I have been spending a lot of time lately digitizing old family photos, slides and 8 mm films. Boxes and boxes of them.
Many images haven’t been looked at in decades, which feels like a missed opportunity.
Could it be that the desire to capture these moments is more important than the captured images?
I have come across many series of multiple photographs of the same moment. And this was before the days of no cost smart phone photos. Why spend so much time getting the photograph just right?
I think the process of picture taking signifies that the moment is special and worthy of capturing. Taking multiple photographs of the same scene reinforces the importance of the event. The importance of getting it right is a message in itself–this moment matters.
For many years, I would ask teams working on organizational changes if I could take their picture. I would do so for both project teams and workshop participants. The photo taking process was always a social activity that lightened the mood no matter how immersed in content they were. It was an up beat event.
For these work teams, the photo shoot implied that they were creating important outcomes that were worthy of being acknowledged. They were building the future.
This acknowledgement also happens in our personal lives. For example, the setting up and taking of a ‘selfie’ signifies that our image at that moment is important and worthy of being captured. The actual selfie is a byproduct of the event―the recording is more important (and valuable) than the record.
For the last few years, in workshops, my camera has been focused on capturing flip chart notes versus the teams that created them.
I now realize that I have stopped performing an important function for the team and its productivity. Teams are important and they need to be acknowledged. Their work around change builds the foundation for a better organization.
Regardless whether anyone looks the picture, the process of taking it represents productivity, progress and promise. People and the good work they do are worth capturing because they matter.