BRASSAI: To Keep From Going Stale

“To keep from going stale you must forget your professional outlook and rediscover the virginal eye of the amateur.” – Brassai

On a personal note:

“When I let the outside stress of having the best equipment or the most theatrical technique overcome me, my photographing spirit dies and my pictures turn stale.” –Brenda Boyd

“It’s when I remember to be an awe-struck amateur in my seeing that the camera becomes my guide to the world around me.” — Brenda Boyd

ROBERT FRANK: The Humanity of the Moment

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough – there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.” – Robert Frank

On a personal note:

I find it fascinating to analyze the current industry of photography: everyone has a camera in their hand nearly 24/7. And the creativity that is coming out of cell phones is, quite frankly, amazing. The realism of the “humanity of the moment” is then quickly posted on Instagram or Facebook.

But what Robert Frank is saying, though, is that realism is not enough. You need realism and a vision. Between the two a good photograph is made.

So what is vision? According to the dictionary, vision is the ability to see, and the ability to think about the future with vivid imagination or wisdom.

“The challenge we have as photographers and leaders is to have a vision and allow the humanity of the moment to come through.” — Brenda Boyd

YUSUF KARSH: The True Lens

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” – Yusuf Karsh

On a personal note:

How many times have I walked into a place and just starting taking pictures? Far too many. And “take” is the operative word. A photographer must not “take” photos. How selfish is that!

“A photographer must look, think, feel, and respond…not take.” — Brenda Boyd

“The heart and mind are the true lens of a legendary photographer.” — Brenda Boyd



To Photograph Is to Hold One’s Breath

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

When I want inspiration about photography I look to quotes by Henri Cartier-Bresson. The words that stand out in this quote, for me, are: hold one’s breath, fleeting reality, and physical and intellectual joy.

“Whether it is a headshot, a portrait, or a travel photo, the real meaning of photography–that physical and intellectual joy–comes when the convergence of the moment creates an image that takes your breath away.” — Brenda Boyd

“As photographers, we must always remember that when we take camera in hand, we, first, must just be in the moment, and stay in the moment.” — Brenda Boyd



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.