Archive for April, 2011

An Easter Aloha

Sunday, April 24th, 2011
Aloha

Aloha

One of my areas of interest has always been to learn about the mindset of a people, living in a place that modern man now frequently refers to as paradise,  which caused that race, a nation of free human beings, to accept the slavery that comes with the embrace of a religion. I am writing of the Hawaiians of course.

To me, the use of the word, “slavery”, it really is not as antithetical to freedom as one might suppose. To be enslaved implies a certain ownership of us by something, or someone else.

In a conversation with the writer George Orbelian, in an interview for a film called The Aloha Project, I asked George about the reasons for the Hawaiian embrace of religious servitude. He said quite simply and in a somewhat startling manner on camera: “The Hawaiians were a very highly spiritually evolved people. So for them the message of love, of sacrifice, it all made sense. It was simply the embodiment of aloha.”

In a conversation with Hawaiian Historian Tom Pohaku Stone, Tom explained that the amazing tenets of Hawaiian  civilization and spirituality caused the Kahu to look at Christianity and  go : “Your God rose from the dead. Ours have never done something like that. So they embraced the concept”

Pohaku

Pohaku

But for me as a Christian, and as a film maker, this is what I learned. My ancestors had mistaken the embrace of religion and expression of Calvinist Missionaries for the embodiment of the path to truth and enlightenment. We all know what the affect of that choice, and what it did to the Hawaiian race. But in terms of it’s spiritual existence, the Hawaiians never really died. Because they got it. That essential truth.

In the Gospel of John. (read the full account here) Jesus said this:

58“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

There it was. My answer. My ancestors chose to follow that. It was all about the story of this day. Aloha.

It does not surprise me, the manner in which the Western World brought their slavery to the world of the Polynesian people. But the irony is that when one gives something, it is given back to the giver in far greater abundance. The Calvinists may have thought themselves to be doing the Hawaiians a great service in a way, and they probably were. But what the Hawaiians did to the world at large , that gift brought a new freedom through their own sacrifice. The parallel is pretty obvious. They did not stay dead either.

Happy Easter.

Easter

Easter

BMX

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Hans

Hans

I had been immersed in a swimwear shoot and building more imagery was the last thing on my list of things to do. But Hans call came on the heels of a 16 hour day on the computer and the passage of a cold front which left a rather dramatic sky.

So I made my way out to Chez Rathje, and their private custom BMX track which somehow, had not only survived the torrential rains here on the coast, but now had a couple new ramps as well. With Spring in full bloom we managed a quick shoot with the Canon5D M2 on a boom with the strobe set to high speed synch and had a little fun.

Liquid Militia

Liquid Militia

Hans was wearing a Liquid Militia shirt. Always thinking. Liquid Militia is an apparel company which is action sport centric. As the other guys were hurriedly packing up the car for a road trip Hans got to do laps for the camera. No crashes in spite of oxygen debt.

High As It Looks

High As It Looks

Life is what occurs in the short strokes as we are busy making other plans. I love spontaneity and talented people.

Flying

Flying

Here is a Red Bull production of the amazing Danny MacAskill in, “The way back home.”

GMAC

Saturday, April 16th, 2011
GMAC

GMAC

 

Garrett MacNamara and I have been perpetually bumping into each other for over a decade now.  He and I for many years, just seemed to always be in the same place and time to see the ocean and weather coincide to produce some remarkable moments. He surfed. I shot. AFterwards we both laughed. “Wow, you were there”.

We finally exchanged phone numbers a few years back. I will not say that having the digits made things any easier to connect, but it sure makes for an extra few moments to share our very unique lives together.

I doubt that there are many watermen alive who have the good natured acumen which Garret does. Probably under 2 dozen in the world which embody the skill level, strength and aloha I have seen him demonstrate repeatedly at Jaws, Cortes Bank, Pipeline, Wiamea, Mavericks and points beyond.

He and I are team mates on K38 Rescue, a global group of ocean safety oriented rescue boat operators headed up by Shawn Alladio.

GMAC Mavs

GMAC Mavs

Garrett rang me the other day. He was passing through with Nicole and needed to borrow a wetsuit for her. He let me know he would be paddling out at the Pipe a break which I can actually see from my bedroom window. I toodled down in time to see him stroke an 8’6″ SUP into a couple.

Garrett, Afternoon Drive

Garrett, Afternoon Drive

Garrett rides every kind of board imaginable. It was funny seeing him manage the chop and confluence of a late afternoon session on such a tiny SUP. No small feat.

GMAC, Ventura

GMAC, Ventura

 

Robb Havassy: All Access Pass

Monday, April 11th, 2011
Havassy at Sacred Craft Santa Cruz

Havassy at Sacred Craft Santa Cruz

The spacious meeting hall is filled with the hustle and bustle of the curious, the sage, and the uninitiate, there on invitations from various cognescenti in the Chinese marketing and fashion world, to view a first of it’s kind offering by a new American designer, and Surfing cultural icon, Artist Robb Havassy. The show is the unveiling of the Artist’s Lifestyle and Art based apparel line: Havassy!

The seating which wraps around the reflective stage fills, the lights go to spot, the music pumps up, and this video begins to show on the facade at the back of the runway. And in synch, Robb Havassy unleashes his take on Art and Popular Culture as his models ply the reflective runway sea that bounces the concept of surfing into the waters of Chinese Culture via fashion.

Preshow Fitting

Preshow Fitting

Sitting back in my office in Ventura California, Robb’s short and often somewhat cryptic notes, and telling photographs of the event were preceded by a question regarding Facebook in China. I e mailed him back that it was IP banned there, but I would post a few images for him from here. In the exchange of e mails that ensued, I frequently found myself smiling a bit, as I realized that the fruit of Robb’s several months intense work in Southern California designing the fashion line, were being captured in this show and communicated back to me in real time.

Head to Toe Havassy

Head to Toe Havassy

The affect was that of having been able to witness something historic. Seemingly out of nowhere, this young artist had birthed a culture based Men’s and Women’s apparel line aimed at, not his peers, but a burgeoning new market, that of the young and emerging Chinese youth, who he felt were searching for a vehicle to identify with. So Robb brought them surfing and his ocean, surf, and popular culture based art.

Hand Painted and Crafted

Hand Painted and Crafted

The emotions were palpable. The line had gone from concept in California to the runway in China, in approximately three months. That meant a LOT of creative and constructive energy being focused on a myriad amount of aspects regarding international marketing, finance, and fulfillment, in addition to the nuts and bolts of creative interpretation of Art, and implementing it into a fashion sensibility that would be both authentic, and appeal to the sensibilities of the Chinese Psyche. Big project. And as is often said the show was an overnight success.

Robb de la Sol

Robb de la Sol

 

But what many do not realize about the Orange County based artist, is that he has a deep background in Fashion. Robb has been in shows as a lifestyle fashion model, for some of the most well known designers in the fashion industry, and worked with the elite menagerie which accompanies that world. His close friends run major Corporations in the Action Sports based industry as well. He gets it. That is a critical understanding to have, as one moves forward in this sort of project.

Then there is the vast depth in his Art pursuits. Robb is incredibly prolific, and his art is rich with the flavor and sensuality reserved for those who ply the global waters of surfing, nature, love and life. His work exudes all of that. So does he. It is all intensely magnetic.

I met Robb in the course of contributing to Surf Story Vol 1, which is an iconic book of surf culture that has proven to define to the world, just what authenticity is in surfing. Robb simply invited everyone he knew to contribute a story or two, and some art or photography, and published it all in a book which he laid out personally and then self published as a Limited Edition. The Surf Story Project had been a success. In fact, Volume 2 is on the way and is proving to be an even more vast expression of the passion that is Surf Culture.

My last phone conversation with Robb, prior to his leaving, was regarding some significant yet unimportant aspect of the new and emerging company which would bear his name. Creating companies, especially ones which are innovative, requires the pangs of birth. Those are unavoidable. Having been involved in a  plethora of corporation building myself, it is easy for me to read the waters of new company formation.

The last of our conversation is below.

“Robb, stop worrying this. You need to relax, and as you settle in to your seat for the flight, realize that your job is to be the foking rock star Artist and icon that you are. That is what the Chinese want. You.” And we rang off.

At the end of a runway show is the finale. In the last walk, the designer comes out with their models in a final presentation to the world. The impression is always designed to be icon building in effect. Robb had glibly and unobtrusively mentioned something he had thought about doing for awhile. I had almost forgotten it. Till I saw this photo he sent. The looks on the models faces, the audience and Robb say it all to me.

Robb Havassy, rolling out his world and life: in China. Triumph.

Havassy Fashion Finale

Havassy Fashion Finale

 

In much the same manner as a wave, “Havassy!”, has come ashore in the original land of enchantment and innovation: China. Full Circle. I am not surprised that it took an artist to figure it out.

Fluid Emerald

Fluid Emerald

 

 

 

 

 

Cuarto Negro

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011
Cuadro Negro

Cuadro Negro

 

In principle it works well, this walk in the light sort of path. But the thing about light, is that it tends to make one imminently aware of what darkness is all about.

Corbis Images, frequently sends it’s Photographers out creative briefings. One such note which I read today, was on Darkness. People seem to love to play tag with it. Darkness defined is simply the absence of visible light. The briefing got me moving inside.

Imagine a pitch black room. So deep is the pitch into which you have strode, that not even the hand in front of your face is discernible. The darkness seems palpable, like it wants to cling to your skin and stifle all.

I remember reading about a creature whose sole job was to carry that light into the infinite cuadro negro of creation. Interesting what occurred eventually. The light source uttered these words eons later: “And I beheld him fall as lightning from the heavens.”

So he is here, that light bearer.

It may be a good idea to be the light, rather than carry it.

Spinning Gold Mansion

Spinning Gold Mansion

Just a  thought.

U2 seems to get this. City of Blinding Lights.

Images shot on the Canon 5D Mark 2. Cuarto Negro using the 600 f4 IS lens. Spinning Gold Mansion using the Tokina 10-17 fisheye zoom lens.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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