Good leaders care about their people. They just don’t say they care, they actually do. And that is demonstrated by their actions. But mostly it’s something we just feel. That care. It’s tangible. Palpable. Because it’s love.
Love makes leaders that last. Love makes leaders effective. Think about the leaders you’ve admired. There’s love there. Not authoritarianism, love.
Empathy flows from love. Affection flows from love. Love, simply, is the recognition of another heart. I love everyone I photograph. I see their hearts. I try to. And often that is reflected back.
Edward (above, or below depending on how this is posted) opened his heart to me on many occasions, not just on the day we took this photo. So I knew our time together would yield the kind of portrait you can feel, not just see.
That’s the secret to my ‘success’. If I take a great picture it’s because the person I am with is open, and willing to be seen. And that begins with me. I must also be open and willing to be seen....
It’s strange and miraculous how people come into our lives. We are each like celestial objects hurtling through space until our trajectories cross. Sometimes we collide, violently. Sometimes the dust of our comet tails intermix. And we move on, on our courses, but we are forever changed.
When I met Paul I was at a low point in my life but that was ten years ago and since then things have gotten better. During this time I encountered many angels, many helpers, whose kindness and friendship contributed greatly to my well-being. Paul was (is) one of those angels. He is a helper, a benevolent force of good, and when I would see him I would feel his energy and my state of mind would improve. He’s the kind of person I want in my orbit.
Paul is a healer. But he’s not arrogant about it. There’s no ego there. It’s true that he’s a dog whisperer, but he’s a heart whisperer too. Dogs. humans, it doesn’t matter, where there is a need for love and understanding, he fills it.
An ODE to the girl she was, an ODE to the young woman's she's become. I couldn't be more proud, and it's got nothing to do with her G.P.A. or the goals she might have scored. It's about the kind of person she's become.
An ODE is a tribute, a recognition, an homage. Our children are not photo-copies, they are whole new versions that bear an uncanny likeness, to a self, that even as adults, we hardly know.
I have, now, great hope for the future of this world because Zoë, and young people like her, are growing in numbers. She sees through unjaundiced eyes. There isn't a racist, homophobic, or judgmental bone in her body. She cares deeply about people and the environment. Her heart is large.
Adolescence is a difficult rite of passage that flashes by so fast you can hardly grasp it before it's gone. If you blink you miss it. Suddenly you find yourself sitting across the breakfast table from some young woman or young man, wondering who is this doppelganger, this person I made, so many yea...
This man came into my life through a friend who has since passed on and he is but one of her many gifts to me. I have long wished to do an ODE for him. He’s fascinating, and genuine, and one of the rare ones - a talented human being who walks his talk. Everett Harper is the CEO of Truss (https://truss.works/) the company that saved Healthcare.gov and that builds the foundational infrastructure of so many prominent web brands. But he’s also a father, a chef, a writer, a champion soccer player. When you’re with him you feel like the most important person in the room. He listens, He holds space. And that’s what we need in our leaders. That and a healthy dose of humility. That James Baldwin quote says it all.
“Is he a good dog?’ My daughter pointed at a nearby mixed breed, unsure of its disposition. “All dogs are good dogs” , I said. And I believe it. A few are scared. A few are angry. But beneath any exterior signs to the contrary every dog is lovable. And it’s the same with human beings.
I realized only recently that dogs are metaphors for us. Those of us who love dogs don’t judge them because they might be feeble, or mangy, or long in the tooth. If you’re a dog lover, you love all dogs pretty much on sight. Why isn’t it that way with people too? But that’s a bigger essay.
I guess you love what you can. There’s a woman in the park I go to who is nasty, cruel, and mean. She yells at everyone. She judges us all. But she has a dog. So she can’t be rotten to the core. She loves something and something loves her. There’s hope in that. She once told me I was going to hell. But I won’t hate her. I won’t fight her. I won’t dispute her claims. She’s just scared, or angry, or hurt, so she growls and...