Seeing ourselves through other's eyes, whether as leaders, followers or colleagues can be just the thing to give us a push along a developmental path. I use the Ghost Dad picture, stuck to the wall beside me as I write, to ensure that I play a full part in family life. It's not an image that I particularly like but it does the job. It's a visual marker for my life.
Last year I took some pictures of my friend Brian as he told me about how he was trying to ensure some suburban grassland would remain available for community use. As we walked across fields he told me about the conflicted interests in play, and coincidentally, about the struggle to manage his increasingly successful consultancy company. I've known Brian for a while now, and it felt like this might be the bigger story. After taking a couple of hundred pictures walking across wet grass, the portrait I made for him focusses on an embattled Brian standing in a rainy car park.
I knew that Brian didn't particularly like the image (though a couple of his colleagues evidently did) and was a bit nervous when we next met. Recalling that conversation he began...
"The more I have it the more I like it, but if you'd have asked me what I was expecting it wasn't this... ...but that's definitely where I was... ...it captured something."
We were interrupted by phone calls and an insistent waitress serving coffee then laughed at how frazzled he was when I had photographed him. I asked how he was now:
"Brilliant... not like THAT! That person has had his day."