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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 24-Jul-09


Friday 24-July-09

Photos in the office

Have you got photos pinned up in the office? Do other people have photographs? What do people think about this? What does it say about you?

Recent research showed that family photos show you as a more 'normal' human and can spark conversation. However, there are many traps! If you have too many photos it can also send the message that you care more for your family than about your work. One photo is best and going above three is over-doing it.

Photos of pets can also show you as a caring person, though the nature of the pet in question will also carry a message. A golden labrador says 'gentleness and loyalty', whilst a couple of pit bull terriers would signal aggression.

You can also have pictures of cars, holiday pictures and so on, but always consider what they say about you. In particular beware of 'showing off' photos that just cause envy, disgust and dislike. So if you have a fifty foot yacht, a photo of it that says 'I'm richer than you' may not be so clever. Another classic trap is photos of you with celebrities. This visual version of name dropping has also been shown to make you less popular as you effectively distance yourself from 'ordinary people.

Personally, I'm an amateur photographer and sometimes put up photos I've taken. I don't leave them up for long as that would be boring and new photos create interest. I also don't always have photos up, which adds an element of surprise when I do. Many photos are of the great outdoors, which brings a freshness to the office, though I also use people shots which say I like people too. I don't use photo frames as that makes an informal subject too formal -- I just pin laser printouts to the partition.

In practice, I don't choose photos for their effect but I do always consider the effect they might have. The selection is thus reasonably honest and says something of who I am. I'm pretty comfortable being me, so that's fine.

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