“ Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one
that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant.”

Henri Cartier Bresson “ The Decisive Moment”, 1952

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Human Spirit- A Small Glimpse into the realm of understanding the Human Spirit and How It Relates to Leadership

"Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man."

Edward Steichen at The Family of Man, 1955

"The Family of Man (MoMA Exh. #569, January 24-May 8, 1955) was composed of 503 photographs grouped thematically around subjects pertinent to all cultures, such as love, children, and death. After its initial showing at The Museum of Modern Art in 1955, the exhibition toured the world for eight years, making stops in thirty-seven countries on six continents."

Vivid Images that tell a Human Story

 Note about Alfred Eisenstadt - Father of Photojournalism 

"Kissing the War Goodbye"

Happiness- After The War! 1945 NYC - Victory over Japan 
Navy Soldier grabs a woman in the street during the parade. 


There are so many GrEATS!!!! 

Robert Capa - One of the most famous war photographers in all of HISTORY!  THe Best Combat photographer of his time! Died in 1954 - Killed from stepping on a land mine (Indo-china) and killed at the age of 40. 
His work is Famous in Life Magazine the Famous D-Day - Invasion of Normandy - Photos were taken of soldiers on Omaha beach in France. Covered in water.. shots firing everywhere. The Magnificent Eleven who are fighting for their lives seeking shelter from German machine gun fire. 

Life Magazine said about Capa " Capa had to get ahead of the soldier and turn his back on the action."  
He never thought for a second to be afraid. He had to get the shot! 

Dorothea Lange 

Extremely powerful photographer in that she is well recognized for documenting the era of "The Great Depression" and how it affected America on a very grand scale involving every day people.  She inspired future documentary photographers. She documented migrant workers and the poor. 


And while it could never be possible for me to provide you with a full history lesson on all of the "GREATS" of documentary, visual photography at it's best, I can wholeheartedly tell you that they inspired me. And so I will start by saying that true leadership in accordance with the many things presented here is INSPIRATIONAL! - GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE!  They gain experiences beyond the realm of personal understanding, they have compassion and tolerance. 

Turkiye- A country of Great Pride and Divide

Turkey - the Famous Blue Mosque - Most honorable mosque in Istanbul. Men Kneel to pray after being called to prayer. Women pray in a separate area in the mosque and you must take off your shoes and be fully covered.

"You can step off  the plane and know you are in a new land. However, it is when you experience the lives of the people in this new land and try to understand them, is when you experience something new and grow in your perspective."
The Paradox- Women in Turkey- The generations share some of the same ideals but certainly not the the same time period.  Turkish women of the 21st century desire to be progressive and secular.

"Good Leaders are tolerant and empathetic. They see others who are unlike them and they try to understand their story because the new experience becomes a culmination of authentic insight and genuine tolerance. "
Election time in Turkey 2007

Locals swimming and socializing.

Women in Turkiye 2007
 Istambul- years away from the ottoman empire
The Bosporus separates the Mediterranean  side with the Aegean side.
There are a variety perspectives that ask whether Turkish ideals lean towards secular westernization.
Current Refugees include Syrians, Afghans and Iraqi's
President Erdogan just struck a deal with Europe to return Turkish people seeking asylum in Europe.

And so with the great flux of migration there are many concerns. Women in Turkey play the largest role in the institution of family and the generations of Women in Turkey face an authentic clash with religious conservatism and western secularism.

 Thailand- Koh Samui  2009
Hard working people preparing their boat to catch fish for the day. Some of them are local restaurant owners , some are suppliers.

"Good leaders understand a variety of perspectives (all ages all backgrounds)- They bring people together and make people feel good."

 Beijing - 2008 The Birds Nest - The Olympics

The Culture - Perspectives - A place in the "Sun"?

New York 2012
" Leaders try to have patience, they rely on their soft skills to be more understanding, more empathetic." 
Montreal 2011
Jazz in Montreal 2011

Napoli - December of 2011- Jan 2012- Culture, Food, Life, Love ... "As Simple and as Hard as that Sounds" Italian culture - simplicity... love affair with food.. the migration.. search for a better life. the market.. the meats and the money


:The Lotus"   There is an old Egyptian traditional legend about a special flower called the Lotus", otherwise known as the waterlily. Believed to be the flower of light and spirituality, the lotus emerges from the depths of the muddy swamp.  Absent are the benefits of solid foundation of rich soil, it forces its way into the air reaching out into the light and the sun. Aesthetically, the lotus has nothing, wants nothing nor wishes for nothing more but to reach the light. Only to find itself to be one of the most beautiful flowers known to man.

"The Lotus Tattoo - The Woman 2009 - I photographed her, I spoke to her, I respected her.. above all else."

Good Leadership "is about gaining perspective, understanding new people in new environments and finding the compassion and insight in trying to grapple with what they had to experience. I find that most people are willing to tell their story if you listen. They want someone to understand it. I often find they want their story to be told. " 

 Llyods Harbor- The Yogi - The Love Story - She came here to follow the band she was the groupie - then she met the drummer and married him.. she became the YOGI

Love at First Sight - To Be a Mother 2011


Diagnosed with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia from the moment she was born. Her parents had a priest at her birth. Emma was born without breathe at 3 pounds.
Within 48 hours she had her first surgery. Doctors had to move all of her organs back into place. her vital organs were in her chest cavity crushing her lungs.

Seven days later they had to have parts of her intestinal cord realigned because it tethered on her spinal cord. Many of her surgeries were performed to keep the ribs from crushing the lung.

Emma only has one lung.

35 surgeries and nine years later- Emma draws, plays soccer and basketball. She is a very happy child of three sisters. Her Majek Rods keep her spine aligned and her mother keeps her spirits ALIVE!

Emma is a Twin

SHe is one of three girls -  Is this story about Emma? Perhaps- Perhaps it is not.. perhaps it is about faith, a mother's strength, hope and tolerance. Perhaps it is about fragility and gratitude.
'" Part of being a great leader is to understand the complexities and competencies  of the individual (s) you are leading. This understanding certainly should come from experiences globally. However, this tolerance and compassion and understanding can stem from stories right here in our backyard. They INSPIRE US- GOOD LEADERS ARE INSPIRED and in turn , THEY INSPIRE OTHERS

Brooklyn, NY

The Rebuild of a spirit - Nation and Heart! 2011

Part of the "Spirit of Montauk"

"To have a conscience is worth a thousand witnesses" - San Jose, Costa Rica 2010
"Good Leadership has many dimensions including the ones that lie beneath the surface." 
Costa Rica is economically independent. It does continue to strive to reduce poverty and drugs making their way from nicaragua and columbia. The country as an entirety is relatively safe and prides itself on its beauty and self reliance> It does relish in its tourism and coffee. Costa Ricans are mostly of Spanish descent with African lineage.  Costa Ricans are primarily catholic and the people are considered polite . Gender roles are still maintained. Women of today do balance work with domestic roles.

 Texas Pride - " The Lone Star State" Austin - The Spanish Legacy and the freedom to become the republic of Texas.. the battle of Alamo - TExas Independence.
 Barbeque- San Antonio


Terence & Mary Tully - NY 2017

The LOVE STORY- "He Waits Every Day for Mary to Arrive - He Waits in the Sun Room. He waits with longing. When she arrives he is alright with the world."

The stories themselves create an impact on our understanding of others. This is part of our social experience. Social experiences make us good leaders. We may not know the whole story, we may not understand every aspect of the story. Although, we try to. We listen, we learn, we take risks, we ask, we show compassion and provide insight when necessary. We humble ourselves and learn from others. We care.

 The met in 1959 and married in 1961. Terence just arrived here. He is an Irish Immigrant. They have been in love for over 55 years and survived the death of two children. One daughter at one month old and another at 44 years old to cancer. Terry and Mary hold hands for hours every day. She comes to sit with him every day but Friday. "That is the day I do our laundry" Mary and Terry are the quintessential love story. His stroke caused him to lose his ability to say a word. He has not said a word in over 10 years and they communicate. What can we learn from them? Mary was an orphan raised by an abusive foster mother. Terry is one of 12 and an irish immigrant.. What I learned is that there is true love in gratitude and sense of belonging.

 "The Love Story" transforms us. It inspires us! It protects us and gives us a visual perspective of communication, compassion, goodness and comfort.

"I comb his hair, shave his face and cut his nose hairs." says Mary. " He is the love of my life."
 Understanding this personal story helps me understand what brings people together and keeps people together. This inspires me to gain more insight into the realm of compassion and longevity. I feel compelled to know their story and of course to share it. 

  Good Leadership is MODESTY, HUMILITY and CURIOSITY!

He has not said a word since his first stroke in 2004. He has a feeding tube and a trachea. Although they have not exchanged a word in over 10 years, their love speaks volumes. They have enough history to tell a thousand stories. 

Terry understands everything although he cannot speak a word. During the interview when I asked about their love he pointed to her pocket book. Mary exclaimed " he is being funny. He is referring to my Elvis Presley pocket book. I was always in love with Elvis." She laughs and so does Terry.  Both the couple and the pocket book are captured in a time capsule.

 We still kiss and hug says mary.  He cries when I leave here.

When asked how they would describe their love “Straight from the heart” says Mary. You have to throw bad times away. (she flips her hand) I flip my hand.. throw it away.. forget it. It does not pay to hold on to things. Only good things you keep. Good is worth keeping.

Friendship- Long Island, NY 2010  " Aristotle said - "Without good friends no one would choose to live although he possessed all other goods."

Sonia- Bronx,  NY 2006 " Ah Sonia-  A mother's Journey - a Heartache, a Victory, a long road" 

 The Spirit of the Photographer
What Have I learned? I learned that gaining experiences and taking risks help shape me into a person who desires to be a good leader. I learned that showing compassion, listening and understanding through a visual language that the natural drivers of communication are the desire to KNOW THE STORY< UNDERSTAND THE STORY AND EVERY ONE HAS A STORY! 

Through my experience as a photographer, a teacher a business woman, an intern, a mother, a daughter a wife.. 

What makes a good leader? 
Working hard from the ground up
visually understand what you see and make it tangible in business
Overcome fear, take risks,, be humble, gain confidence

Serving rather than gaining- open mindedness

" So I have all of these stories in my mind.. all of these stories I told today..Many I did not tell....  Then of course there is my story that I did not tell. The story of my parents and grandparents. The story of where I came from . The immigrant story.  Then the question is what in fact is the purpose of my being here today to tell these stories, to understand them and tell them? Quintessentially, the purpose in fact is to allow you ... the next generation to go out there with the soft skills necessary to go out there and be a leader, to envelope in global awareness, to be able to understand people and perspective.  The purpose is to be inspired. To inspire others. We have to be open enough to be inspired. We are all part of the human story. In essence , that is fundamentally what this is all about. The spirit and its inspiration and its worthiness. In realms of being a good person and in fact a good leader. Because essentially to be a good leader requires us to be a good person." 

Thank You