On Legendary Leaders & Photographers


       anything that is extremely well-known, famous, notorious, remembered, or is a legend.

      renowned in its time for the contribution made to society.

Any student of photography will quickly learn about legendary photographers. The same is true about students of leadership. Long-standing legendary names in leadership include Bennis (1982), Lewin (1942), Kotter (1996) Bandura (1977), Bass (1985), and Burns (1978). Some of my favorite legendary photographers include Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and Brassai.

Great photographers are technically sound at creating high quality pictures. They have the ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. They approach situations different, with preparation, intuition, clear goals, focus, and patients. The pursuer new and innovative results. They are known and remembered for those few photographs that make an impact and influence change. They push boundaries. They raise the bar, creating something special to which other photographers aspire.

Great leaders do the same. Great leaders are technically sound at working with people within organizations. Great leaders possess an uncanny ability to transform people and situations into something extraordinary. Great leaders have skill and intuition. They are remembers for their impact and influence for initiating and creating lasting change.

Photographers, like leaders, use the theories of their craft to experiment with and create new knowledge. The theories of photography are based on such concepts as the decisive moment, speed, depth-of-field, light, gesture, contrast, color, composition, framing, saturation, perspective, and a sense of place. Legendary photographers use their theories and skills to create memorable photographs, not snapshots.

The theories of leadership include concepts of learning and human development, world views, ethics and values, spirituality, mentoring and coaching, assessment, policies, law, research, communication, organization culture and behavior, managing human and financial resources, leading through change, and social responsibility. Legendary leaders use these theories and skills to transform, to do good, and to not cause harm.

Photography has taught me about leadership. Leadership has taught me about photography.

Anyone with a camera can take a snapshot; however, only legendary photographers create and make photographs that are remembered and treasured over time. Likewise, anyone can assume a leadership role; however, legendary leaders make a positive, lasting difference.


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