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  • Writer's pictureKaren Ollis, SilverFox

Life as a Table

As a photographer a key characteristic to my craft is being observant studying the world around me wherever I find myself. When I first started capturing pictures it was of unguarded family moments. In doing so I learned about human interaction and individual personalities. To this day I enjoy people watching. If you’ve ever been the subject of my watching then you know I study rather intently. Not trying to be creepy, I just enjoy observing how people interact with each other and their environment.

The other day I went to the Cleveland Museum of Art to get inspired from different stimulus. While my eye for art got satisfied I also enjoyed people watching. I was drawn to the area containing tables and the people populating there. It is amazing to me how a table can create a focal point for those gathered at a piece of furniture.

Psychologists have pointed out that a sense of family can be nurtured by sharing a dinner time meal… the occasion to check in with one another at day's end, share events, elations and even problems encountered. It’s a place where intimacy and safety can be found and built upon. Parents can use the time to instill life lessons when helping a youngster resolve an issue or celebrate those moments and events of success. It can also be a place where grievances are aired. Everyone seated, equally aligned on a level playing field and looking at each other.

It’s no wonder that in business there are conference tables for team gatherings. Those teams in a sense extensions of that family theme. Whether for planning sessions, reviews of progress, or negotiations these are gathering points to unify. Regardless of the docket, the purpose is in sharing experiences and knowledge through interaction. Language spoken and unspoken body language punctuate most conversations. The true art of relating may in fact be in listening and taking in all relative information presented visually and through sound.

It's poignant to remember that everyone brings something to the table whether there is alignment or not, each person brings a valuable point of view, experiential knowledge and relationship to the topics of discussion. It is a time of sharing. Yet opinions are the hard edge to most disagreements. We all have opinions and the choice in picking battles. Convince not, said the wise man who appreciated the difference in the colored array of variety. To do so requires security in value to each.

I think it's important to remember that we who gather may not agree on some topics, methods or direction but we are brought together at a table to relate for a greater purpose and hopefully that is a positive and forward moving purpose with greater perspective and good in mind.

In my observation Life is a table. We can gather together around it to share a meal, family time or a business meeting. The table is a symbol almost like an altar. So the next time you gather with friends or family or business associates know that there is something almost sacred about the action of coming together at a round, square or rectangular table creating moments that can be life changing. And if the food is good, it's a win for everyone! Savor the time together as an opportunity to gather and share.

about the author: Karen Ollis is an experienced photographer specializing in studio portraiture, and environmental on-location portraits for editorial stories, PR and marketing testimonials. instagram @ollisphoto

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