What is connection, exactly? Connection is the relationship between two things, ideas or people that joins or links them together.
Did you know that as a human, you are hard-wired for connection?
Pictured here is Mala Ghedia, an Australian woman who runs Mala’s Playhaus (play house) in Berlin. Mala teaches English to children through drama and music classes. The business reached a point of maturity and it was time to capture a class in-action, so that parents could gain a genuine feel for her teaching style, impact and the class dynamic.
Mala prepares for her 45 minute class.
Each class is carefully planned according to the children that will be coming
and their current level of knowledge and ability with English.
Matthew Lieberman, a social neuro-scientist describes in his book Social how our need to connect is even more fundamental than our need for food or shelter. As a matter of survival we move either away from pain or towards pleasure, but predominately we opt for the former.
Everyone gathers around before class starts.
They have a little catch up and read a book together.
Matthew’s research shows that a child has already invested 10,000 hours in forming friendships before they are ten years old, because to be socially disconnected means death.
As we move into adulthood, we navigate towards independence, while this intense, ever-present need for connection fades. But the core human driver for connection remains deep within our DNA.
Capturing the experience from the child’s perspective is the focus.
How happy and safe does this little girl look!?
A business, and their client, quite literally can’t engage unless a connection occurs. This is what I call an ‘external connection’.
In reality this external connection can’t happen unless you’ve taken a vital step before that, towards your ‘internal connection’:
Why am I here? What am I passionate about? How can add value?
Then the fun starts…I mean, the first exercise.
You can’t go out into the world selling products or services effectively, until this internal dialogue is clear. Once you’ve connected with that, then your role is to take that to the world and allow those who might value it – to hear it, see it, connect with it, and come to you to solve their problem.
A little bit of India enters the room with the Bollywood dance.
Everybody is up, listening and moving to the music.
How does this relate to photography?
You may remember addressing these important questions at some time in the past, and filed the answers away in the recesses of your mind. In the day to day busy-ness of running your business, you may find them hard to recall on a whim.
It’s an active class, not a moment is wasted.
The children love Mala because she gives them so much encouragement
and kindness as she teaches them the moves.
Besides, right now is the moment for filling some place-holders with pics on your website…isn’t it? Another thing to tick off the list.
Through our deep-dive conversation, the opportunity is there for you to become re-connected to what really matters to you. Now you are internally connected, you can express from there, even in front of a camera.
Which animal are you?
A biiiiiiiig giraffe!
The photography experience has automatically gone deeper from capturing what you look like, to reaching in and recording who you really are.
For you this will be remarkably easy and fluid, because when you connect with what matters most to you, your whole body, posture and expression comes alive, from the inside-out.
How’s this little creature in the yellow dress,
with a big smile planted across her dial.
There are two bonus benefits here:
- Because you’ve become reconnected with your self, and I have been your guide for that, we become connected. I now understand you, your deeper motivations, your personal way of being, your quirks and what makes you tick. You feel seen, understood and respected.
- The camera melts away and we are now creating photos that contain heart, emotion and your personality. These stand the best chance of forming an instant and lasting connection with your audience because they are real.
These children are to die for.
They listen so intently and their expressions are so delightful!
And remember – English is not their first language.
Back to Mala:
Given that English is pretty much the linga franca these days in Berlin, (no, not German!), starting children at a young age with English is important. Parents also seek ways that for their children to connect with other children and learn something at the same time.
Mala’s Playhaus is about so much more than just improving the children’s English skills. It’s actually about giving them a safe, fun environment in which their confidence grows under the nurturing guidance of Mala.
Mala said, the reason I do this is because I want to make a difference.
Yes, Mala, you certainly do.
Can you see how much connection occurs, through every capture?
Show me how you look…surprised…angry… happy!
More animals – they move like a school of fish!
And they all jostle for position next to Mala.
In close again…everybody is listening?
She holds their attention beautifully.
A little brother-and-sister detail.
Time for a story.
Have you got your reading glasses on?
Mala reads the story and articulates every word carefully and clearly.
It’s time for them to watch and listen to her speak.
Then it’s time for scarves.
Each child pulls one out, and gets their own colour.
The soft, silkiness of the scarves is a hit.
They throw the scarf in the air
and see if they can catch it on their arm, their knee, their face.
One more chat together in the circle.
A very animated discussion takes place!
Mala sure has their attention.
A lovely hug and a stamp for you, and you, and you…
Have a look at her site, it’s rocking.
Thank you to all the children that were photographed here in this Mala’s Playhaus class.
And thank you to all the parents that so happily allowed us to capture what goes on. The images here are an authentic reflection of a normal class, nothing was changed for the purpose of the photography.
Mala good luck to you, Mala’s Playhaus is the real deal and will go a very long way.
If you run a class-based business it’s natural to assume the action is too fast or diverse to capture.
Maybe, maybe not. Shall we talk and see what’s possible?
‘Oh Beth, THANK YOU!
It brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you once again for everything!’
Mala Ghedia, Mala’s Playhaus