Saturday, June 4, 2011

Being Seen - Oprah

For many years the element of "being seen" in art, photography, literature and personal life was - and is - very close to my heart.   It is also at the base of my work as a photographer. In the time I spend with somebody during a photo session I want to create this space where the person in front of my camera feels "seen". It is a process that can not be forced. It has to do with awareness and arriving in the present moment for everybody involved.

I was contemplating to make "Being Seen" a regular topic on my blog for quite some time. So when I heard Oprah in her final show speaking about "validation" and the desire to be seen and heard it struck a strong chord with me. 

I am not an Oprah Show "regular" and the few shows I saw I came across only by chance.  But I always was interested in and admired her for her ability to communicate with people.  I was wondering what was at the core of her work and what keeps her going through all these years. I made it a point to see her final show and was impressed and touched how she summed up her last 25 years:

"I've talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: 'Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?'

"Understanding that one principle, that everybody wants to be heard, has allowed me to hold the microphone for you all these years with the least amount of judgment. Now I can't say I wasn't judging some days. Some days, I had to judge just a little bit. But it's helped me to stand and to try to do that with an open mind and to do it with an open heart. It has worked for this platform, and I guarantee you it will work for yours. Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them. 'I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.'"

Thank you, Oprah!!

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