What is your purpose?

By Stephanie Lloyd

Last week members of the PhotovoiceWorldwide community, from around the globe, joined together to talk about “purpose” in their lives. Each person shared a photo (or two) that they had selected and talked about their vision of purpose. Their photos represented responses to the following questions:

  • How do you define purpose?
  • What drives your purpose?
  • Where have you found purpose lately?
“Purpose is a work in progress – something I am always working towards but never sure of arriving.” photo by Laura Lorenz

The conversation moved from outdoor spaces to family to food. Some of the outside photos shared included: hiking spaces, a lake, and a mural on an empty city street. For the participants, these natural images represented connection and a way to decompress in nature to find purpose. One photo shared was a way to talk about finding purpose through a beautiful 5-day hiking journey from Bologna to Florence.

“On the Way of Gods, from Bologna to Florence by foot.” photo by Laura Si​rabella

One participant shared a photo of herself on her first day of teaching as she held hands with her daughter on her first day of Kindergarten. Another participant shared a picture taken of two photos of her grandfather as a child and a grown man, and part of a camera, as he was a photographer, like her. These interesting reflective photos seem to show us that purpose can cross generations.

Prompted by a photo of Jamaican Dukunu (Blue Draws), a corn meal snack wrapped in banana leaves, the group talked about how food brings us together as a connector. Other participants compared the Jamaican dish to Columbian or Costa Rican Tamales, Venezualan Arepas, Chilean humitas, and Polish galumpke. Through our discussion, we decided that “joining around the table is communal, and bridges many gaps.”

At the end of the conversation, we reflected on how photos can be used as a journaling tool, and can also inspire long conversations that teach us. At PhotovoiceWorldwide, we offer these photo sharing conversations as a way for people to shift from formal Zoom meetings and talk through current highlights and concerns, share and learn with others, and inspire positive action. We hope you can join us for the next one at the end of June! 

“We are in it together!” photo by Stephanie Lloyd