Posts Tagged ‘David Booth’

Small Town, Big World

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Bobby Hart gets it.

Bobby Hart gets it.

I get a global look at things through my photography business, which has web strands anchored to many countries. I see something first hand, that many do not have the personal luxury of acquiring: a broad economic  and cultural perspective.

This country is in the single greatest period of change and challenge since the Great Depression. So what to do, as assets dwindle and fiscal potential narrows? For the answer,  look to the past.

About a year ago, a group of people met in my little town. There were a series of meetings actually. No official city committee was involved. No State or Federally appointed grant commissions were tapped. The consensus was, that our town was hurting, and consequently, change was being wrought that could forever alter the things that make Ventura a unique and authentic place to live.

Christmas Wishes and Our Friends

Christmas Wishes and Our Friends

My friend and colleague Shawn Alladio, (also a member of “Team Betty” as Donna calls her girls)¬† runs another global scope company called K38 Rescue. Shawn always tells me that doing something, action of some sort, is the best answer one can give. Too many people forget that action part.

So that group did something. Each one. Individually and collectively. Even as some saw the US fiscal collapse bring the fight to survive right to their front door, they resolved to contribute. They became agents of change.

I am not talking about peanut sized problems. Some of these people lost homes, businesses, commercial holdings, marriages teetered. It is the stuff we read about occurring in that Great Depression: suffering.

It is no secret that in many ways, American Small Business is the fiscal backbone of this country. But what happens when a Government gone over large and linked to big business, looses focus and leaves Small Business in the lurch? What then?

The answer lies in your own community. Each member has assets of a sort, but more to the point each PERSON is the single most important asset that there is. People are what matters in this world of ours.

When a community comes together, it is entirely possible to fabricate a cultural and economic micro climate that can be vital, and buck National trends. My home town of Santa Barbara has always done this. It is one of the reasons I know this works. SB has always maintained a fiscal integrity separate from the rest of the US. Even now.

Many people think that it is due to the uber rich living there. That has not been my experience. As someone who ran businesses there starting at the age of 15, I learned that SB was a microclimate unto itself because of its sense of community. Santa Barbara works together.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

So I had a look back at the past. There are many stories that have stood the test of time, that have brought hope. People need hope. So we tell stories. It is what journalists and photographers do.   But the world requires action to be taken as well.  Being stuck at home, due in part to the collapse of paper publishing, I began to organize my own resources as a writer, photographer and film maker, and turn my global focus back on to my own community. It is not unlike what one would do as a child: playing with a magnifying glass.

For the first time, my own town would become my primary focus, along with the imagery that has contributed so much to my commercial library. Hopefully things would warm up as a result of the action of my own magnifying glass in our chilly local economy.

So “This Is Ventura”, a video montage, was created to communicate what makes my town unique. It showed first as an expression of gratitude during Artwalk. It may, in title at least, become the calling card for a collective of local residents to unify a town by focusing on small business and the tenets of inter community support.

Community involvement makes for a more robust source of income for the City and allows for the advance of Art, Culture and Creativity, which in turn provide a foundation of hope. It is a strong hedge against the forces which seem to be dragging our country into the gutter.

Last week, my friend Kat Merrick, (one from that original group) via Facebook, let us know that she was planning a get together at a local Restaurant and bar. Jonathan’s is located across from Mission San BuenaVentura.  Well known local musicians, Bobby Hart, Eric Lemaire, and others, were going to perform. It would be a good time.

My girlfriend, Donna Von Hoesslin, who heads up yet another globally connected small business that is based here (Betty B) told me that she was in desperate need of images for a new line of jewelry which is designed by members of Team Betty.

Donna Von Hoesslin

Donna Von Hoesslin

So we dropped in on the party at J‚Äôs, sat in the window booth and shot the girl‚Äôs designs there as Bobby and crew rocked. Typically we would do this away in some distant land, or somewhere on the coast. Definitely not associated with any particular business. (I actually have developed a penchant for Ventura night, street shoots) But deciding to both take care of Betty B‚Äôs business needs, and provide bodies, texture and a few extra dollars to the day’s till at J’s, allowed for an exponential increase of benefit for everyone involved.

Here is a video that explains in 4 minutes, the gist of Donna’s remarkable company. We did the piece for the Intuit Small Business United program. It helped Donna win a 5000 dollar grant from Intuit, which she used to help fund her Bali expedition.

On Bali last season, Hailey and Sierra Partridge, Jeanette Ortiz, Mary Osborne, and Donna, did a Betty B design trip. Each one of the girls worked with the local artisans who comprise a portion of Donna’s creative team, to produce collection pieces that exemplified themselves as ocean connected women. Each young woman then selected a cause or charity, whereby Betty B would donate a portion of the income from sales of each piece.

Donna‚Äôs company is a very active member of yet another organization, which was the brainchild of Ventura’s Chouinard family (Patagonia), which is called One Percent for the Planet. Through One Percent, Donna and other companies support David Booth‚Äôs fantastic Organization, the East Bali Poverty Project, which literally is changing the face of Bali, by educating the youth on their connection to the environment via the Arts and cultural action.

So with our country on the ropes, it all starts here. With me. With you. In our own back yard.

The answer is right there in your community: your dollars are a part of your voice. Now do something. Do it for yourself. Do it for your town. But more importantly: do it. By acting locally you affect Globally, as well as Nationally. Do it.

A Global Doorway

A Global Doorway

This song from John Mellencamp is very appropriate. Our past is our future. It begins today.

So after several days of post production that Betty B shoot has 120 images in the final edit. Those images will go various places. General commercial use for Betty B, the girl’s individual projects, to my agency rep at Corbis images, and to various editorial concerns that continue to use my work. I never know where an image will find an eventual home. I am often pleasantly surprised to see a billboard, or international ad campaign base itself on my work.¬† But it is especially nice to know that those moments were created here,¬† in Ventura, California.

The following montage is from that Betty B shoot at Jonathan’s,  and is an example of what the group, which has taken the name of Totally Local VC, wants to do: bring us all together. Together, we win. Click on any of the images for a larger view, and to toggle through as a slide show.  Then go patronize a local merchant, and change your world.

The Artist as Asset

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Outward Bound

Well, I am home again. Sort of. Bali, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Central Coast California for a half day. It has been a long last month or so of being “on the road” building assets, which basically means creating content in stills and motion picture to be used in roughly a dozen ongoing projects.

The Canon 5D Mark 2 established itself as a ground breaking piece of equipment for someone like me. The things that a creative operator can do with it will prove to re define cinematography as time passes. Here is a great link that details some of the work arounds you will need, should you decide to convert to DSLR high definition motion capture.

But now that truly flexible low cost tools are in place and content acquisition has become more simple than ever before, what will determine the bar of content? Now more than ever it will come down to the ability and perceptions of the artist.

Developing yourself as an asset means being able to do a large variety of different types of work on the fly. Bruce Brown once told me that the key to success was keeping a crew small. This recent trip was a great illustration of small being efficient as Aaron Marcellino, Donna and myself basically were the complete production crew. It worked well, as we were able to navigate the complexities of a traveling production and just returned home with 16 time lapses, 18 hours of motion and approximately 3000 stills. It will all convert to an 80 minute film based on the experience of what amounted to a humanitarian-creative pilgrimage of sorts for Betty B, Donna’s eco sensitive line of fashion accessories and jewelry and four of the women who represent her company.

Right now multiple projects loom and I realize that it may get difficult catching up on things like family obligations and wading through the huge amount of post production this excursion generated. Looks like I leave for SF again shortly and then head out into the desert for a music video shoot with Tyler Swain and Rob Dafoe. Time to make lists and build a calendar again.

The images below are a small cross section from the trip, in pretty much a chronological order. Many of the images are stills studies shot in the course of building time lapse or motion picture footage for our upcoming film. You can see why the artist becomes your primary asset in production in looking at this tiny slice of our content. The footage is amazing. I could never have done this a year ago without a huge crew, and the irony is that with a huge crew, you could not do this either without spending a lot more time and money.

Seth Godin explains how content communication is changing our world a bit right here.

New tech! Sent along by Dan O Donnell

The future is here for the independent artist. Everything works at last.

View from our room on BaliMary O and CeningenHailey at Villa GayatriPlumeria StrandDonnaDavid BoothDouble TroubleJeanetteSteamer Lane. CaliforniaA young Rym Partridge by his Grandmother, Imogen CunninghamUnion Square, San FranciscoUnion Square DawnSan Francisco SundownGolden Gate Home: Ventura

Bali Journal 3: A Day Apart….

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

EBPP Celebration

Sometimes will drop into your life announced. But in our case we had plenty of advance warning.

A couple years back, Donna and I had met David Booth and learned of the work he had accomplished through his organization, East Bali Poverty Project. This morning, as we rolled down the gravel drive of Villa Gayatri in Ubud, with Gusti at the wheel, planning, hope and circumstance had four of Donna’s company icons-ambassadors and film maker Aaron Marcelino  aboard for the 2 hour drive into the mountains of East Bali.

We had been invited to attend a festival where most of the children who had been educated through the project would be participating in one great big party of sorts. That much we knew for sure.

In 1998 David Booth had found the tribe which had been cut off from Balinese society by circumstance and the simple fact that no one thought to ever look for them. No one is exactly sure where the tribe came from but suspected that maybe it had been Lombok, due to the people bearing a strong resemblance to those who reside on that island.

A volcano eruption, poor diet, a persistent problem with goiter and a few other environmentally related issues had combined to provide a lack of real history due to memory loss. In effect, these people are the tribe that the world had forgotten. Such was the poverty endemic to the area when David found them, that they themselves knew little of their ancestral past. In terms of Western understanding THAT is true loss and deprivation: not having a history. No connection to anything. The ability to smile which is such a part of Balinese culture: it was simply not there.

I will not attempt to communicate how EBPP exactly restored hope and at he same time implemented the tribe as a model of social and environmental restoration right now. I will simply say that the feat is of such scope, that as I met and interacted with the children this day I had a hard time keeping back the tears, because I understood that not only did these children have hope, but that a future now exists where only death and oblivion had loomed prior.

We are hard at it, and time is short for writing and imaging, but I hope that in future I will have more available, in order to tell the complete story.

So I will let the images do the talking. And later the motion picture may as well, document this day that occurred in a dry river wash in the lee of the volcano which had almost obliterated a tribe.

They are back. And in their return, David Booth has shown us a way that we can transform our own society potentially. It is a great story that will make the world smile. We all need hope. No matter what our lot in life.

At days end, at the home and in the temple of our friend Gusti Made Merta, prayers of thanksgiving went up, Christian with the Hindu. And you realized what the affect of a life could be, and for some maybe ought to be and for a few will be. Hate, division and separation are odd and common bedfellows. Love is a better way.  It is much stronger. We saw the affects of it today.

The Drive

The Drive

Pit Stop: The Road Up.

Pit Stop: The Road Up.

Children of EBPP

Children of EBPP

Must NOT Smile (She did)

Must NOT Smile (She did)

Beauty

Beauty

David Booth, a Child's View

David Booth, a Child's View

Sidelined for a Moment

Sidelined for a Moment

A few tents in sandy wash

A few tents in sandy wash

Weaving and Sowing Vetiver grass

Weaving and Sowing Vetiver grass

Games

Games

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Ready Set...

Ready Set...

What an Ambassador really does.

What an Ambassador really does.

Mary and David Booth and  a couple hundred friends

Mary and David Booth and a couple hundred friends

Dance

Dance

Ecoturin: Sustainable Culture

Ecoturin: Sustainable Culture

A Bali Journal: 2

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
Kuta Sunset

Kuta Sunset

Another amazing day here on Bali. Fashion and art imaging work followed by carefully choreographed motion picture work. So happy to have Aaron Marcelino on board. He worked his first stint ever as a Director today and did pretty darned well.

Spent several hours in Denpassar interviewing East Bali Poverty Project’s David Booth and learned more of the amazing story of redemption of a remote tribe in the mountains of East Bali. One of the more incredible tales I have ever heard, it was hard to keep a clear eye as tears kept wanting to come. I will save the story for the film. But tomorrow we all head over to participate in a celebration with a LOT of children and David’s staff. We will leave Ubud at about 5:30 am for the 2 hour drive.

Post interview Jeanette and Mary O arrived. We all streaked for Kuta at about 10 mph since rush hour in Denpassar is basically time to never be in a rush lest you go crazy. Motorbikes and every odd looking vehicle imaginable turn the two lane highway into three. It is pretty hilarious. If it were So Cal there would be bloodshed, but the dear Balinese take it all in good natured stride.

Finally at the beach we scrambled to unload and get a boat out to the 3-5  foot offshore lefts of Airports, which as the name implies is just off the runway. Sunset was a stunner replete with reds, purples and oranges and offshor spinning lefts.

So tonight back at our villa in Ubud I am surrounded by the people I love. I cannot believe we are all together and tomorrow we get to meet the children the world forgot, but David Booth found!

The images below are a few from today’s richly fulfilling take.

Sierra for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Sierra for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Hailey for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Hailey for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Betty B Girls Kuta Beach

Betty B Girls Kuta Beach

Sierra, Jeanette, Mary, Donna, Hailey

Sierra, Jeanette, Mary, Donna, Hailey

Mary at Airports, Kuta Beach

Mary at Airports, Kuta Beach

Baliripper

Baliripper

Kuta Sunset

Kuta Sunset

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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