Posts Tagged ‘Jeanette Ortiz’

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.

 

Three

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Galaxy Borne

Galaxy Borne

The third in a series on Loves.

Surfers. Yes, those who ride weather, water and wave. I love them.

The rapid thunk thunk thunk of footsteps atop the wooden stairs that led up to the flat I had rented that morning at Currumbin Beach, Queensland, jolted me out of my jetlag induced reverie. I had been in Australia for less than 12 hours and had somehow managed to get from Sydney to Coolongatta and into a flat with a rental car in that time. Not bad, but I was tired. It was the second leg of the 1978- 1979 Pro tour for me.

An insistent pounding at the door, had me curiously opening it to a tall tanned guy, who looked at me, smiled and said: “Hey, my name is Peter. I hear you are from the States, here to surf the Contest. The surf is good today. Let’s go!” And in ten minutes I had thrown my 5’9″ Progressive twinfin in the back of Pete’s brown Holden wagon, and we were off to my first surf at Duranbah, a punchy beachbreak. As I paddled out, I saw Rabbit threading a crystal clear, aqua blue barrel. Wow. Welcome to Oz!

Pete and I became fast friends by the time I had to leave to make the trek down to Bells for the next event.

A few days before I left, a huge cyclone swell had hit. I had ridden large Burleigh Heads. Pete had said he would be at work, but that I should jump it from the cove up the point. The double to sometimes triple or more times overhead, looming rights, sort of reminded me of Sunset Point on Oahu. I somehow managed to stuff my little twin into a few of the bigger sets, and streaked across the massive azure walls to kick out in front of the swimming pool that was beach side.

That evening I saw Pete,  we had a couple 4xes, and I told him about the avo, bummed that he could not be there. “Ah mate, it was okay. I had a good day anyhow”.

A couple months later, back in Santa Barbara, just home from a day working at the surfboard factory, a large letter was waiting for me at the apartment my wife and I shared. It was from QLD. Opening the brown cardboard, I slid out a photo that was inside. It was of me streaking the inside on a triple overhead barrel at Burleigh Heads. There was a note. “Thought that you might like this” and it was signed simply: Pete.

He had been photographing me. I did not even know that he was a photographer.

What I learned from that year on the tour in general, and from Pete in particular, is that surfers are special.

I do not follow professional surfers around, in spite of having been one. To me, surfers are not necessarily the ones whose tax returns read “Professional Surfer”. But they are the ones who live by the laws of earth, sea and God, and having such an intimate acquaintanceship with those elements, frequently manage to show me something special.

Another World

Another World

So I have always welcomed them, and endeavored to live up to the example of my fine Australian friend.

Now about that photo…….

Click on any of the images in the gallery to toggle through this brief edit. Images were shot in the last couple weeks on the Canon 5D Mark 2 system and are part of a new collection of close to 600 images built over the past 5 weeks swimming every day. The surfers are Lars and Hans Rathje, Chris Vail, Larry Ugale, Donna Von Hoesslin, Jeanette Ortiz, Sierra Partridge, Dave and Mary Osborne. I am very grateful to them all. They remind me of Pete.

Two

Monday, February 7th, 2011
Dash

Dash

This is the second installment in this series on many loves. It is about Surfing.

Not many people know exactly why they surf. It just is what they do.

Point of view

Point of view

Surfing  gives a lot to the participant. It often gets to the point of  seeming to be a greedy avocation. The more you get, the better you become at it, the more that it drives you.

I have surfed all of my life. My Dad tossed me in a pool at 4. I swam. He then taught me to bodysurf. I never looked back. Only forward. It is still that way today for me. Indeed, for many of us. Surfing teaches one to look down the line. It can also bestow a certain level of gratitude, that sadly is often lacking in our culture today.

Sublime

Sublime

Not many people know these two things about me:

I have always been a surfboard builder. It is a part of my heritage. I have built close to 40,000 of them in my life. I have hand shaped 15, 999.

I did a surf and weather report on local radio in Santa Barbara for almost 15 years. Rising at 4:30-5 am each day I would do my weather work up, check the surf, and was a part of a live morning radio show. It was fairly common for me to phone the report in from my shaping room in downtown Santa Barbara. I did this at approx 7:20 am each day. Five and sometimes six days a week.

That is a lot of surfboards. And those were a lot of reports.

I did them both for the same reason:

To put something back in to the sport that gave me so much. It was about gratitude. It was about commitment. I do not know how much it mattered in the long run to anyone else, but it mattered to me. Because if surfing and the ocean benefited me, it could positively affect a  culture, and my community.

I am just wrapping my seasonal surf work. I have never produced so much high bar imagery in a series of 27 days swimming with a camera. The Gold Coast, where I live, that stretch of shore that extends from Gaviota to the Los Angeles County Line, has offered up water and weather conditions that were so pristine,  I set a new bar for my surf work.

I have a new editor at Corbis Images. It should be interesting to see if she gets this. Funny thing about raising the bar: you can never lower it.

Pristine

Pristine

It used to be considered common knowledge that you had to leave here to do high bar work. Hawaii, Indian Ocean, anyplace but here. I have proved that it is just the opposite. There is a reason I call my coastline Golden. It really is.

Seth Godin has this to say about where we live and work.

I have again, been amazed at how alive my stretch of ocean is. The number of sharks, seals, dolphins, bait balls, fish, pelicans and other sea birds I have seen is astounding.

The surfers who I have worked closely with the last month are:

Larry Ugale, Lars Rathje, Hans Rathje, Ted Reckas, Jeanette Ortiz, Sierra Partridge, Donna Von Hoesslin, Dean Hotchkins, Chris Vail, Sam Witmer.

The gallery below is a teensy slice of over 500 new works. Short boarding, long boarding, body surfing, skim boarding, SUP riding. Hope that it inspires you. Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.

Everything was shot on the Canon 5D Mark 2 system and has companion motion picture to go with it.

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.

Gaviota Muse

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Gaviota Muse

Gaviota Muse

Robb Havassy is up visiting right now. Yesterday, I got to introduce the publisher of the culturally iconic book Surf Story, to Joe Cardella, who among a long list of artistic accomplishments, was also the creator and publisher of Art Life, a leading collectible monthly publication. Joe’s stint at the helm was twenty five years long.

I smiled on the inside, as both of these amazing men, were people that Mary Osborne insisted that I meet. Mary rarely does that: insists. So, when she calls me, and then follows up, I know I had better pay attention. For over twenty two years, Mary has been my muse. We have  co- conspirited each other’s careers and colored each other’s life and creative vision. Now here sat Robb, Joe and I.

Mary Carmel Osborne

Mary Carmel Osborne

Robb was in town to speak with a few people about contributing to Surf Story Volume 2. Curiously enough, most of the artists cum surfers have connections to the Gaviota Coast and of course the Ocean. Joe, by virtue of his next large project after retiring as Art Life publisher was the first conversation, of what may be three days, awash in the influence of the people who live lives connected to the ocean here.

So it did not surprise me that Robb, Joe and I sat in one of the amazing rooms in Joe’s home and that the subject turned to that of the muse and their role in our lives. Plans were made. They involved muses. As we chatted about some of ours, and how they influenced us, my thoughts went from Mary, to the many people who have driven and continue to push my work.

Today I have a show that opens in Santa Barbara at Couch, with fellow artist Glenn Gravett. Here is the invitation.  It will be my first show in my home town in twelve years. Curiously enough that last show was with both Glenn and Rob Heeley in their gallery workspace on Canon Perdido.

Below is the description for the installation, which will be in place for a month.  Curiously enough, this show is all about one of my most significant muses, the Gaviota Coast. Two of the center pieces in the show are large nude illustrative compositions of both Mary Osborne, and Jeanette Ortiz, which were shot in two very significant locations on the Gaviota Coast, and carry deep resonance with the history of the Chumash tribes native to that coastline, and my own rich experiences under what I have been cognizant of experiencing in their footprints, and under their gaze.

The show was custom designed by Glenn and I, in collaboration with the artists at Pi Studio Printing. It was a huge group effort, and tonight’s opening should prove a great opportunity to experience quite a cross section of amazing artists on First Thursday in Santa Barbara.

Coastal Blossom

Coastal Blossom

Gaviota Nude

The modern day boundaries of the Gaviota Coast extend from Coal Oil Point in Goleta at the South, to the Northernmost location of Point Conception, which is the Westernmost tip of the Continental United States, and is also known as the Western Gate to the original occupants of this land. That was the spot where native legend has it, their souls would leave earth at life’s end.

The Gaviota Coast was originally populated by multiple tribes of Chumash natives.

As a part of the California Missions land acquisitions, which took that coast from the Chumash, was the largest Spanish Land Grant in the Continental United States: the land which became known as Rancho Dos Pueblos. Today a shrinking Rancho Dos Pueblos is still owned by the Schulte family, who for decades, in the tradition of the Californian ranch and land operator, have been faithful stewards.

In Memoriam. Rudi Schulte

In Memoriam. Rudi Schult


It was my good fortune to grow up along this coast. I have walked, swum, surfed, fished, dove and sailed every inch of it, in a massive triangle, which ranges from Goleta, out to the Channel Islands and up to Point Conception, and every point in between. I have photographed quite a bit of it over the years.

This show is a very limited look at, and homage to, the amazing spirit of this stretch of coastline.  If you take anything away from this collection,  may it be the understanding that the spirit of the Chumash people still occupies this place, and it should forever be treated with reverence and respect.

David Pu’u

Gaviota Campfire

Gaviota Campfire

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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