let’s talk [a photoplay on conversation for @thehighcalling]

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

July 28, 2011

One of my favorite activities with The High Calling network is PhotoPlay. The current project is on conversation. Claire Burge says, “Conversation is an art. Capturing it is also an art.” The challenge is to capture conversations using shared best practices, and then convert the photo to black and white (I believe to enhance the focus on the elements in the scene).

I honestly struggled with getting new photos of natural-looking conversations. When I get the camera out, it would distract the subjects, and anything after that would just come across as posed or staged. But this exercise has me looking more for where I can naturally capture conversation in the everyday.

So for now I took at look at some conversations that I already have in my Flickr photostream. Most of my photography there is (amateur) missions photography, and I was certain that I could find a few conversations there.

The first photo (above) is a conversation between myself and a few kids in the Rwenzori Mountains just outside of Kasese, Uganda. It seems like no matter where I go, I’m a magnet for little kids. We didn’t understand each other at all, but somehow were able to connect and communicate.

The next photo (below) was from that same trip to Uganda, and is of a small group break-out session from the classes we were teaching. This is what community looks like in Africa.

The next photo is from my trip in August of 2010 to Haiti. I love how the kids gathered around this one young man as he showed them some of his cool gadgets and taught them how to use some of them. I love seeing the spark and excitement that happens in show-and-tell conversations as children eagerly discover things totally foreign to them.

And the last photo is from the same trip to Haiti, but this conversation was a more personal and intimate one. Even among the many conversations happening around these two, it seems like the whole world disappeared and nothing was more important than the moment these two were sharing.

Doing this PhotoPlay has made me think about elements that are important to conversation. The words that come to mind for me as I think about the photos I’ve used here are bonding, fellowship, energizing, and personal.

What do you believe are the most important elements of good conversation?


  1. Glynn Young

    One thing necessary for godd conversation is the ability to truly listen. Listening is not a pause until you can express your next thought.

    These are wonderful photos, Dan.

    • @bibledude

      i totally agree with the idea that listening is crucial to good conversation. people seen to forget that far too often though, huh?

  2. Sandra Heska King

    I’ve always loved that first photo. And that last one is so touching. True conversation involves focus, like when the rest of the world disappears.

    • @bibledude

      i love being so wrapped up in a conversation that nothing else in the world matters. that’s when real, deep personal connections happen. those are the moments that fuel our hearts and minds. love it!

  3. Laura Boggess

    I love these, Dan. Each one tells such the story.

    • @bibledude

      each of these photos has such deep personal meaning for me. looking at them brings back such a flood of memories and emotions.


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let’s talk [a photoplay on conversation for @thehighcalling]

by Dan King time to read: 2 min