beauty of You
This workshop/retreat will take you on a journey to be who you want to be, go where you want to go and do what you want to do.
You are interested in exploring your own current story and in photography. Using photography and dialogue you will gain insights on who you are and the gap between that and who you want to be. You will also develop an understanding of the photography project as a way of developing your own photography practice. In this case you are the project and I can assure you a very interesting one too.
In the workshop/retreat you will gain an understanding of
- what you want
- what is getting in the way
- what you are going to do about that
- what help you need
You will also gain an understanding of a photography practice through
- the role and pleasures of the physical print
- how to develop a narrative
- how to be authentic (be yourself!)
- the importance of consistency
- the importance of play
- the different surfaces to present your work which could be a photobook, an exhibition, a website or other mixed media possibilities.
Workshop 1 – The Foundation
Who are you and what do you want?
Two incredibly difficult questions to answer. First you will be asked to bring 6 prints. Two images of yourself taken by yourself. Two taken by someone else and two other prints you want to bring with you that you would like to talk about.
We will use these prints to have a conversation about who you are and what you want. We will do very well to get a clear idea of what you want in this session. Most people know what they don’t want but have difficulty clearly articulating what they want.
You will also begin to learn the pleasure and power of the physical print.
We will work together on creating a photographic challenge for you that arises out of our conversation and relates to your story. We will try hard to stretch you and move you out of your comfort zone with this challenge. You will also produce as clear a statement of what you want as you can to bring to the next workshop.
EXAMPLE: I WANT TO BE A COACH WHO USES PHOTOGRAPHY AND DIALOGUE WITH CLIENTS TO ENABLE THEM TO BE WHO THEY WANT TO BE GO WHERE THEY WANT TO GO AND DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.
Workshop 2 – The Obstacles
What is getting in the way?
From ‘The Foundation’ you will have thought more about what you want and will have produced images about your story from the challenge set at the end of the last workshop.
Working with your prints and your statement of what you want we will enter in to dialogue to discover what is getting in the way. This is all about the ‘I want to….but can’t because….’ We will work with your images. Hopefully you have struggled with the challenge set. Understanding that struggle will also help us understand constraints around you.
We will introduce the idea of narrative with your work by looking at the connections from the first workshop with your new work. Let us look for what is emerging. We will explore the idea of a photographic narrative?
We will set you a photographic challenge arising out of our conversation and again seek to stretch you out of your comfort zone. You will also produce as clear a statement as you can of what is getting in the way of what you want. You will begin to think about how to do this with images.
EXAMPLE : THE IMAGE ABOVE. I AM GETTING IN THE WAY. I GRASP MY HANDS TOGETHER AND BELIEVE I CAN’T RELEASE THE TENSION. IT IS CLEAR THAT I CAN IF I WANT TO.
Workshop 3 – Releasing the Chains
What are you going to do about what is getting in the way?
You will now have statements and images of what you want and what is getting in the way. You will also be thinking about how your images are creating a narrative. We will begin now to explore what you yourself can do to overcome the obstacles you see to make what you want happen. We will explore authenticity with your images and your ideas. We will introduce the importance of being able to play. To really play like a child gets harder for all of us as we grow older but it can be really fun and releasing.
We will now be in full flow using images and dialogue to develop the Truth & Beauty of You. We will set you a photographic challenge arising from our work that will take you out of your comfort zone. You will also describe what you are going to do to overcome the obstacles getting in the way of what you want. Give thought to what help you might need from others to overcome the obstacles getting in the way of getting what you want.
EXAMPLE : LOOK ABOVE. THIS IS NOT ME. BUT I DID IT. DANCING TO T REX WITH A SKIRT ON. TOUGH TO START BUT I LOVED IT. MAYBE IT IS ME.
Workshop 4 – Getting Help
What help do you need to overcome the obstacles to get what you want?
All of us can be so much more if we ask for the help we need. It is amazing how easily people will help us if we ask. As with the previous workshops we will work with images and dialogue. We will now have plenty of material to work with that will be taking some sort of shape. You will be struggling with lots of questions about your photography work and The Truth & Beauty of You but you will now be on a journey taking you towards being who you want to be.
We will work on what is working for you from the process and exploring what is not. We will look at the idea of a photobook as a place to capture your project.
My hope is that you are now clear enough about what you are doing to take the journey forward yourself and with whatever help you have decided you need.
There are so many possible ‘truths’ about you so let’s find a really good one and there is no doubt at all that there is a lot that is ‘beautiful’ about you.
EXAMPLE : THE SCULPTURE TEACHER HELPED THE SCULPTOR WHO BY PRODUCING A SCULPTURE OF ME HELPED ME UNDERSTAND SOMETHING MORE ABOUT ME AND WHO I AM.
Morton, H. The New visual testimonial: Narrative, authenticity, and subjectivity in emerging commercial photographic practice. Media and Communication Journal. Vol 5, Issue 2. 2017