Posts Tagged ‘gabe witmer’

Hyperbole

Monday, March 14th, 2011
Love's Secret Domain

Love's Secret Domain

This is a little deviation from the Loves serialization. Though the subject does relate.

The other night, I got roped into doing something I rarely ever endeavor. My son invited me to a “dive bar” to see him play. He had been working on creating a band to perform his music, and the never visited “hole in the wall” on a section of Ventura’s Main St, was to be ground zero for a shake down performance.

Josh Slavin is the stage name for Joshua Pu’u by the way. (People keep asking me.) I usually sort of just smirk. Hyperbole is everything.

His rather complex interpretation of music and performance was pretty much nailed in Seth Godin’s blog today. Bring me stuff that’s dead please. Josh is doing this. I was impressed when I finally figured it out.

It had been a busy week for Josh. One of our local papers, the VC reporter had done a little story on him. That sort of adds a  subtle layer of pressure. Especially when one spends all of their time writing, designing, and recording, pretty much alone. Guitar lessons, vocal lessons, plying the music scene in LA. Josh had delved into most of that on his own, in pursuit of interpreting something pretty much dead.

His new band shows a lot of promise. The complexity of their music and level of performance requires the refinement of a hundred dive bar performances, but that is how a craft is honed, one swing of the axe at a time. It never was lost on me that term: “axe men” for guitarists.

The process was related to me by my friend Samuel Shoemaker, who fronts a band with his brothers, called of course, The Shoemaker Brothers. (Those lyrics say everything.) Sam told me the story of them leaving home in Washington, and playing their way across the US and back, one performance at a time, each night ending with loading their gear back into their van and moving along. Zuri Star has related similar dues paying, and craft building performance campaign tales. It is just how becoming good works, in anything: one must undergo a trial by fire. The grand test is whether it ever matters of course. That is the risk. Life is lived  in a handful of moments. A career is like a fuse. Artists know this.

Here is a great NPR piece on Neil Diamond finding his music and voice.

At the end of the night, it was Josh alone in the corner of the bar. That said a lot. Because I know that for any performer, when all is said and done, it all comes back to being willing and able, to stand and deliver.

Artists are brave Mofos.

Here is the Music Video our group did for Josh and Love’s Secret Domain, for the song, “No Substitute”.

Here is a gallery of Art based branding imagery that I produced for LSD. I do a lot of this for a variety of clients and artists. It is a bit of work, but as in all creativity, when passion and inspiration rises, the hours shooting and interpreting in post seem to slip by un noticed, till at the end of the day, eyes a little gritty feeling, one swings open the door to the outside, and wow, another day in a life just passed. Glad that it mattered. Hope that is does for someone besides me.

The images were shot as we filmed the music video. The performers are Josh Slavin and Gabe Witmer.

Click on any of them to toggle through as a slide show.

Sliding into 2011: Year in Pictures

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Golden Reflection

Golden Reflections

This link is to a new piece by Zuri Star called Keep Holding on. It fits the New Year quite well.

It seems that all around us this past year there was friction. In fact, I found myself enmeshed in three massive battles, all at the same time. I did not author those. I simply said “no” to three entities I saw as abusive of my fellow man, community and Ocean Environment.

friction |ˈfrik sh ən|
noun
the resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another : a lubrication system that reduces friction.
• the action of one surface or object rubbing against another : the friction of braking.
• conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions : a considerable amount of friction between father and son.

So as we close out 2010 here are a few things to lubricate the road ahead.

A fantastic treatise on “love”, from the eyes of babes.

How to change the world completely, one girl at a time: The Girl Effect.

Beauty that matters. Sent along by Fernando Ismerio. A stunning high speed (slow motion) look at the oceans.

Seth Godin on 2011

Best to use lubrication when you have something big to move.

Because as it stands, anything worth attaining must overcome the things that impede progress and the only lubricant that sustains that in our lives is love.

Perfect love casts out all fear. (John 4:18) Fear is a mind killer

Easily said.

Lubricate.

Do it.

The images below are a small selection that are my Year in Pictures gallery. Click on any of them to toggle through as a slide show. I am stunned at what I managed to produce in motion and in stills with the Canon 5d Mark 2 system. 3 Music videos. 2 reality show teasers. 6 commercial Photography campaigns. 18 editorial features, and a book and six covers. Then there is all the random wonderfulness below.

No Substitute

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Substitution

Substitution

My sons are both adept musicians. Josh in fact, is especially gifted.  He rang me up one day and asked for some help,  possibly shooting a  music video. I tentatively agreed, but the short of it was Josh meant, umm…. in three days.

I had heard No Substitute before and was really impressed by the lyrics. I had not seen Josh perform more than a few times, as he is pretty much a songwriter-computer nerd-artist who happens to play a lot of instruments.  I penned a script, rang Rob Dafoe, we assembled a plan, and three days later, with a full crew of incredibly generous and talented people, we met for a night shoot in the Bodner Design Studio which is located in Ventura, California.

Gabe Witmer dead headed down from his home in SF to play the role of The Substitute, an analogy for all the things in the world which may seem real and vital, but are in fact mere facades. Gabe is an A list model and budding actor. He and I had been sort of chomping at the bit to work together. Josh’s project was first bite.

Josh Slavin: Performer, Songwriter

Josh Slavin: Performer, Songwriter

Josh absolutely rocked his performance. Though his real name is Joshua Pu’u his performance name and alter ego is Josh Slavin. He literally becomes another person while performing. If I was there as his Father I would have been shocked. But as his Director,   Co Producer and collaborator, I was pretty stoked at what I saw.

Dafoe was amazing as always. Donna Von Hoesslin styled, did wardrobe, and mixed our toxic cocktails (Analogous props). Robert Catalusci was his normal nine ball mix of happy creativity and passion as Art Director. We really had a great crew. Who you work with defines the quality of your life. So by 2:30 am as we wrapped, all of us though tired, were really looking forward to seeing the final video and were still in high spirits.

Though Josh is my son, I would never do a project and ask those busy and talented colleagues of mine to help for that reason. I did it because I believed in his vision. He met the bar for being a subject. In the course of the night, I actually realized that by the end of the video, I would need to apply myself a bit to match HIS bar. I like that.

We shot it on the Canon 5D Mark 2 and GoPro HD systems. Which once again proved themselves as the future of creative film making.

No Substitute

Imitate, limit-ate

Settle for less

Substitute, infiltrate

I’m not impressed

Now they say it’s the same

and only half the cost

But it’s just a bandage

Over your loss….

Don’t accept substitutes

Cause there’s no substitute for love

The truth has substance

But ain’t as easy as

Telling a lie

They say it’s the same

and only half the cost

But you know better

So remember….

Don’t accept substitutes

Cause there’s no substitute for love

(Acapella)

Don’t accept substitutes

cause there’s no substitute

There’s no substitute for love

Don’t accept substitutes

cause there’s no substitute

There’s no substitute

For your love…

(Lead Guitar solo)

Don’t accept substitutes

Cause there’s no substitute for love

(Don’t accept substitutes)
Here is the video Full credits are at the very end after a few seconds of black screen by the way.

Here is a very cool “Making of” No Substitute Video done by our fabulously talented, Angela Izzo.

This was a lot of effort and work by a great group of people. We are all friends, so really enjoyed throwing down for Josh’s musical vision together. It was fun.

You can find Love’s Secret Domain on Myspace music Here. The new CD release, entitled “Pure-EP”,  in which No Substitute resides, is on I tunes.

Here are some publicity and production stills from the shoot. You can click on any of them, to toggle through as a slide show.



Coastal Classics Are No Accidents

Monday, September 6th, 2010
Pierpont Bay, Ventura, Ca.

Pierpont Bay, Ventura, Ca.

A lot goes on in the creation of a commercial production shoot. This one developed over a relatively long period of time. Recently, almost by chance I had reconnected with an old colleague and friend, Glenn Gravett, who I had met when we both worked designing my own company apparel and surfboard art, decades ago.

Glenn and I share much in common, having been raised on the same stretch of coastline, and share similar passions for the Ocean and Art.

Over a period of months, I had been invited to sit in and contribute to a series of product development meetings, where I discovered that Glenn was at the helm of a fantastic crew of artists, all of whom I had admired for quite some time. People like Meegan Fiori, Ron Croci, Wade Koniakowski, Rietveld, etc….

One day Glenn casually asked me if I would like to be the featured Artist for the company he worked for, Coastal Classics, which is headed up by Thom Hill.  Not thinking anything other than I really like Glenn, and that we would get to be around each other, I said sure yea, in a very nonchalant fashion. I was so casual about it, (and somewhat clueless) that Glenn knew to take me aside and explained : “Dave, this is  sort of a Big Deal. People look and wait for years for this. Look at who we have in our lineup.”  I did. Gulp. “Wow and you guys want ME?”

I laughed. But inside, it was game on. I had a close look at the company and artists. A chat with my colleague and friend Robb Havassy, confirmed it all. Better pay attention. I would be engaging and creating imagery with some of the cream of popular culture’s Art crop.

Great artists are funny. I have found that frequently, they are so understated, that human nature causes them to be overlooked. Havassy is like that. So much so, that I almost did not get my work to him in time for his remarkable book, Surf Story.

Glenn is like that. So is Thom Hill. So are ALL of the Coastal Classics people. It seems that somehow, I was being drawn right back into the vortex from which my photography had arisen decades ago, that of drawing, painting and the traditional craft of the working Artist.

So when Thom casually asked if I would be interested in doing a little catalog work for them, I agreed with a simple: “Yeah that would be nice”, and began doing my homework. In a down economy Coastal Classics is growing. As a company grows, it has certain requirements to embrace it’s historic modus, (those things that created forward momentum in the first place), yet morph into what it needs to become, in order to compete in the marketplace.

This week, in a commercial space that is to be the Coastal Classics art production location in Ventura, California, I loaded in my production equipment, assembled a group of my own creatives under the direction of Thom, and Glenn, and Sarah Lubeck, the Coastal Classics artist director, and went at it. The shoot was originally scheduled to be for two days with an additional day safety if needed.

We completed principal photography in twelve hours. I did  16 different set ups.  We shot in three locations, and produced both catalog and branding imagery that featured many of the artist’s work, I had admired for so long.

Primarily using continuous lighting, and Canon’s 5D Mark 2 system, I was able to created a rich tableau of work in 1854 shutter actuations. We drove nowhere. This was shot in my home town. We walked from our studio (I jogged) to the beach and Thom, Donna, Glenn and I simply just had a nice little casual golden hour evening down on the pier and at Surfer’s Point, much as all of us do on any given day here in Ventura.

There is no place like home, and the charm and allure of a small town. Ventura has been wonderful that way. In spite of what appear to be some onerous changes to the nature of this place on the horizon, this shoot was all home town charm.

This once again illustrated the importance of planning, connection, friendship, trust and vision to me.

That is how forward occurs.

My fabulous crew were:

Chris Jensen, Photographer and first assistant, Donna Von Hoesslin, Stylist, Angela Izzo second assistant and production assistant with the super quiet and uber efficient, Rachel Evans doing principal hair and makeup.

Models were Gabe Witmer, Marie Avery, Jeanette Ortiz, Hailey Partridge, and the Hill kids. (Yep, Thom’s kids rock.)

Well, since it is Labor day and I am actually ( as is the tradition with many of us)  laboring,  I reckon that I should share Seth Godin’s take on the meaning of modern craftsmanship with you all.

The following image gallery is a small, unfinalized sample cull from the 360 image final file. Art defines culture. It is a privilege to be able to engage in that as a craft.

Windows of Perception

Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Nias Dawn

Nias Dawn

Perspective is a unique line item for all of us. Our own Point Of View (POV for short) is one that, being our own, may not seem particularly special to us. I find myself overlooking the fact that I can be rather unique. You may tend to do that as well.

As a photographer, writer, film maker, I am all about communicating a designated POV. I decide what perspective a subject ought to be examined from, in order to best embrace a particular viewer-audience.

This was one heckuva busy week. I shot a music video, BMX, a performance music video piece, K38 rescue work, did editorial fulfillment for lifestyle and some fashion publications. In each project, it was my choice of POV which made the work have appeal, or  “cachet” as I like to call it.

Here is a great clip, where the POV the film maker chose in communicating a mans job place, is a best case example. From music to narration to lens perspective, I was completely smitten by this.

Be you. It matters.

The gallery below is from this week. A short look at a thousand images and 6 hours of motion picture, most of it shot in the last 6 days. All work was filmed with the Canon 5DM2. Sound was captured using the  Beachtek DXA controller with Rode Shotgun and Audiotechica Propoint symphonic mics. One thing for sure, Canon not only makes my POV possible, they make it easy!

Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

home