Netflix recently released a series called Abstract. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of design and follows an individual or team who exemplifies excellence in their field. My favorite so far has been about the photographer Platon.
If you haven’t heard of him, you’ve almost certainly seen his portraits. Although the subjects are often famous and familiar, they are different than other photos you see; shot by film, crystal-clear, mostly black and white images.
But none of those things are what sets Platon apart. Shooting with nice lenses and film doesn’t guarantee world leaders and movie stars seek him out to take their portraits. Even honing a skill to the degree he has is not what makes a Platon special.
What sets him apart is the way he interacts with his subjects. He does his research and knows about the person, but does not make assumptions. He asks informed questions and gives succinct direction to his subject for the photo.
But most of all, he listens to them. He genuinely wants to hear their answers. And he listens not only to what they’re saying, but their body language as well.
And in such deep, authentic listening, Platon gets his subjects to drop their walls, to be vulnerable - even if just for the tiniest moment - and that’s the magic he captures.
As a graphic facilitator, it's imperative to listen, visually capture, and be absolutely authentic with the groups I work with. This is nothing new, I’ve certainly written about it a few times, yet it persists as a timeless lesson about the power each of us has inside to truly connect authentically with another.
Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.
Authentic engagement sounds pretty good...I want to find out about adding some visuals to support my team.