Her words have been reverberating in my head for a couple of weeks now. “Be Biased”
I heard her talk, “Translating Science into Poetry“, at the first Write the Docs conference earlier this month. She did the unpredictable – applied principles from poetry to science. Daniya Kamran was her name. I attended the conference to deliver Sketchnotes: Communicating Complex Ideas Quickly but benefitted most from listening.
She covered 6 techniques used in poetry that were applicable in science. One of those principles was “Bias”. There was a poem which she used to illustrate this principle. I’ve forgotten the name. Something about a glorious morning. Not a neutral, scientific dew-pointed morning, but a morning to make you dance. “Be biased” she said. People crave an opinion, they want an expert, they don’t want to have to do all the thinking required to come up with that opinion. Be a shortcut for them.
I was guilty of what she charged – being professionally objective and….neutral. I could see that I had withheld my greatest gift, my uniquely developed opinion from my experience and study. And it was making my life much less interesting.
Yet not so in photography. With a camera it is impossible not to have a point of view. You chose what you point the camera at and you chose how to compose the frame. The photographs I like most express personal vision through a unique voice. Two quick examples:
- Aaron Ansarov thinks Portuguese Man O’ Wars are beautiful. You will too when you see his work.
- Natan Dvir thinks NYC billboards overwhelm people. You will see what he sees when you see his work.
in her article on AppWhisperer titled, “What is Vision, What is Voice” Cindy Patrick, an award-winning iPhoneographer and fine artist, writes:
All the artists and photographers I admire have one thing in common. They each have a unique style.
She goes on to say that style has two components: what YOU see (vision) and how YOU communicate that (voice). Vision and voice together are a bias, a point of view.
Since this awakening to the value of bias, I’ve opined more generously, without strings attached. I’ve discovered that the short path to being influential is to express an opinion (I believe “X” because of 1, 2 and 3) and then to have a dialogue. I am both influencer and influenced. Be Biased. Have Vision and Voice.
Thank you Daniya.
If you can find the video of her talk please let me know. I’d like to add it to this post.
- Bias on the World Wide Web (kathleenmgallagher.wordpress.com)
- Write the Docs: Daniya Kamran – Translating Science into Poetry (andrewspittle.net)
- Those Algorithms That Govern Our Lives by Kevin Slavin (videos.liftconference.com)