Sebastiãno Salgado is an amazing photographer, traveling the world photographing people’s lives in difficult circumstances. His images go deep, show the people’s struggle and the respect he feels for them. Sebastiãno Salgada is only one of a number of photographers capturing the lives of the impoverished and unfortunate with respect and great artistic skills. And we as the viewer and buyer love the images and admire the photographers.
But what makes the photographers choose these subjects and what makes us the viewer to love these images?
We want to feel that we live. In the western world most of the people have a home, work and some sort of security in their lives. For most of the people there is no daily confrontation with danger and death, the own death, which is how we want to live, what we work for, to be safe. Yet it seems that we need the confrontation with death in order to be conscious that we live. One can do bungee jumping or skydiving, do video gaming or embark on adventures themselves and one can also look at art and photographs like from Salgado. I don’t know if people from a dangerous gang controlled city area or an area with no water and food look at and love photographs that show suffering and death like Salgado’s images. They have it themselves, they experience it every day and they are conscious that they live, because they are confronted with the possibility of their own death every day. Or would they like to see the reflection of their own lives?
The paradox is that the need to feel that we live pays the ones who capture the suffering of others well and makes sure they have a secure life, which creates in return the need within them to go out and photograph again. Another phenomenon is that the further away the suffering and death happen the more the viewer seems to be able to love the photographs and to feel the situation of the people there. It seems to be hard to bear when it comes too close and that is completely understandable. The suffering the photographs show is unbearable and hard to cope with and at the end we all want to survive, physically and emotionally.
So, what does that mean? Will photography awards continue going to photographs that show suffering or will happy photos win as well? Will the world sustain its regions of poverty and suffering or will there be a time that efforts pay off and people have food and shelter?
I don’t know, we humans are funny creatures with a very complicated psychological constitution. Maybe it is part of the process of becoming human.
Do we need to feel guilty that we love these photographs? No. We seem to have a very good sense of when a photograph was taken with respect and compassion and the photos keep us aware that there is still a lot to be done in the world.
And how do photo safaris fit in here? Not? What do we experience on a photographic safari that is so addictive? Nature? This is probably something for another post.
Keep enjoying the spirit of photography and its deeper insights.
Sometimes we enter a room full with people and we feel that there is somehow an undercurrent, something is going on, although everybody seems to enjoy him(her)selve and having fun. This situation occurs also in meetings and work teams, but it is not clear what it is. Something is not right, but one cannot say what it is.
One-on-one conversations are planned to find out what is going on, but they don’t unearth the real reason of the disturbance in the team. The undercurrent develops to be a surface current and irritations pile up. Still words cannot fix it, there is something nobody is talking about or nobody is conscious that it is there. The situation has become very unpleasant. The team can hardly function.
What now? Photography can fix it. What the mind is not able to tell, the unconscious is more than capable to show, because it knows where the problem is and how it can be fixed. Photography becomes the voice of the unconscious. It helps teams to find out what they are struggling with, helps leaders to find the right way in guiding their teams and it is at the end also fun and makes it a very pleasant experience. Team buildings with photography and leadership training with photography are only two ways in helping teams through photography. There are many more.
And what works for work teams works also at home for families, friend groups, dance groups, football teams and wherever people would like to fix unpleasant situations.
Being a leader in business is a lot about spreadsheets, meetings, challenging decisions, guiding and success, yet it is also is a lot about intuition. Intuition is even an essential part of leadership and the most charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs work(ed) consciously with what intuition tells them. But how do they know that the information is genuine and not noise steering them in the wrong direction?
Some of them learn by doing, taking every now and then the wrong turn and go back onto the path, knowing better next time. Others turn to psychics to get confirmation of what they sense themselves. But there is another way of learning to utilize intuition and being able to get trustworthy information. The reliable tool is photography.
Photography visualizes and materializes what intuition as something on the non-visual and non-physical energy (or intuition) level offers us as enormous information resources. One learns how to tap into this information resource and extract the information needed for a certain business task. Photography is the easy accessible tool to do that; one needs only learn how to use it.
Intuition training helps with that. It works like an incubator and allows within a short, yet intense session to get the basics and to apply the learned immediately in daily work and life. It might sound in the first place like a photo safari with photography course, but this is only how it appears at first. It is an amazing process of gaining access to the immense resources of the intuition level, ready waiting there for us to use them.
Sounds a bit vague? Possibly it does, but it is not, it is very real and we are using it everyday mostly unconsciously. Got a gut feeling?
Have you ever had a conversation with your gut feeling? Did you listen? What did happen then? Where you one of those who said, I knew this would happen, but didn’t do anything beforehand with this knowledge?
If your answer is yes, you are one of those who know and don’t do anything with it beforehand, be assured you are not alone. There are whole industries built on doubting the gut feeling or better the not listening to intuition. For example market research. Endless tests with focus groups to find out what new products customers want. But how can customers know they want the new product when the product does not even exist as an idea? Steve Jobs did the only right thing. He made the iPod without any market research, just by following his intuition and no doubt, it was a success. Now, one might think, but there are not so many Steve Jobs. Yes there are, they only need to be encouraged and trained to discover and utilize their intuition, because we all got intuition.
Nobody seems to find it weird to act intuitive in photography, choosing the right photography course and the right photo safari by following their feeling, knowing intuitively what is the right course to do and the right destination to visit. Photography is constantly working with intuition, having the finger on the camera’s shutter to press it when the moment to capture occurs. And the results are photos we love.
In other words creative people like photographers run on intuition, now this ability only needs to be applied to business and science, although scientists are very conscious about the role of intuition as Freud and Einstein say themselves:
Sigmund Freud: “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me. Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science.”
Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
So, lets focus on intuition and the knowledge of the unconscious, visualize it through photography and for whatever answers you were looking for in your business, you will unearth them with a click on the shutter.
Tap into your intuition consciously and access immense resources of knowledge.
When you visit a museum, where do you stand to look at a painting? Do you stand right in front of the wall, your nose almost touching it or do you stand looking from a distance? Well, if you want to see exactly every brush stroke, you got to come close, but when you want to see the entire masterpiece, you got to watch from a distance. Talking about an accident is easier when you were witnessing it rather than being involved yourself. You might become emotional while talking when you are one of the victims.
These are two everyday life examples, that having a distance allows a better view on things in their complexity. One can “walk” around a problem or case and see all its aspects from different angles, which result in deeper insights. Innovative leaders will practice that method and photographers do that as well, constantly. Pretty much every camera has a zoom and if not in the camera, the photographer has most likely a zoom lens. And what are they doing? Zooming in and out constantly to capture the subject the way they experience it, some more closely, others more from a distance. A photographer has always an external perspective and that makes it possible that they can photograph scenes one can hardly look at. Like being a victim of an accident or witnessing an accident, being a witness gives the distance and the insights.