We often hear people talk about their hopes and dreams, their goals and expectations of their life plan and the ways they've managed to achieve some of those goals. Itís not unusual to hear people talk about it but itís not always possible to know whether these are just random goals, told perhaps for the purpose of us hearing them. We can be left wondering whether there is any real passion and planned action underneath the words.
Sometimes we have the pleasure of seeing and hearing someone talk about their goals and aspirations with evidence to back it up. This is when we can feel confident that the person is genuine and absolutely committed to their cause, whether itís work related or something deeper than just paid employment Ė closer to the self-actualisation ideas of Maslow we began to hear about decades ago. When someone has reached the self-actualisation stage, according to Maslow, their efforts are no longer just about meeting their own needs. Rather those efforts are as much, or even more, about reaching out to the community, to be thinking about other people. Perhaps this is when passion starts to look and sound more like compassion.
I witnessed what appeared to me to be self-actualisation recently when I heard a speaker talk about his work as a photojournalist/news photographer. He kept the audience engaged for well over an hour, mesmerized with the story telling, mesmerized by the images and the ideas behind them. I'm sure we would have stayed much longer than the hour if we could have.
We sat enraptured as we heard about the initial idea or seed that was planted in his mind, then the effort involved in seeking out and capturing the image, even placing one's own well-being at risk at times to get the best shot possible. At other times the image could be captured through being opportunistic and observant, noticing what others didn't see. Seeing the world through the lens of the camera but also with a vision of what the story was really about. 'The image is only as good as the story it tells' was a clear message that came through.
Not only did we learn about photography, but we also learned about the power of photography, and the images that come from the art and individual skill-set, to make an absolute difference to the world around us.