Sense of Place

July 22nd, 2014
A Community Graveyard.

A Community Graveyard.

I have not spoken with many on this subject, though some of my closer friends have touched upon it with me on occasion. They do so in such a manner as to cause me to assume that most people, by and large, understand what “place” means, and how we ought to be when we visit one that is inhabited by another tribe, as it were. “Another” meaning simply a group of individuals who had not specifically invited us into a place of significant meaning to themselves.

The process is endemic to Photo Journalism as we venture forth, to see what there is to see. But really, the process of exploring a place, let alone sharing what may be there, not readily apparent to naked eye nor casual observer, begins with a willingness to listen. And I am not referring to aural imprint. Listening begins in the heart. That is where intentions form.

It really is a self educational process, that of translation of a sense of place.

This is what I like to do: go stand in a place, and experience what has been, is, and could be.

What I love doing is stepping into an area,  (frequently I have found that it is best to be barefoot) slow myself down, and with inner eyes look to see what the place has to say. Every spot on this Earth has a song to sing. Each is different. And as we endeavor to connect to that, as Artists, if we know how to be, the land, the sea, the air, past, present, the future, they will share with us.

Our knee jerk reaction will always be to share that, as a vessel, or conduit, with the world. But in doing this it is good to recognize what may have been meant for our heart only. In that is a comprehension of the sacred. That word,  sacred, meaning this: that which is set apart. Those who learn how to keep things sacred tend to be entrusted with more. It seems to be a simple universal law of sorts.

We all do well to move in reverence with some subjects. Because how we approach them, will determine what they will reveal. It is a very rewarding process, one that can enrich the heart and make for a smile of sorts. I always think of the Mona Lisa smile. It says a lot, while revealing little to the casual observer. I like that.

Below are a few images from a road trip last week with my wife, through Northern California. I did not really shoot much, though I did some stills, time lapse and motion capture. But I listened, rested, slowed down, disconnected from the digital chatter, and let the real seep back in.

This little video was crowd sourced for a project created by Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People. I love that Nahko gets all this, and it is why I share his music and message. We need that: medicine. Return to health. Cultural entropy being what it is. How we should be.

Images were all shot on the Canon 5DM2 and Canon 70D. Thanks for looking through the blog. Aloha oe.

You can click on any of the images for a larger view.

Day's End on a N Ca. beach.

Day’s End on a N Ca. beach.

The Seaglass Fairy

The Seaglass Fairy

 

A Former Community Dump now a seaglass heaven.

A Former Community Dump now a seaglass heaven.

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, Ca.

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, Ca.

 

Being in the right Place. Method matters.

Being in the right Place. Method matters.

 

Point Arena Lighthouse

Point Arena Lighthouse

 

San Francisco, Ca.

San Francisco, Ca.

 

San Francisco Nightscape

San Francisco Nightscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independence Day was Born on the Fourth of July

July 4th, 2014

Not vice versa.

This is why we consider the Declaration of Independence to be the blueprint for Liberty. It covers the underpinnings necessary for the pursuit of happiness.

It is the God given and legal architecture of these united States, with which what I term “The Suck” (which applies to those who endeavor to control and suppress independence) battles, in ever more brazen fashion, these recent decades.

Below is some beautiful verse written by my friend and colleague, photojournalist and soldier Jon Louis Blackburn. He is a proud Scot in heritage and tone, and a perfect example of what America really ought to be living.

 

Independence

Jon Blackburn

4 July 2014 at 09:51

(In Memory of Chris Kyle, Eddie Adams, and Daniel Somers)

Every Fourth of July
Is another year of names
Of brothers in arms
On the big Honor Roll in the sky

Every bomb in the air
Reminds me of the flairs
That tell the enemy our patrol is coming

Every blast is the vehicle
Being rocked by explosions
Men screaming “Go! Go! Go!”

And the smell is the smoke
Filling our vehicle
And making us cough on the dust

And the ensuing silence
Is the pregnant wait
For the air to return to the void

For the next blast
For the fight to kick in
For everything that just happened
To disappear into the future

Of all the Patriotic Holidays
The Fourth of July
Is the most meaningful for me

It is the day that joins me
To all Patriots
Future, Past, and Present

From the Shot Heard ‘Round the World
To the Officers and Men
Serving in the field today

And the ones who stand beside you
Whom you never need to notice
But there they are
In case you need them

All our wounds
All our sacrifices
All our purpose

All the People
And the Country
And the Freedom we love
Are One

Pursuit of Happiness is endemic to Independence. Best to understand how our own tolerance of others factors into that, and how this crazy, and wonderful Nation of independent zealots changed the course of human history with it’s endeavors.

Happy Independence Day in deed. That is how it comes. By doing.

Independence

Independence

 

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription copied from the Charters of Freedom http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

D Day Retrospective

June 6th, 2014
A Life of Service. Ceremony for MOH Col Lewis Millett at Riverside.

A Life of Service. Ceremony for MOH Col Lewis Millett at Riverside.

 

June 6, 2014, Today in the US, we look back on an event in WW2, remembered as D Day.

Here is the original historic dispatch from Associated Press.

CNN brings us a fantastic retrospective on D Day in this Op Ed history based feature

An amphibious assault vehicle being serviced at Camp Pendleton, Ca.

An amphibious assault vehicle being serviced at Camp Pendleton, Ca.

 

If you were a young American, British or Canadian soldier landing on the shores of France on June 6 1944, chances are you went into a very well defended series of kill zones in an early variant of an AAV. You can read a bit on the history of the LVT craft here.

Or you jumped in.

Jump Wings

Today, maybe have a little think about what these men experienced, as doors slammed open and they waded into what would be a maelstrom of metal and explosions. Maybe place yourself, in your mind’s eye, into that Historic moment, which would cull a large percentage of your brothers, and possibly you.

Or ponder what it would be like dropping in suspended by silk, a simple target for anyone with¬† a week’s training in marksmanship, let alone a hardened soldier.

Your life really was in God’s hands. Or was it? War is hell. As a Nation, we underscore that fact repeatedly,¬† with the stories of each one of our Veterans, who ever deign to share their experiences with us. I always count it an honor when one sits me down and tells me things only he or she could know. We all should.

Here is a fantastic collection of images of D Day. Our History is special, because it is simply that: ours.

I saw that Shawn was off training with the guys again this week, having just returned from leading a USCG course in Juneau Alaska. Coincidentally, I had just re processed this character portrait of her during 1st Recon training, and that was what she was up to again this week. Busy lady, Her service activity level is beyond anything I have ever seen.

Though she looks pretty tough here, she really cannot arm wrestle worth a damn.

Ms Alladio in a break from PWC training at Camp Pendleton with a LVT-AAV/ Like the PWC they are jet powered at sea.

Ms Alladio in a break from PWC training at Camp Pendleton with a LVT-AAV Like the PWC. They are jet powered at sea.

Though it is an honor to serve, the service must go both ways, or our Nation will wind up as a footnote in History not unlike that of Rome.

Why those responsible for the disaster that is the care of our people through the VA, must be held to a high accounting.

And why  honoring the memory of the sacrifices of D Day should mean so much for us all here today.

 

Memorial Day Is….

May 26th, 2014

Memorial

A culture which does not connect accurately, reverentially or beautifully with it’s past, is akin to a rudderless boat: doomed to be at the whim of waves and weather.

So today is Memorial Day. So what? Why should you or I care? Only because to not do so, is to engage in our personal demise and that of our families, and in turn, our Nation.

Wiki does a great job with relating the History of Memorial Day.

Memory Flags

In the course of my work, on a somewhat regular basis, I get the opportunity to serve the various Military Communities which heed and fulfill our Nation’s call to Arms. I take a lot of joy, and more than a little bit of concern from those experiences, home with me. I hear their stories. These affect the perception of both my own life, and what time maybe ought to be spent doing. The experience is barometric in many ways.

Everyone has a story. There are many. But this is an aspect of the tale of Memorial Day which I want to be clear about. Those whose memory we honor today perished serving us, some of them anyway. Many of the remainder who are still alive, continue to serve,  albeit possibly out of uniform.

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A classic example being two young men who I met while working on a Phoenix Patriot project. They had both had their legs blown off, and were within a year of that crisis, swooping back into life with a vengeance. When the Boston Marathon Bombing took place, those men and their comrades went to Boston to counsel the blast victims. That is how those which this holiday is founded upon, think, and act.

In this culture, currently, it is in vogue, this saying :”Thank a Veteran”.¬† My friend and colleague, Shawn Alladio of K38 Rescue, regularly calls BS on this when she writes, states and acts this out: “Don’t just thank them. Do something for them.”

So part of my day today, and small way of honoring the memory of those dead and alive, whose duty to Country, Comrade and Family is absolute, is to share a few stories.

Here is a video I created as part of a project. The song it is cut to is called Dancing Girl, and is written by USMC veteran Samuel Shoemaker and performed by the Shoemaker Brothers. In it you can see, hear and feel, some of the tableau which should be endemic within every Memorial day.

This story is entitled “Purple Heart’s Final Beat – A Soldier Suicide Story”

This link explains the Spartan Pledge. I hope everyone reading this understands. I have lived through this with great men faced with daunting challenges. As a¬† culture and community, we need to know that this exists. And we need to act to ensure our people are not slaughtered by the broken Veteran’s Administration system, which¬† I have seen first hand, abuse and hurt some of my friends and colleagues in the Military in a criminally negligent manner..

This well produced tale walks sensitive ground. Again, a service rich look at our people published through Funker 530 Veterans Community and produced by CBS.¬† Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook’s Memory is honored here.

Right now Shawn Alladio, Liquid Militia, Kawasaki and our friends are holding what they call a LM Team Weekend up on the Gaviota Coast at Rancho Dos Pueblos which very generously hosts the 5 day event. It is a campout where families of military communities meet up with the action sport and PWC communities, have fun in the Ocean, and generally just have a great time in the peace and security of Dos Pueblos Ranch’s private beach.

What Memorial Day looks like to me: Memory, Gratitude, Honor and Service.

It is why the stories matter so much. They are our strong foundation as a people. Best to do some maintenance on that when possible.

Lastly, here is a piece written by one of the single most decorated warriors in US History. The title is “War is a Racket”

It is up to us to change that.

A glimpse at what I have stood before is below. Click on any of the images for a larger view.Dos Pueblos Memorial_MG_4915 _MG_5759 _MG_7540-95 oj.adj1 copy puu.a-4277

Rescuers

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Relevance

March 25th, 2014

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Sean Tully dropped me a note the other day, which had me scrambling to find an image file we created awhile back. I could not locate the high res finals, only some low res jpegs. So I referred to the original shot file where the camera raws reside, and had a little look.

What I found was a slew of work we had not really put out into editorial at that time. I think maybe two or three from this series had become magazine covers, but the rest, had just not been relevant as far as I could tell. But today I sort of went “wow” as I found them and set to work processing the images on two new programs that did not exist when these images were collected.

In a world where we tend to chase our tales sometimes in the mindset that new equals relevant, I was pleasantly surprised that these images far surpassed every single image of a brand name surf publication which arrived at my door today in their genre.

Made me think about my own choices a bit. In short order the work will get turned over to Corbis and general editorial and used in a couple feature projects I have on the back burner. But it really gave me pause regarding my own assent to the value of my work.

Here is a rather classic piece of music. It is relevant to me in that it still means something. What does this say? I guess one would need to want it to know. Relevance. Bendictus by 2 Cellos

Anyway, below are some of those images. Click on any of them for a full, uncompressed view.

 

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© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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