Posts Tagged ‘Hailey Partridge’

Pick a Lane

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Salud Carbajal

Salud Carbajal

 

In life and in our Western Cultural assessment of what will inevitably amount to a rather short term existence on this blue ball, we are constantly encouraged by the status quo, to “pick a lane” for ourselves. Or at least, this was the method employed till this latest socio-economic meltdown. The concept was to attend school, move in to a field that would best suit our fiscal goals, and supply the road to our own future happiness. Each day, you were to  arrive at that job, and park right between the lines. Never vary that. Or face severe retribution from the system.

A lot has  changed. I will look at that a bit in the coming months.

The image above was shot a week or so ago in Santa Barbara at the Courthouse, and is my contribution to a collection of digital assets to be used in the re election campaign of Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara County Supervisor. I also shot some work for Doreen Farr and her Supervisorial campaign as well.

Speaking with them both, confirmed research done when I had vetted the job by doing some online checking and making a couple phone calls prior to taking the gig, which was with my friend and colleague Rob Dafoe, who I am a creative partner with. I found Doreen and Salud to be passionate, respectful, educated people, who possessed a compassion for their community.

Tough gig, the narrow lane of local political office. The job description itself, demands that you stay between the lines of Govt authority, yet still have daily contact with your constituency. This creates a choice. You embrace the relationship, or build a wall, a lane so to speak, and stay there. Each position has benefit, as well as risk. It really is a service position, that of local Govt Office. It was great to meet two servants and in turn serve them with my ability as an image maker.

I chose my lane in life a long time ago when I decided what I would serve. The reality is that everyone must serve something. Service begins in the heart. One does well to attend to the heart first. Out of it will come the issues of your life.

As we begin a look at this, I recall my early education in Photography. Conventional wisdom stated that you select a subject and become that. A Nature Photographer, Photojournalist, Wedding Photographer, Surf Photographer, whatever, and you parked between the lines and were that, which brought in your income. Understandable, that Philosophy. But knowing where it led, I never followed the tiny golden thread into any of those boxes. To do so always seemed flat out stupid to me. (Think rabbit in a box trap)

That is because I came to serve.

Go in to a box, and this limits both who you serve, and the ability of your own soul to thrive and grow.

As I erased the lines which defined my own existence, constantly eschewing becoming niched and parked, I learned something pretty special. Limits are all about fear. Placing them, staying within them, acknowledging other’s rules for our own existence, may make for a somewhat stable cultural environment for the moment, but I have rarely seen them bring anyone any real happiness or sense of satisfaction.

Say you were to lose all today. Where would you be?

Look down. You are standing there. In your own space.

Erase the lines.

Thrive.

Don’t do it to others, don’t allow that restriction to be placed upon you.

Here is a link to a blogpost from Seth Godin which contains his new online version of “Stop Stealing Dreams“, a piece on modern education that everyone who wants a wide lane through life should read!

In the course of an Eight day period (which I am in the midst of right now) I am shooting and filming subjects that range from below sea level to the mountains. If I had ever bought in to the conventional wisdom surrounding my craft and trade, well then, you would likely have not much interest in my common material.

But since my choice was to erase my lines as a Creative early on, I am able to bring forward the most remarkable aspects of Creation. I am continually in awe. Even when sitting in a crew van, waiting to meet two dedicated Santa Barbara County Supervisors.

The following gallery of images are from projects I had in front of me THIS WEEK. Obviously the folks who want to call me a Surf Photographer may have missed the mark when they for whatever reason, wanted to put me in their box.

Some of them are for this cool new project. The Solitary Exposure Collective, which I am building with my colleague, Larry Beard.

Here is the link to my work in it, which grows in scope monthly. Eventually, much of it will be available via Commercial license. What Larry and I have done, is build the foundations for an art collection that is a new type of agency. Right now you can buy art and have it delivered to your door ready to hang. Or just glance through the open collection and maybe get inspired to redraw the lines in your own life. We would like that. It makes us all better.

Click on any of the images for a full view or to toggle through as a slide show.

 

 

Respect for the Subject

Friday, February 17th, 2012
Home Base

Home Base

Respect narrowly defined, is examined here in this Wiki link.

One of the key elements for a creative in a study of any sort, is respect of subject. But here is the twist. One has to respect one’s self first. If that aspect is not nailed to the floor of a soul, the oft times hidden elements of a subject, may never reveal themselves to an artist.

Perspective

Perspective

But once those things do become apparent, it is self knowledge that allows for us to pick accurate lanes whereby we may expose, illuminate, and from where I stand as a human being, elevate our chosen subject, for all the world to see. It is in our own self discovery that there lies great success in communicating people, places and things that frequently, are so special and precious, a more casual observer, in this hectic, ” rush to see what lies over the horizon, modern contemporary culture”, would completely miss otherwise.

JOY

Joy

So how does this tenet come to abide within us? How do we learn to walk in respect, while still getting our probing and often intrusive job done? Easy really. You put SELF, last.

For those of you who know me or my life and work very intimately, you get that I have complete disdain for selfishness, especially within the realm of basic Commercial Photography. I truly believe what we do to be simple. So if that is the case, we ought never to be on stage. But ALWAYS out of sight. Our job is about servitude.

Chumash Maiden

Chumash Maiden

I learned something very important working in Motion Picture as a set stills photographer. Always stay out of the talent’s eye line. Of course, that is easier for me, being 5’5″. I dress for the background we shoot in. Blimp my camera, or use longer lenses if it is possible for me to stay out of the set’s staging area. I just follow the DP, and the shooting script.  I do my job. Document. Iconize the peak moments of a scene. Simple really. For some people.

When I came into Photography and Film making, I had a conversation with Editor Jeff Divine after he had given me my first cover. At the time, I had closed my rather high profile Company and stepped out of both Radio and Television Broadcast work, having just turned down the opportunity to be a co host on a Nationally Syndicated talk show. I was done being looked at. So I figured, what better place to hide than behind the camera?

Blossom

Blossom

Jeff knew what I was working towards. I confided to him that I disliked the attention I had received from the latest cover shot, and like a distressed and somewhat selfish child of a budding imaging creative, I complained. “You know Jeff, I only chose Photography because I reckoned that I could become anonymous. I just wanted it to be about someone else finally, and not be at the head of everything” Jeff looked at me and with that soft smile of his, shook his head and said “It is going to be far worse than anything else before in your life David. What were you thinking?”

Well he was sort of right. But just sort of. I doubled down on my efforts to remain anonymous. I even went into stock Photography production in signing a contract with burgeoning Commercial giant Corbis Images, where I figured that surely in a stable of great names, alive and dead, whose work was being pushed to the fore, I could just disappear. But all that did was raise the bar.

Having been a competitive athlete and businessman, I found myself just slowly one upping my colleagues. And they liked that. In fact, I think we all shoved each other along. Great names in stills and motion picture imaging. People who I had read of and whose  works I had admired all my life.

But in being around those great creatives, I noticed something about them. They NEVER let it be about THEM. They walked in respect, for themselves and as a result, elevated the myriad of subjects which comprised their daily lives. I will never forget the day that Steve Davis, Corbis VP, looked a bunch of us in the eyes in a meeting, and said something which changed my perspective permanently. “You all have the opportunity to chose anything in the world to shoot and communicate. We will even help you do it. There is nothing or anyone that is off limits. However, choose very carefully, because your choices will become what you are.

I have thought about that meeting often over the years. It is pretty amazing what I get to film, and who I get to live with on a daily basis, and what the world reveals to me.

But none of it would ever have meant a thing really, were it not for respect.

I read something recently, said by Duke Kahanamoku about himself. It resonated for me.

“Out of the water, I am nothing. ”

As creatives, we all need to realize that aside from what we examine and build, that without the flow and respect which comes from an intimate understanding regarding the nature of our subject(s), ALL of our work is nothing. It should be something. But more than that, what we do should elevate our subjects, and motivate, and propel all forward.

Creativity is Love is Creation.

Go do that.

Respect.

Watch what happens.

That is your job. It is life to a Creative.

Indonesian Dream

Indonesian Dream

 

As an aside. Each one of the images in this blogpost is an abject lesson on Respect and has a great story behind it. Feel free to ask me about any of them some time. You may be surprised at what you learn.

USCG K 38 Rescue boat operator class

USCG K 38 Rescue boat operator class

Aloha oe.

 

A California Opus

Saturday, July 9th, 2011
Napa Orange Gold

Napa Orange Gold

Chapter 5 in the California Series.

I have not always lived in California. My Dad was going to college on the GI Bill in Milwaukee Wisconsin, at Marquette University. I had never asked him why, being from Hawaii, he chose the Mid West. He met my Mother there. That was where my two Brothers and I were born.

We were sick a lot as infants. The family pediatrician had told my parents that our Hawaiian genetics may have been to blame, as we did not tolerate the cold of  hard, Midwestern Winter very well. In fact, I ended up in the hospital. I remember the experience vividly. It was a bleak time of laying in an oxygen tent in a ward, and staring out a third floor hospital window, looking at the City, watching.

Eventually, the family moved to California where my Father explored his career as an Engineer. My parents bought a home in Whittier California.  The design of the first computer, as well as launch of the Space program, became a regular part of our household, via my Dad’s work.

In some ways, we were healthier in the warmer climate of California. However, a problem arose. I developed allergies. Those caused a lack of energy, and attendant respiratory problems. I began getting injections twice a month (one in each arm), which helped alleviate the symptoms. I still get a phantom muscle ache, when I think about those shots.

I recall days where one could not see the nearby foothills, which created the basin in which Whittier is located, such was the density of the smog prevalent in California in the 1960’s. It had been around this time that the massive citrus groves disappeared from the area, being replaced by housing tracts and strip malls. Part of a methodical, concreting over of the Los Angeles area.

I was already a swimmer at this point, having learned to bodysurf, ride foamies, and inflatable mats, at the beaches in and around Newport, Huntington, Palos Verdes and South Bay. I swam for a local AAU team. But those allergies were a persistent problem. The only time I had true respite, was when we were at the beach.

Due to my diminutive size, and sort of sickly nature, my parents decided that I needed to wait to get a surfboard. By this point, it had been a topic of discussion for a couple years. But my water activities, which included fishing and diving, kept me pretty busy.

I craved those idyllic long days at the beach. I have fond memories of ten hour days in the water,  a piece of chicken, or a few rice balls, snatched on the run, from the picnic lunch my Mom would have made, very early that morning, as she loaded up the white 1955 Chevy wagon, for the long (to me) drive to the beach. I had fallen for California.

Timeline

Timeline

(more…)

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.

Non Artistic Interpretation

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

It was only a year or two ago, when I realized that I am an “artist”.

At a very young age I painted. My Father and Uncle were both painters. So as any child would, I simply took for granted that painting and drawing were normal endeavors.

At 12 I had learned Photography and studied Philosophy. It was what was going on around me, and being inquisitive, I learned.

So does a bird realize it is a bird? Of course, flying would not be so special to him. But to someone without wings, oh to soar!

I had a request this week for a look at a year’s worth of work. I put together an edit cull of an approximate 1 year cross section of subjects. This required me, for the sake of brevity, to eliminate motion and all work shot, but not through, final post production, from being placed into my edit list.

Keep in mind, that this modus eliminated twenty or so projects. (I shoot a large number of subjects in a year.)

When the cull was complete, the Art aspect  of the year’s work flow really struck me.

I had no conscious thought while I was working, that anything about what I was shooting was quite so special. Many years ago, a commercial photography colleague told me that I would have to choose between being a businessman, or an artist, in my imaging career.

Today, I am not so sure one has much of a choice about what to be. As many children of the fifties learned while watching the cartoon Popeye growing up, when he would say nearly every episode: “I am what I am.” Sometimes it is best for efficiency and happiness’ sake,  to embrace that sooner, rather than later.

Seth Godin has this to say about Art. He nails it (as usual).

Excerpted from Seth’s A-Z blogpost on Aug 1, 2010: A is for Artist: An artist is someone who brings humanity to a problem, who changes someone else for the better, who does work that can’t be written down in a manual. Art is not about oil painting, it’s about bringing creativity and insight to work, instead of choosing to be a compliant cog. (from Linchpin).

Time to fly.

Always.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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