From punctum to photographic coaching

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Photographs personal reading and how they are used in coaching.

Why choose (photograph) this object, one moment, rather than some other?

I would love to know what it is, in this photo, that makes me feel a sting inside me.

I see, I feel, hence I notice, I observe, and I think.

The punctum of a photo is the accident, which by itself, embroiders (but also bruises me, hurts).

In the photos occasionally a "detail" attracts me. I feel that its mere presence changes my reading, that I am looking at a new photograph, marked in my eyes with a higher value. This "detail" is the punctum.

Roland Barthes | Camera Lucida - Reflections on Photography

Photography can be light and time, document, representation, but it can also be emotion, experience, memory... Photography is made of thoughts, senses, emotions, perceptions and choices when we see something. According to Rolan Barthes, photo may have a more personal reading that includes the punctum. And it is this reading that is used in photographic coaching.

The punctum is a specific way of looking at a photograph, which develops the necessary skills for individual and independent approach to interacting with an image. A photo does not have to be beautiful or perfect to be useful in the process of personal development. Each photo selected in photo coaching is a "record" of a thought that can be extended

Coaching is a relationship, a non-directional relationship, an equal relationship. This relationship essentially works as a way of seeing things and life. Gradually this way is internalized and becomes a way of relating to oneself. Coaching is not an action, it is an interaction. It emerges as an experience, with a specific framework and interpretation. In coaching, the coachee, without guidance, contemplates, envisions and plans his plan of change. Coaching is an alliance in the direction of change that the coachee seeks.

In photographic coaching, photography functions as a thought and communication catalyst. Through techniques of asking questions on photos selected by the coachee or taken during the photographic coaching process, thoughts are activated, resources are identified to achieve the set goals.

In photographic coaching we see photos as personal records of the coachee's character traits and achievements: courage, wisdom, humanity, spirituality, justice and leadership, perseverance, balance… Photos remind people of their resources, such as values, wishes, ambitions, successes, relationships, etc, that are the keys for people in coaching to start changes in their lives, to live through these changes and to assimilate them.


  • Roland Barthes, 1980. Camera Lucida, Reflections on Photography – Translated by Richard Howard.

  • Χαράλαμπος Πετράς, 2015. Η Τέχνη του Coaching, Εισαγωγή στη Θεωρία & Πρακτική της Coaching Ψυχολογίας (2η επαυξημένη έκδοση). Εκδόσεις iWrite.

  • Dorota Raniszewska, 2019. One Image – Many Words, Photography in personal development, healing and education, Notes from a personal journey. Publisher Do Raniszewska.

  • Notes from the seminar One Image – Many Words | Photography in Coaching & Personal Development του International Coach Federation (2021).

  • Notes from the Online Vocational Education and Training Course of the Continuous Training and Lifelong Learning Center of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2017).

21 views0 comments