My Mind Is An Instrument For My Use
Art, pictures get to the Heart of the observer.   It is a powerful experience to contemplate a provocative image. These portraits trigger a strong response, and  the artist becomes a teacher by evoking an awareness of our inner dialogue. The Portraits below are an installation in the Miami Airport by photographer Laena Wilder.  
All these people coming and going through the Miami International Airport – who are they?

Photographer and emotional intelligence practitioner 
Laena Wilder’s new exhibition Origins and Destinations is an enchanting view of the heart of the human experience. Dozens of larger than life-size images of travelers float on the windows. Below, their stories give you a glimpse into each of their lives. Outside, the planes come and go, bringing people from one stage of life to a new. Laena interviewed travelers to learn why they were traveling, what they’re leaving behind, what they’re hoping to find. 

About the Author: 
Joshua Freedman is one of the world’s preeminent experts on developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success. Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers.

Click on his portrait to go to . 

rastaWhen travelers hurry through the Miami airport, larger than life photos of fellow travelers greet them, inspiring them to pause a moment and reflect on what unites us as humans. Part of the Origins and Destinations exhibitby San Francisco-based artist Laena Wilder, each photo has a short story accompanying it. Not only has the project moved thousands of passengers, it has blossomed into an opportunity for students in Ashley Oates’ high school photography class in New Orleans to learn about emotions and empathy.

First, students were asked to analyze the photographs as art. Then, Laena Wilder had a bigger idea. Ms. Oates, who teaches Visual Arts at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, recalls how the collaboration with Laena began.

“The artist asked the photography students to find each person’s “unique beauty” in her Origins and Destinations portrait series. Laena along with Six Seconds: The Emotional Intelligence Network are passionate about cultivating empathy. Her “unique beauty” exercise is intended to help people “see” in a more compassionate way and thereby be more accepting human beings.”

What follows are some students’ responses – made while searching and finding the unique beauty of Laena’s photographic subjects.

Makaila and Adina

Their faces emit true happiness within on their journey forward.  – Grace Payne, Freshman

Makaila and Adina show the beauty of sisterhood. The way that one girl has her arm around the other shows their connection. – Hackett Cummins, Sophomore

The unique beauty in these girls is their radiant smile giving an impression that life is amazing – you can tell by their posture alone that they are feeling good and ready to take on their dreams. – Dylon Hill, Sophomore


Rajneesh and children- Rajneesh’s beauty comes from his unspoken pride about his children because he looks so proud to be their father and blessed to have these wonderful creatures. – Grace Payne

Rajneesh’s unique beauty is his culture and his family. – Marcelo Ramsey

The kid’s shirt that says, Dad is the BOSS. Also they look very happy. – John Brannon

Rajneesh has a unique beauty of being in a family, and having the opportunity to go on adventures with his children. – Kerrie Finegan


Olga’s posture screams confidence as she stands, towering over everyone, and she struts her stuff for sure. – Grace Payne

Holding herself with a confident posture looks like a strong woman who loves to explore and experience the world. – Dylon Hill

Olga is from Russia, that can be seen in her clothes and facial features. Her build looks like she might be a gymnastic or some kind of trapeze artists.   – Robby Mills



Armando’s picture shows beauty because it seems as if there is a slight smile in his stern face. – Hackett Cummins

Armando looks tired from the day and overworked but relieved that he is alive for another day.  – Grace Payne

The unique beauty in this picture is that you can’t really tell what he is thinking. You can’t tell if he is happy, sad or mad. I think it makes the picture more interesting, because you are trying to figure out what his thoughts are.  – Eugenie Philipson

There are several more examples in this article. To read them click on the portrait of Joshua and visit 
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