Posts Tagged ‘Mary McGrath’

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.

Texture

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Textures and Light

Textures and Light

I like to listen to things. Sound is life. People think that because I am a photographer, I am all about light. But light and color are merely indicators of a signature flowing through creation that is sound. So I listen and try to decipher, to hear, comprehend, move forward.

Certain things that I hear create textures that eventually comprise threads which in turn weave the tapestry of life. You all get to see that, as I photograph those instants.

It is Fall here in Ventura California. The voices in my life burst forth in a timbre that in turn, becomes something remarkable. Here is a sampling of some  heard, these past few weeks. The view is rich but the sonnet, remarkably breath catching.

From film maker Gregory Schell.

“California Forever” Jean Baudrillard, (1986)

The sunsets of California are giant rainbows lasting for an hour. The seasons here make no sense: in the morning it is spring, at noon it is summer, and the desert nights are cold without it ever being winter. It is a kind of suspended eternity in which the year is renewed daily, with the guarantee that it will be like this each day, that every evening will be that rainbow of all the colors of the spectrum in which light, after having reigned all day long in its indivisible form, in the evening fragments into all the nuances of color that make it up, before it finally disappears. Nuances which are already those of the instant rainbow catching fire in the wind on the crest of the Pacific waves. This is the invulnerable grace of the climate, privilege of a nature that completes that insane richness that is man’s.”

From EMT and Photographer Charlie Witmer.

I’ll try to make this brief. I went on a call recently. An older

man about 89 years old had fallen out of bed at a supervised care

facility in his apartment and hit the call button around his

neck.The nurses all huddled around him said he hurt his legs. I

said to him “Hi my name is charlie, what’s yours?” The answer to

this brief introduction usually yields a clear picture of

orientation, slurred or clear speech,and affect of a patient. he

said, “My name is Ed” I noticed he was unclothed except for a

diaper he was wearing. I inquired as to whether or not he was

injured, lost consciousness, had any shortness of breath, chest

pain, and a few other annoying questions. He informed me that “I

just want to be put back to bed” I told him I had to perform a

hands on physical exam to rule out any injuries but that I first

had to move him away from the edge of the bed. I reached under his head

shoulders and chest while the other firefighter got under his pelvis and

legs and we moved him in unison out away from the bed. He

was putting his full trust in me. It was then that I looked up and saw the

photos of a much younger “Ed”. He had been a USN Commander and was in fact

the lead pilot of the Blue Angels at a point earlier in his life.

I asked him if that was his photo up there and he confirmed it. I

immediately told him how I admired the Blue Angels and In my mind they

“are the best of the best”. I felt so humbled and honored to be able to

help this unsung hero.I pondered in my mind what it must be like going

from having a rocket strapped to your ass, screaming through the wild blue

yonder at super sonic speed, only to land next to your bed over 50 years

later unable to get up on your own power

It also struck me like hammer that our glory days are so fleeting

and in time they become a faded memory. We really can’t take any of

it with us so we must make the most of what we have right now and

give what we can while we can.

I sent “Ed” off to the hospital having just been privileged to touch

some living history and honored to have met such a special man.

A poignant blog by photojournalist Logan Mock Bunting

From my friend and team leader, K38’s Shawn Alladio, an excerpt from a debriefing on the death of Cesare Visrara:

2 days ago, Cesare received his final send out in Italy. Rest In Peace. Life has been fair to all of us. We have a job to do and it is not finished. Learn better leadership skills,stay steady, stay strong, lead with integrity, lead without fault, use the standards, do not deviate. You must be physically fit! You have to be fit to do the job to the ending! Pay attention! You have to develop a stronger mindset. I do not want to work with idiots or mediocrity. Idiots and mediocrity kill people, destroy team ethics and has no place near K38, so get the fuck out of the way if you want to be weak. Strength is what you need, are you good enough? You better be, if not dig deep and make it happen. Find your weakness and change it. Don’t be afraid.

I want all of you to rest in peace as well. It is time to move forward and not stare at our past, but look forward to our future work and goals and becoming a better person from this experience.

As usual Seth Godin dropped this into my e mail just now. One of the voices.

There are many more things that I have heard this week. This blog could go on for way too many pages. But I recount those, to show and tell you this:

Things we hear, choose to listen to and embrace, pay great dividends. So discern and cherish those. Look at the texture it creates.  You feel it.  May you never hear those words: “You never listen to me.” What we hear becomes the light on the highway of life.

Listen to this while you look at these. The Earth whispers this to us non stop.

Did you hear that?

Zuma Post

Zuma Post

Cesare Vismara: Lifemarker K38

Cesare Vismara: Lifemarker K38

Pumpkin Patch Moonrise

Pumpkin Patch Moonrise

Sustainable Landscape Architect: Devin Slavin

Sustainable Landscape Architect: Devin Slavin

Community Activist, Camille Harris

Community Activist, Camille Harris

Photojournalist Helen Yonker

Photojournalist Helen Yonker

Ventura Voices

Ventura Voices

Trees as Men: Ventura Eucalyptus

Trees as Men: Ventura Eucalyptus

Mary, Dimples, Mary McGrath

Mary, Dimples, Mary McGrath

Lars Rathje

Lars Rathje

Ventura Harbor

Ventura Harbor

California St

California St

Dafoe's Vintage Bottle Shared

Dafoe's Vintage Bottle Shared

Ventura Pier Sunset

Ventura Pier Sunset

Two

Two

Two Tree Sentinels

Two Tree Sentinels

Highway One

Highway One

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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