Posts Tagged ‘Jeanette Ortiz’

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.

Fear Anger Hope

Monday, June 21st, 2010
Process

Process

Fear, anger, hope.

These three things are very inter-related and part of the process of progress.

I find myself falling into fear, that entities which we have entrusted, like Government, Industry, and aspects of modern culture, such as certain Environmental PACS, have totally failed the Earth, as evidenced in the recent potential Global killer, that is the Platform Horizon Wellhead Blowout.

The fear generated by this realization leads to an intense burning anger.

That anger causes a hell of a lot of introspection of myself, what I stand for, and a VERY close look at the things I am able to affect in this world, that could contribute to a course change.

In my life, I have always been about social contribution through enlightenment, and understanding of Man’s role in this world via a relationship with God and Nature. In my experience, Science has always proved God, and vice versa. The entire world gives testimony to the glory and power which created it.

So out of all of this examination, there arises amidst the dark swirling clouds of a prior Eon’s birth and death throes, (which MADE the oil which may kill off a substantial portion of our planet) a glimmer of hope within a very serious message of impending doom.

Here is a very close look at the Gulf Disaster . Make sure to watch the News report at it’s end.  Yes, you should be scared, as well as angry. That is a righteous response.

But………..

Below are two links. They will make you sad, they will cause you to fear, you will get angry, feel sorrow, and at the end of it all, a small light will begin to flicker inside. Grab that. The other stuff, it just needs to be experienced, for you to find that little glimmer. We need informed hope.

Story One A beautifully done grand perspective on our struggle to exist.

Story Two is a piece that I shot while working under Cinematographer Greg Huglin. Edited by my friend and colleague Rob Dafoe. I WANT you to ponder the Gulf Sea. Consider also, that this was shot in the waters that I grew up in off of Santa Barbara and the Gaviota Coast. These pods have existed there for ages.

In 1969 I lived in Goleta. I saw the affects of the well head blowout that affected my beach, and gave rise to the modern day environmental movement. I swam, sailed, dove, fished and surfed in an oil soaked ocean, much as the Chumash who inhabited my home, generations before had done. But I am convinced what I experienced, was far worse in terms of oil contact. It went on for decades. (Think about that.)

The tale of the 1969 Union platform blowout is here.

A couple weeks ago, I was up working on the Gaviota Coast. Beaches once soaked in oil were now clean. For the first time in my 50 year long life, and possibly ever, they were pristine in appearance. I suspect that the Environmental movement had nothing to do with this, nor did the EPA. The steady pumping of the reserve simply lowered the pressure, and both the issues from the old wellhead blowout, and natural seeps, slowed to their lowest point.

I shot a few images to illustrate Man’s relationship with the coastline that has been my home. When I get angry, part of my process is to create something positive. Jeanette Ortiz, who is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and connected human beings that I know, collaborated with me. Donna Von Hoesslin helped style the work. The four images in this post, are part of a 24 image collection we created as an homage to the Gaviota Coastline.

Organic Relationship

Organic Relationship

Now ponder this. We have drilled a hole into the past, and unleashed a geologically based poison into the Gulf waters. All of what we know and have done in the past may now be ineffective. We could be wrong about everything. Our Govt. agencies are wrong, our environmental groups are wrong, we were wrong. Wrong about what?

Our choice to disconnect our culture from God and subvert our role in creation. We placed commerce and money in the position of being our God. We cut ourselves off from Wisdom and Truth. Wrong choice.

Timeframe

Timeframe

Reconnect. It is where the hope lies.

Here is a beautiful invitation to do that.

Better

Better

Here is a piece on Jacques Yves Cousteau , that is probably one of the more succinct and pertinent instructionals which I have read, with regard to Politics and the Earth.

Broken Bells. Good name. Sobering social commentary, exquisitely produced.

Steady on.

Hope.

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’s, sat in the window booth and shot the girl’s 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’s 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’s 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’s 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.

Cameraless

Sunday, March 21st, 2010
Matillija Spring

Matillija Spring

I was cameraless this week. It was great. Sort of. Okay, maybe not completely cameraless. I still had four 35mm stills film bodies, three mini DV cameras, and five high speed film motion cameras, all sitting on the shelf, along with the water housings for those. But I loaned my Canon 5DM2 system out and sold my Rebel T1i, in preparation for buying the new RebelT2i. (Wow, that Rebel was so new it had only seen 3000 frames before the new one was released.)

Canon (along with Apple) has been blowing my mind the past few years. We spoke, they obviously listened.  The application of technology and digital imaging, has created the ability to produce massive amounts of content. But this creates some big questions:

Where does that content go? What makes yours special? Does your content meet that unspoken, and often unseen bar of international standards?

A career is a function of time. Effort is applied and what comes out these days, is useable digital content-data. You can convert that pliable data into a variety of projects in short order.

I had an e mail tet a tet with photographer Brian Nevins this week about post production. Brian and I both share a bar that is similar for our work and subjects. “Hey Brian, how is your post production list looking?” Answer:“Oh hopeless. I just seem to keep getting further behind.” We cyber groaned in unison.

Right now, I have 7 stills shoots and 6 motion picture projects, in various stages of post production. More work is being thrown my way daily. I must be very careful, or I will find myself homeless with probably one of the most phenomenal collections of stills and motion imagery that I could ever imagine.

Why? Production is shifting. Usages are changing. Now, more than any time in History, publishing is having a demand to screen content placed upon it, that is heavier than ever. Everyone who owns a camera is a “photographer” and those voices, they all scream out “Look at me”, often without really knowing that, um, maybe you may not want to do that.

Of course some get through on occasion, by virtue of salesmanship and persistence. You can see some amazingly low bar crap go to print, web, TV, Theater or Gallery. But over all, the access to the market that the web affords and which shifts in demand have created, offers the potential to embarrass one’s self globally in a very short period of time. But what this also does, is make the truly great work stand out. A lot is on the line for publishers these days as many companies teeter. Edit staff can annihilate a publication’s value in a very short period of time.

The market is not stupid, though it can be naive. It self levels.

Authenticity, now more than ever, is the most valuable of commodities, along with content quality and validity.

Seth Godin writes here about the slush pile. That great pool of self spawned, unsolicited content. It is one of the better things I have read about being a creative, as it describes a bar, direction and potentiality measure, for content creators.

So back to my post production I go. 60 hours down this week, in front of the large 32” monitor I use. The surf was pumping. Offshore and warm. Spring has arrived overnight. Weird yet perfect for us, as this weather and swell combination combination rarely occurs this time of year. I got six calls to shoot the last few days, and wanted to.

“Sorry I loaned my cameras out” was my soft answer. Clickety clack goes the keyboard. “Save as” was selected in Photoshop about 1500 times and “Render” hit, in Final Cut, a lot. Whew. Life choices in the click of a mouse.

Here is a  piece of music which a close friend sent along. The message in it struck a deep chord with me. Southern Cross. If you read through the gallery descriptions, you may figure it out. It is descriptive of our lives, she and I. It may be said of many whose lives tie to the sea.  I cherish my friends.

The gallery below is illustrative of Spring, Diversity, and Authenticity. Click on the images for a larger view and description, if you like.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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