Meaningful Conversations

Empty chairs on an empty stage. Photo by Alina Oswald.

On the importance of still having meaningful conversations with creatives

The other day I was streaming a B&H workshop called How to Have a 20/20 Vision in 2020: Propel Your Conversation into Successful Relationships. That’s how I found out about Conversations New York, which is definitely something worth checking out, I think.

Let's Talk About Art at Kurt Weston's show, Remember: An AIDS Retrospective. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Let’s Talk About Art at the opening of Kurt Weston‘s show, Remember: An AIDS Retrospective. WAD 2018, at OCCCA. Photo by Alina Oswald.

As mostly listening, while editing images, a few things came to mind:

  • Workshops that emphasize that talking among ourselves, actually conversing, is not a thing of the past; (re)learning how to have conversations (especially conversations that might include points we don’t all completely agree on) is perhaps much needed now, more than ever….
  • Workshops about carrying productive, meaningful conversations also remind us that a conversation is a two-way street. And yet, oftentimes it seems that, as creatives, we end up having one-way conversations with (certain) clients, especially when we have to follow up with the said clients.
  • Workshops teaching about productive, meaningful conversations and the importance of still having those conversations offer advice to those of us working with people (photographing people or writing about people) better connect with and understand our subjects and their stories; thus, we capture their stories in a more powerful way
Chairs and camera on the set of No Boundaries at MNN, in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald.
The quiet before the storm. Empty chairs on the set of Ron B‘s show, No Boundaries: Up Close and Personal. Photo by Alina Oswald.

I believe that in a world in which we can express ourselves in any way we want, using any art form that we want, having conversations (talking and also listening to what others have to say) is still important. At times, a meaningful conversation can become a laboratory for ideas that could change our lives for the better; it can mark the beginning of a friendship or partnership or, in day-to-day work, the first step towards completing an assignment, in particular a writing- or photography-related assignment.

As an educator who sometimes also gets to talk about photography outside the classroom, I still believe in the importance of having productive and meaningful conversations. Sometimes the essence of those conversations and the voices of the people we talk to remain forever in our minds, guiding us through life.

As always, thanks for stopping by,

Alina Oswald

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