Dr. Steve Marshall

The Photo-Dialogues

 
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The photo-dialogues are an experiment...

 

In fact, they are an on-going piece of Action Research where I am working with people who seem to 'see differently' as they go about their work and lives.

I am trying to learn how leaders working differently, generatively in the world conceptualize their 'vision' or 'purpose', what it means to them, where it comes from and how they bring it to life.  The people I have been working with seem to be interested in a way of working that values participation, social justice and emancipation, sustainability, relationship to each other, our place within nature and with our planet.  And they are attempting to work beyond the conventions of easily defined 'elevator pitch' business propositions. 

We are told that every successful endeavour begins with a clear vision.

With the vision established, we should define our mission, set objectives and monitor progress on the path to success.  Achievement becomes a product of a well-defined process and determined effort.

But my world doesn't seem to work like that.

And I'm pretty sure it's not like that for other folk either. Even if it does work for others, the effect of 'bigger, faster, better' has been to separate us from the reality of our existence and promote damaging ways of working.  Our world has become a social and ecological mess.

On these pages I am showing you the 'short-form' blog style summary of much longer conversations. As I work with these 'visionaries', themes emerge and questions arise. I find that I begin to question my own vision and the way that I try to bring it to life. As I continue to wrestle with my meaning making and encourage this work in others,  you will find longer articles that will give a different shape to the work. But for now, here are the first 'outputs' of my efforts.

I'm presenting each Photo-Dialogue as two photographs and a conversation.

The first image you see is my photograph; an attempt to offer witness to the person before me. The conversation then tries to unravel the signs of how their vision, an often fragile, only slowly developing image,  is brought into focus in the second photograph

The second image is 'directed' by the subject. We work together to make an expression of their sense of themselves 'in their vision'.  Sometimes, the image is easy to plan and visualize; my work is simply to light and frame the photograph. More often, we search, seeking something that would an expression of a different way of working, living and thinking.

Please look carefully at the photographs.

In each case, they  say at least as much as our words can tell.

 

 

Photo-Dialogues:

 "Playful with not knowing."

"Playful with not knowing."

 "I like the idea of people feeling safe."

"I like the idea of people feeling safe."

 "Vision grows in the footsteps of shared commitment."

"Vision grows in the footsteps of shared commitment."

 "The  discipline is to treat myself as a blank canvas."

"The  discipline is to treat myself as a blank canvas."