Posts Tagged ‘Garrett MacNamara’

Bluebirds

Monday, April 16th, 2012
Path

Path

Bluebirds are moments in time when the magical intersects with the mortal, and in process, one’s grasp of one’s ability, is re-defined.

A Bluebird moment is about education, preparation, trial and conquest.

I have had a few of these in my lifetime. Here is  an account of one of them.

I began my pilgrimages to the North Shore of Oahu late in my Surfing life. As a young Pro, it was basically part of the ritual of a Surfing Education, that you go there and test your ability.

Though I always sort of sucked at tests in school, I seem to thrive on those moments in sport and life. I see them as potential instances of great opportunity. I always have sought out, and planned for those moments, and hopefully, they would be bluebirds of happiness. I guess they are. Because no matter what the outcome, my perception, in hindsight, is one of never having failed. I only learned.

My friend Shawn Alladio, of K38 Rescue, writes a a little bit on the concept of courage, as she examines a phrase she coined which is called Weakenology. Maybe scroll up and down her blog a bit. You may enjoy what is an increasingly rare perspective in Western Culture today.

 Shawn Alladio in her element. Mavericks.

Shawn Alladio in her element. Mavericks.

Big wave riding is an avocation peculiar to a select few people in Surfing. I am not, nor have I ever been, a big wave rider. My cousin Mel is though, as are my friends,  Jeff Clark, and Garrett MacNamara.

In a conversation with Mel one day, he told me that I should join a club that the Makaha boys have. I think he called it the screaming 20′s club. The concept, big Mel explained, was simple, one had to ride a wave of 20 feet (Hawaiian scale, approx 30 plus feet) or more, through the bowl.

When I asked him how many members the club had, he said 12. I laughed. “Oh I get it. Lucky 13! Mel are you nuts? Is that fun to you?” His eyes lit up, and he smiled. “Yea it is a LOT of fun. You should do it” I declined. “Mel, that is NOT my idea of a good time.”

I have been alone with Jeff Clark out at Mavericks, as he sat in the saddle alone. Looking through the lens, I would see Jeff smiling happily to himself. Garrett too. It seems that on Bluebird days when I am there filming, he just shows up. Some of his challenges are so heavy in fact, that I have opted out of  a few which he kindly invited me to document.

But that attitude, which is framed by perspective, is what really defines a Bluebird moment.

Garrett MacNamara. Jaws.

Garrett MacNamara. Jaws.

Duke Kahanamoku spoke of the Bluebirds. Big waves that would come soaring in to the offshore reefs of the South Shore of Oahu. Rare events that would occur maybe once a decade. He was ready for a few of those. His experiences became the stuff of Surfing lore.

In every life, one must prepare. Preparation is about comprehending scale. You want your Bluebird moments to increase your scale. Why would one want to be anything but challenged, on a high order?

As had become my habit as time rolled on, and my surfing life matured, I rang Mark Foo, and arranged for a place to stay on the North Shore. Mark had a big house at Wiamea, and adjacent property where he housed traveling surfers. I never stayed there. He would find a place where my wife and I could stay, and have some privacy.

This particular season, he had placed us in the old Log Cabin, after which the break offshore was named. It was a great venue from which to experience the North Shore. Removed, yet in the middle of everything. On small days I would hop in the water and swim from in front of the house to Sunset Beach, and jog back on the deep, crunchy, sand beach. (We did not have many small days that season)

The rattle of the windows woke me early one morning. As I unwrapped myself from my wife, and peered out the window, I saw empty waves unloading on the reef at Log Cabins. A new North swell. The second reef was just beginning to cap.

I got up, had a little coffee and a banana. Ronnie (my wife) came out into the living room still sleepy, and saw the surf rolling through. She and I traveled together whenever we could. Ronnie was a freelance photographer at the time, with Surfer Magazine and worked for a few others as well. She wandered off about her morning routine, and I grabbed my 6’8″ rounded pintail, which I had made for days just like this.

As I made my way outside, on the partially overcast, cloud strewn morning that is typical of Oahu, the ocean still had a slight bump on it. We term that “morning sickness”, and it is daily groomed out by the trade winds, as they rise later in the morning.

Big, thick, slabbing barrels, thundered over the notoriously craggy reef of Log Cabins. Shaun Tomson had warned me about the bottom there, saying that he could never tell exactly were he was in relation to the lava pinnacles which stretched to within a couple feet of the surface. My swims on the flat days confirmed their location. I had sort of figured it all out.

The session proceeded without incident and I got a half dozen pretty radical barrels. The swell was rising, and the Third Reef began to cap every once in awhile. The wave would move inside and heave on to the second reef before closing out inside.

As the sun began to break and I had seen third reef cap, I found myself sprinting for position having out paddled the small pack that had collected as the morning evolved. And I saw it. A bluebird. The wave gathered everything in it’s path and reared up in front of me as I paddled full speed out to meet it.

At the last possible moment I spun and began my paddle into the wave. I could hear the boys screaming on the inside: “GO”. I was.

I knew this sort of wave. I understood the physics involved in a long interval swell, which draws water from very deep. So I sprint paddled nearly to the bottom before springing to my feet. In spite of that, I still was almost pitched.

Driving off the bottom, I catapulted backdoor into a 10 foot barrel, and remember clearly the intense focus I had, and the sound, and saw everything in ultra slow motion. As I was spit out on to the relative calm of the shoulder, it was as if someone had pulled the string on a child’s doll, and my knees literally folded under me. I rolled onto the deck of the 6’8″ and off into the water.

The boys were laughing.¬† “Man, that was heavy”. Inside I could see Ronnie set up on the Log Cabin porch. She had been shooting. I got a couple more waves, but I was done emotionally, and came in as the break began to max with the pulse of the swell, and the lineup shifted to the outside reefs.

As the day turned beautiful, I had something to eat and sat and watched the playing field morph. For hours. Both Ronnie and I noticed that every once in awhile, a big peak would heave offshore and spin empty and perfect, through the outside. This went on for a couple hours. In my mind I was done. I had experienced one of those defining waves that morning.

But there it was outside. The Bluebird. I had never seen one like that before. In time, Ronnie asked if I was going to go out? I actually snapped at her. “What, are you crazy? I would die out there.” She was silent. We had been together for almost 14 years at that point. She knew me well, and how intense I can get when challenge rears up.

An hour or so later, she asked me again though. I said nothing. But I was watching and timing the set,s and examining the route off the beach which had turned into a maelstrom.

I saw a way. And in the time frame of 15 minutes I went back to our room, got my 7’8″, which was waxed and ready, walked down the stairs and with a short “see you” walked down to Ke-Iki and hopped in. The ocean was alive with pulse. In short order, I found myself offshore.

Ronnie told me later, that as she watched me jump in through the long lens, that she immediately lost sight of me. She had seen many defining moments through that lens, and later said that she thought she had killed me.

Outside, I knew the deal. Since the sets were so far and few between, and running out of deep water, the wave would be moving fast. I would need to take one on the head in order to figure out where the lineup point was.  Then I would follow the whitewater triangle to the pinnacle, sit off shore of it, and maintain my position in the saddle (that spot where you are far enough outside to have position, yet be close enough to the impact zone, to be able to catch the wave)

And right on time (I wear a watch riding big surf) in they flew, a massive spectacular three wave set of Bluebirds, moving majestically, and mirroring the blue of the Hawaiian sky.  The first one exploded about 75 yards outside of me.

Diving to the end of my leash, I was served a little washing machine treatment. I was not really coming up, so after awhile I climbed my leash, found my board and hung on. We popped to the surface a scant few seconds later, I grabbed a breath or two of salt spray filled air, paddled  a few strokes,  and was sucked back underwater by the roiling turbulence. This had never happened to me before.

I relaxed, clung tightly to my 7’8″, and remember distinctly thinking: “wow I am not coming up”. But I knew that no matter how aerated the water, that I had the best option right underneath me. And as I ran out of air, the surface cleared and I popped up, in sudsy foam a couple feet thick, and caught a deep breath.¬† I then paddled out and up the whitewater triangle, found my spot, marked a couple lineup points on the distant hills, held my position and waited.

40 minutes later the wave came and I caught it. The moment in retrospect almost seems anticlimatic, and my actual recollection of the ride is somewhat hazy. But I know that I rode it through to close to where I had ridden that barrel earlier in the day, and kicked out in relatively deep water.

Then I did something which even today, I still find rather peculiar. I swung the nose of my board back to sea, and paddled back out. You see, I had a rule for myself. I would need to ride three waves under challenge. If I did not do so, how could I really know if my choice was a suitable companion to my ability? It was me who needed the convincing. So three waves did that.

I remember the third quite clearly. I rode it all the way through on to the inside and let the maelstrom blast me on to the beach. The Ocean is funny that way. Barring a few quirky breaks, generally it will deposit you back on the beach from whence you came. You just need to make sure that you are in the heaviest part of the lineup so that the energy carries you furthest. I did that. Oh and do NOT fall. Falling is bad. It equals punishment.

Back at the house, Ronnie walked down to meet me, obviously relieved. Years later I ran into a couple friends of mine who were lifeguarding that day, who told me that they had all been highly entertained by my antics, but that no, they had no plans to help me. If I had needed it.

And that is the crux of this story. You only get a few real chances in life to make an exponential leap. Everything builds and grows on precept. Humans are funny that way. Think of a man as a house. You begin with a good foundation, and work your way up from  there.

It always made a lot of sense to me, the saying about seeing the Bluebird of Happiness. I get that. I appreciate it.

Later that day, up at Mark’s house (Ronnie was interviewing him for a feature) he and I were talking about his incremental steps in converting from pro tour participant, to big wave rider. He asked if I had surfed that day.

I told him I had just come in from surfing the outside reef off of the Log Cabin. He sort of smiled. “Dave, we don’t surf out there” “Why not?” I had asked. “It is too dangerous. Man, stupid Californians”.

K38 member Carlos Burle: Jaws Bluebird

K38 member Carlos Burle: Jaws Bluebird

Mark and I had been friends for many years. I trusted him a lot more than I trusted myself in big wave assessment. But I knew where he was headed. I knew he was looking for his own Bluebird, and I knew that what I told him, had set his wheels turning, just as Ronnie’s suggestion earlier had my own.

Years later, as I was shaping late one night in Santa Barbara, my phone rang. I think it was Kristjan Higdon, who told me first. “David, Mark is dead, he drowned at Mavericks today.”¬† If you want, you can download and read the story of that here. It is called The Road to Half Moon Bay.

 Mavs Bluebird.

Mavs Bluebird.

Today, in a culture which elevates weakness, amorality, situational ethics, and places things like Political career, over the more pure and vital aspects of real courage and leadership,  some may want to seek out and prepare for those Bluebird moments. In this life, no one gets out alive. You must leave this world at some point. It is best to do it with a firm grasp of who and what you are, bravely, and with hope, having compassion and care for your fellows.

No great leader ever wants to be such. They only are doing so, because circumstances and compassion demand it.

Here is a story about a person some consider to be the last great American President, John F Kennedy. Some today may not know that he was both a waterman and a leader. JFK is a sharply pointed example of why Bluebirds matter. The author sugar coats none of the account, and in fact, even grinds an axe a bit. (Never a bad thing when examining History)

Bluebird Dawn

Bluebird Dawn

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

 

The Mavericks Challenge: Ready, Aim, Stand

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Modus

 

Modus

An Operator’s perspective

I am just in the door from Maverick’s. We had quite an adventure up there.

This trip I was a part of the K38  Mavericks Water Rescue Team.

I joined K38 long ago, on the heels of shooting the 2000 Tow Surfing Championships at Jaws. I realized in the course of my process, that I had a debt of responsibility to both my subjects, the sport, and myself, (being a sentient human being) to be prepared and accountable as a responsible participant in documenting and filming surfing.

My motivation in seeking out K38 training, was to be able to respond appropriately and professionally in an emergency.

One of my mentors taught me early on, that a photographer is responsible for what he creates. I looked on in horror after my tow surfing imagery¬† helped¬† Surfer, Billabong XXL, Towsurfer, etc…. launch the new sport into the main stream, and realized that what I had created, could potentially¬† contribute to someone that I care about perishing.

My mentor explained that when you point a camera at someone,  they may do things not ordinarily embarked upon, should the camera be absent. I felt responsible for what I helped to create. (Bruce Brown had told me that he felt the same way about Cape Saint Francis, after shooting Endless Summer.)

So I had eventually sought out Shawn Alladio, and K38 Rescue. Though I never gave her the entire story on my motivation, she graciously accepted me into her program. In the course of several years I have participated in her training programs on various levels and received certification as a Rescue Boat Operator.

Lately, I find Shawn and myself working shoulder to shoulder a lot. The message is always the same: educate, be prepared, no one dies. Being on a team is sort of a strange concept for me.¬† Having been a competitive swimmer, cyclist, professional surfer et al (There are more solo sports on my list.) I found that my biggest challenge was to throttle down, or “stand down”,¬† as they say in the military. After many years, I am finally beginning to “get” that concept.

K38 training exemplifies and endows discipline. So these days, I bite my tongue, hold my Hawaiian temper in check, do what I am told. I am learning to serve, at last. I have placed myself under another’s authority.

Mavericks Rescue Team Background Story, as provided by Shawn Alladio:

 

Shawn Alladio: K38 Rescue

Shawn Alladio: K38 Rescue

 

“We were up at 4:20am getting ready for the 2009-2010 Mavericks Surf Contest the day of the historic event. We broke at midnight the evening prior after our PPE/gear checks and briefings.

The K38 crew provided the water rescue and assistance for the 24 athletes competing during the February 13, event. I’m very proud of the K38 Rescue team. They came together focused, did their job and did well. They took leadership values and incorporated them into a work ethic that produced results.

This was Ryan Augensteins’ first event. This team is committed to training and endorsing the K38 Way and standards for the future of water rescue during big wave events. I’ve had the honor of training a stellar team in South Africa who really set the bar professionally for big wave safety coverage. This team I am working with will have a minimum 3 year training timeline to perfect the necessary skills to be ‘rescue qualified’ on this level.

So K 38 was given the mission to assemble a team comprised of certified Rescue Boat operators and the local crew. An invitation to participate was sent out to a hand picked group of candidates. A select few people stepped forward.

The Mavericks K38 Rescue Team:

Vince Broglio (Captain)

Russell Smith

Garrett McNamara

Ryan Augenstein

Shawn Alladio

K38 Assistants/Patrol:

Ryan Levinson

Jonathan Cahill

K38 Mavericks Ocean Rescue Team

K 38 Mavericks Ocean Rescue Team

Additional Support:

Kelli Rumore

Nicole Levinson

Joy Portelli

Photographer, Camera Operator:

David Pu’u

We used Kawasaki ULTRA LX models, K38 Rescue Boards and our K38 boats/helmets were outfitted with GoPro HD cameras.”¬† Alladio

The new acting interim Harbormaster for Pillar Point is Mr. Robert Johnson. Deputy Harbor officer Cary Smith was the point of contact for the PPHD for the Mavericks Surf contest operations.

The Pillar Point Harbor Department offered generous and steady support.

Circling overhead was a USCG Helo and on the outskirts of the surf break, two fully manned USCG rescue vessels watched.  The legendary 47 MLB, http://www.uscg.mil/datasheet/47mlb.asp and the 87 foot Rescue Class Cutter: Protector, the Pike.

Further peripheral support was provided by the HMB FD. I had the pleasure of working along side two of their men in the course of the event. Steady professionals.

It was an honor to be in the first line of defense, supported by various public safety agencies with men and women of this caliber.  The large asset deployment at this event was primarily to manage the huge amount of boating and spectator traffic. NOAA had issued media warnings in an effort to cut down on traffic at the event this year.

It worked for the most part. Still, it was difficult not to notice things like an obviously out of place person aboard a PWC which was labeled with the name of a surfing publication and who, when questioned by authorities, could only keep repeating the words ‚ÄúI am with S— magazine‚ÄĚ, as if that gave him license to have the PWC in the lineup.

What I saw this day:

A large, building, 290 degree NW primary swell, that peaked in the course of the day with 22 feet at 17 second buoy readings, and two other swells. The combination of swell size, angle, and interval created a unique top wave that allowed for the surfers to ramp up to speeds not normally possible, which assisted entry into an exceptionally clean and concave wave face.

The ocean conditions this event day are exceptionally rare to experience, and in my 42 years of surfing and ocean activities as a waterman, and 12 years as a photographer, I am shocked to see such a rare meteorologic occurrence happen on an event day.

What transpired, was a best case, designer conditions day. With  superior competitor support, the measure of confidence on the part of the athletes, contributed to the establishing of a new bar in surfing performance at size.

So many athletes rose to the challenge this day, that I am a little dumbfounded. What I saw, exceeded anything prior in the context of my experience, in terms of ability, courage, bravado and success.

I used the Canon 5D Mark 2 system and the Go Pro HD system, and support was provided by Go Pro http://www.goprocamera.com/

I produced a detailed stills image list of iconic Surfing and Rescue Community support documentation, and shot 7 hours of motion and time lapse capture for a documentary that will focus on the event from a behind the scenes point of view.

The title of the film and the magazine feature that I am working on is ‚ÄúThe Road Home.‚ÄĚ It is a sequel to a piece I wrote, that was first Published by Alex Dick Read for The Surfers Path , which is a personal account of my coming to terms with the death of Mark Foo, who I had known from when I was first on the Professional Tour and in the many years which followed, spent time with when I would be in Hawaii.That story was entitled The Road To Half Moon Bay.

I did not return to Half Moon Bay to shoot surfing. I came to serve. But what I experienced, is one of the greatest gifts a Photographer and Journalist could have: being at a point in time where established paradigms shift with the tick of the clock.

Rigged to work Rescue, while holding a camera (well actually probably around 8 cameras, thanks to Go Pro) once more, the Canon 5D Mark 2 system allowed me to exceed all possible prior production potential for a single camera operator. We truly do live in the future. 24 surfers (and a LOT of support) just proved that.

David Pu'u and PPE

David Pu'u and PPE

Here is a piece of music that is remarkably pertinent and descriptive for us. It was recorded a long time ago.

Below is the gallery. Click on the images for a full view and to read more about that image.

This edit contains a small cross section of a large file that is illustrative of the event safety coverage at Mavericks and a little bit of the day and night preparations the team endured, in order to be ready. We worked long hours. We all came back safe.

No one dies.

Rinse and Repeat

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Hans Rathje: Rinse and Repeat

Hans Rathje: Rinse and Repeat

I have had to watch weather a bit more closely than I usually would this season, because Garrett MacNamara, K38 Rescue, and a few other pals of mine are involved in big wave events and have sort of sucked me into the preparation that goes into being in the right place on the right day.

We are in the midst of an El Nino season. No doubt about that now.

So when the murmers about a potential swell maker began to filter through, I forced myself to take a close look at available weather telemetry and began my process of wind and fetch tracking and analysis.

What I saw was a deep low with two fetches separated by a high pressure gradient. The swell rumor hype started with ‚ÄúEpic best swell since 1959‚ÄĚ and words to that affect.

The weather map said this to me: a good storm but NOT the kind that would make for epic conditions, because it was still what we call an early season storm. That is to say, that it would be impacted by the existence of too many high pressures in the storm track, along with jet stream issues, which would prevent the thousands of miles long fetch that one looks for in historic swell events.

The storm would pass close to Hawaii. The close proximity meant less than perfect conditions, but a LOT of push. IE it would be big, but in terms of the big wave arenas, Jaws would be best, with Kona conditions. There would be bump and wobble else where in Hawaii, and at 20 feet, that is not optimum. So NO epic swell, but big.

Most events were told to stand down. The Eddie Aikau memorial later went.

I watched. And worked. And waited. You could see the storm developing and a nice high pressure that would keep California in great weather started to drop into position. Things began to line up.

What we are calling Swell 2 of the El Nino season hit here in California, and I found myself watching some breaks be flat, and others go off at size. I opted for the sizeable places and set out to create a broad spectrum of work with some people that I like to hang out with, due to their water ability.

Day one of the swell saw me in Ventura and Oxnard, at places the swell focused on.

Day two, I was at Rincon at o dark thirty and swam Backside as the tide dropped, after seeing some of the prettiest Queen in a while, go off with a light crowd post dawn.

The Backside swim was hilarious as we broke two boards, bodysurfed, got slammed, spit out of barrels, went over the falls, and generally just had a great time being watermen. The joke level was high and it was often difficult to keep my head above water as I laughed, seeing Larry get pitched into mid air sans board in a body launch, or Lars sliding into the barrel since he broke a board and opted to bodysurf sans fins.

We would be sitting out at the end of the rip and one of the boys would intone; ‚ÄúSurfers in the rip, throw away your board and wave your arms, someone will be along to help you presently.‚ÄĚ (The guys are lifeguards).

Then we would reposition and 1000 tons of solid blue North Pacific swell would rear up and a spinning emerald green slab would beckon and challenge us to ‚Äúdo something‚ÄĚ while the others taunted and-or, encouraged the person in the saddle.

At the end of the swell, as I sat in the office processing what was a best case scenario for combination of swell and weather and sand position, I watched the Pipe Masters go down in flawless 4-6 foot ultra clean conditions. In fact, it was VERY similar to here. Because by the time the swell dropped, and weather moved away, it was an 8 of 10 possible on the scale of swell and weather for Hawaii. What I saw as I processed these images below, which are a small segment of the 120 image final file, blew my mind.

A lot of the guys I know were having the performance showcase of a lifetime in a format designed by Kelly Slater that is incredibly innovative and performance encouraging, as it downplays the hassle for wave factor that occurs in most competitive formats.

So as it turned out for Swell 2, the true and only real history, was made in small surf, not large. Not to take away from the big wave events that did go down, but the real story occurred at Pipeline and at some other spots in California, that maybe only you and a few friends knew to be at, because well, you just know when your spot is going to deliver. Because you are a surfer.

And we all now watch to see what the Earth will deliver, having had a couple dress rehearsals. I find myself sort of holding my breath, as I believe we could see something big. But that IS why they call it weather. (whether) You have to watch it, then be there.

My hope is that people are responsible and that no one does anything ‚Äúfor the camera‚ÄĚ, but because they are surfers, and that is what we do.

Here is the blog of Hobie waterman Chuck Patterson, who was at Jaws for a marathon of very clean big wave surf. I am not sure I could have done 4 days in a row at sea filming. He did 4 marathons back to back to back riding. Lost no boats. Came back safe once again.

Here is some amazing work posted to Facebook by cinematographer Michael Prickett. It is from the Eddie Aikau Memorial event. Eddie went, and so did the event! Stoked and many thanks to Michael for his fine work. He was all over at Pipe, doing water POV as well. Just outstanding.

Frame One

Frame One

Slab

Slab

Big and Bright

Big and Bright

Anticipation

Anticipation

Larry Ugale: Slide

Larry Ugale: Slide

Hans Rathje

Hans Rathje

Empty

Empty

Dolphins

Dolphins

Keoni Cuccia

Keoni Cuccia

Day 2 Rincon Dawn

Day 2 Rincon Dawn

Pristine Queen Lineup

Pristine Queen Lineup

Backdoor Defined: Lars Rathje

Backdoor Defined: Lars Rathje

Larry Ugale: Blue Careen

Larry Ugale: Blue Careen

Backside Definition: Hans Rathje

Backside Definition: Hans Rathje

Larry Ugale

Larry Ugale

Jake Vail: Slide

Jake Vail: Slide

Larry and the magic bearded clam

Larry and the magic bearded clam

Sliding the bearded clam: Larry Ugale

Sliding the bearded clam: Larry Ugale

Click on any of the images below for a larger view of some of the swell’s select images.

Voice

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Lone Voice
Lone Voice

Extreme athlete Garrett MacNamara has been visiting, and we are working on a few projects. He sat next to me as I rapidly did a search for a print file that a client had requested. In ten minutes this is what I pulled out of one of this season’s file folders. I doubt many, if any eyes have seen them or hearts heard the songs these images sing. In my files they are nothing particularly unusual. So does the fact that many people do not know they exist matter? What about the other thousand or so similars? Oh, and I did NOT find the darned one that I was looking for.

What makes something or someone great? What difference does it really make? Any at all? Well maybe.  A great voice inspires, cajoles and brings along it’s audience. An artist is only placed at the front of the hall by  audience request. So is voice without audience valid? Of course it is. Determining worth is all a matter of scale and the ability and willingness of the artist and audience to interact.

To me a great image defines it’s artist. The portrait of Winston  Churchill, shot after his voice had galvanized the will of the free world, that was and continues to be, “great”.  Whose was greater?  There are several.

“As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality. It is a way of life.”Henri Cartier-Bresson

Someone great will transform that lone voice in the wilderness into an arrangement that turns the members of the audience into part of the performance. One pulsing, resonant chorale that rises and falls in chromatic timbre. It is what happens when we choose to participate.

I want in. It does not matter to me which part of the hall I am to sit in.

Brian Eno and Nitin Sawhney are at the front of the room today with Prophecy.

As is usual for me lately, Seth Godin was a catalyst. So was my friend Kylie Oliver who posed the question today.  Then there is Catherine Howard, whose love of the sea motivated me.  Great voices. Sitting down now.

Garrett MacNamara
Garrett MacNamara

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© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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