Posts Tagged ‘Nias’

Windows of Perception

Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Nias Dawn

Nias Dawn

Perspective is a unique line item for all of us. Our own Point Of View (POV for short) is one that, being our own, may not seem particularly special to us. I find myself overlooking the fact that I can be rather unique. You may tend to do that as well.

As a photographer, writer, film maker, I am all about communicating a designated POV. I decide what perspective a subject ought to be examined from, in order to best embrace a particular viewer-audience.

This was one heckuva busy week. I shot a music video, BMX, a performance music video piece, K38 rescue work, did editorial fulfillment for lifestyle and some fashion publications. In each project, it was my choice of POV which made the work have appeal, or  “cachet” as I like to call it.

Here is a great clip, where the POV the film maker chose in communicating a mans job place, is a best case example. From music to narration to lens perspective, I was completely smitten by this.

Be you. It matters.

The gallery below is from this week. A short look at a thousand images and 6 hours of motion picture, most of it shot in the last 6 days. All work was filmed with the Canon 5DM2. Sound was captured using the  Beachtek DXA controller with Rode Shotgun and Audiotechica Propoint symphonic mics. One thing for sure, Canon not only makes my POV possible, they make it easy!

Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.

Grace

Sunday, May 31st, 2009
Nias, Isle of Gold

Nias, Isle of Gold

In any life, in the reduction of the actions and choices that take a person on their journey, after all the stuff of a person’s existence is burned or rotted away, what remains is something quite remarkable. For lack of a better word you could call that something grace.

It exists everywhere. Yet one cannot hoard it. The more selfish that one is, the less of it will remain. I crave grace, because in it, is an abundance and flow that changes and converts a world (and myself) from being entropic to regenerative. Human beings are like buckets with holes in them. We  only hold things like grace for so long, and it all seeps out of the bottom of our hearts. We need flow to keep our bucket full. Making our requirement, one of perpetual motion.

It is in our architecture, and that is what makes humans: frustrating, terrible, beautiful and wondrous. Each is always in it’s own unique level of grace. Our actions, well, they often are a reflection of the content of our hearts. We need more continually.  But gratitude, giving, it all brings grace. Suddenly we need less. And peace flows.

It is like the universe has an invisible  dimension where an eternal throbbing, pulsing flow of light and sound exist that carry all the energy that is love, nourishment and flow for the bucket. But to get a dose, man needs to first give some from his own bucket, all the while being well aware that it has holes and all that you cherish is fast running out on to the ground.

In a country,which seems on the surface to have fallen from grace, I have seen recently the most amazing proof that A) This is probably far from reality and B) I have been letting my own bucket run too dry.

I had not noticed, till our economic crash caused this great big sucking sound and I looked and saw my bucket was starting to suck air the same manner in which a drain does as the last of the water runs out. Whoa what to do?  Simple. I dipped my bucket when I poured all that I had left, onto the ground.

This blog is me doing that. The Intuit Small Business United Project where I gave more than I would consider doing for myself is another. (That story and video with about 4000 views in ten days is here and you can still watch read and participate with your comments and votes if you like, but it ends tonight)  The grand reward in these past several months came as I witnessed an outpouring and connection with the people of a new tribe via Intuit,  and a fresh flow commenced that began to once again, fill me.

We are all a lot nicer to be around when we have grace. But to see it, you somehow need to give it, without respect of cost or person. It is your ticket for entry into a river which never runs dry. It always has that affect.

In my life one of the best illustrations of grace occurred for me on the Island of Nias, which is off Sumatra in Indonesia. I was on a photo trip and it had taken days of difficult travel to reach the malaria infested place which is home to one of surfing’s wonders of the world.

Lagundri Bay funnels the energy of storms which come screaming off the Antarctic ice cap on to a reef which creates possibly one of the most amazing waves I have ever experienced.

The trip had been arduous in more ways than I will say here. Just flat out hard. I was in a steep learning curve phase in my life and career. The short of it is that I had almost drowned alone doing something I traveled there to do, capture an image. Finding myself at the end of my rope in the dark at the edge of the civilized world had been revelatory.

In the hills high above the bay is the village of Botohilitano. The area had long been populated by an indigenous population of head hunters whose culture embraced the tenets of black and red magic. A long history of people had disappeared in the area and their heads were used in the consecration of the foundations of Botohilitano village.

Visiting the place was something which I did not look forward to. I had studied bible and missionary work under a rather unique man named Lester Sumrall who had spent a lifetime working in the mission fields of the world. Sumrall spent life doing one basic thing: giving. I had learned much from and through him in courses through his college, about man and flow. None of that made me desire in any shape or form to want to actually go up to Botohilitano.  It was a long walk up a steep hill where the village was established, to keep it out of the reach of the tsunamis, which would regularly devastate this land sitting on the edge of the ring of fire. You had to really want to go there

But the day came when one of the guys on the trip, Ryan, borrowed a scooter and said, “Hey lets go.” Big camera bag on back, we putt-putted up the near vert climb as the rusty scooter strained at the load and grade. It was a dismal day for Indonesia. Think grey. As we approached the buttressed gates of the village my dread grew and lay on me like a heavy blanket. I knew what lay in and below the surface of perception. The thought of it sickened me as I knew how those people had died, based on my study of the tribes in that region.

A funny thing happened as we climbed off the scooter and slowly walked up the steps and into the megalithic village site. I remember it clearly as the dawn bursting into the frame of one of my images. As we stood in the central courtyard, that heavy blanket lifted and I could literally feel joy in that quiet ancient place. I was stunned.

We met and played a bit with some of the children and unobtrusively sort of browsed the old place for a couple hours. In leaving the village the entire process sort of reversed. Both Ryan and I remarked on it as we headed back down to Lagundri Bay. You could feel the place leaving you.

The next day I ran across Mark Flint, an Aussie guy who I became  friends with. He had pioneered the recent developments in Lagundri and had been in on the original tribe of surfers who had found the place. I asked Mark about the village. My simple, “Hey what gives with that village on the hill?” brought an amused smile and remark that I will always remember.

He said, “Oh Botohilitano? Why, they are all Christians. Some years back a group of missionaries went up there and were slaughtered. Later, another group of missionaries went up and the entire village  converted, based on how the first group had died. It’s a wonderful place isn’t it?” Nothing had been the same since and the head hunting and human sacrifice had ceased.

What I learned though, in my own process, is that it was not in the dying that everything changed for that little corner of the earth, but it was in that first groups choice of how to live. Do you really believe in what you say? What will you do? Would you die for it? Will you live by it? It is not that difficult a thing to do, to die. It is an act that each one of us must embrace at some point. That is part of physicality.

But the choice in living through grace, that is something amazing. Empty your bucket. Make a choice. Stick with it. Watch what happens. Your world is about to change, and it will be a good thing.

One of my new friends through the Group Tribes, is Ed Brenegar. He has a great blog on gratitude called Say Thanks Every Day here.

Everything you see was created through sound. In my Hawaiian culture, music is one of the threads the tribe always espoused and embraced. I have always thought that this put the ancient Hawaiians in the flow that caused the huge outward migration that colonized the Pacific and beyond, long before Western Man. One person who embraces flow, grace and gratitude in elegant fashion is musician Ben Harper. This video piece illustrates it well. Thanks to Frank Quirarte for pointing it out.

Another piece of music, that takes one on a sweet walk to grace is by my friend, Ventura based writer and performer Zuri Star and is right here. “Walk with me” is an invitation we all need to send.

And U2′s timeless rendition of Grace is here.

Seth Godin has a great little lesson for the Tribe here. Read between the lines and you will understand exactly why I included it.

Below you will see two images. In the gallery you can click on them and see their back story. They are yours.  Each is significant  to me. Below each image is a yousendit link which will eventually expire. You can download the print file and have my permission as the creator of that image to use it for personal use. They are my expression of gratitude for all of you who read this blog, contribute to my own well being and existence, and have borne with me in this Intuit event which many of you have been so generous in contributing video views, votes and comments on. 4000 views? I am blown away by your grace.

This amazing comment/quote was sent to me recently by Bill Babin, who also contributed the fantastic Ford Video which is in Connectedness.

You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.

Alan Watts (1915 – 1973)

Thank you all. The bucket is full.  Imagine that.

Millennium

Millennium

Download the print link here.

Nias. Roads End

Nias. Roads End

Download the print link here.

Grace

Grace

Legacy

Legacy

Dawn Flow

Dawn Flow

Drawing the Line

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Tyler Warren, Walking the Line

Tyler Warren, Walking the Line

Learning to say  “no” was one of Life’s hardest lessons for me. It came at great expense to those I love most in the world. No is not simply the absence of yes. It is the proverbial line in the sand of our life’s path. For a photographer and artist it is quite possibly the single most important thing that one can ever learn, because it is the no’s that will give you the space for the yeses that determine your subjects and future.

I have had several “aha moments” in a career association with my agency, Corbis Images. One of them was relatively early on when company VP Steve Davis spoke about choices. Steve stood in front of 200 of us, a collection of the best photographers in the world, and in five minutes explained how to create a career. I paraphrase below.

“We will help you to shoot virtually anything and anyone in the world. But choose wisely, because your choice determines everything about how your life will go”. Heavy statement. What this truly meant is that we had the weight, influence, and support of one of the most powerful imaging entities in the world holding the door open to a myriad amount of sets. The world of Music, Entertainment, Sports, you name it, this Bill Gates owned company had just said that they would commit to fulfill our desires as artists. We had been handed an e ticket really.

In the same meeting a creativity specialist spoke on the primary goals of an artist. Another “aha moment” occurred. She simply said: “Learn to image your emotions.” I will leave that statement alone. It needs no amplification or pollution by me.  It needs to be deciphered by you.

I chose my life to image, and the people and subjects that I love. I did this by uttering a complex word. I said “no” to everything else.

Today I say no selectively a lot. But this allows me to respond with yes,  frequently. It is why I am busy.

I get requests for me to give away my life every day, This is illustrated below in a funny tet a tet sent to me by Sean Davey. Saying no is more important than yes for a life and career. It all starts with no really. Remember being two? What was it you learned to say?  “NO!” Funny how we need to relearn that later in life.

From Sean:
Found this very funny add linked in a thread on Fred Miranda - http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/aus/558260167.html

Seeking hardworking service providers…
Date: 2008-01-31, 9:28AM CST

I’m a fabulously wealthy photographer / artist making money hand over fist. Here’s what I need:

A mechanic to overhaul my custom ’57 Chevy.
A maid to clean my house on a regular basis
A doctor to perform some minor surgery on me.
A band to perform theme music for me where ever I go.
A carpenter and electrician to build an extra wing on my sweet house in East Austin.
A nanny to watch my spoiled kids.

Of course there will be no pay involved. In return for your services you will get FULL CREDIT on my website, AND you can add all of this work to your PORTFOLIO! If you ask me, this is an absolutely awesome deal!

I hope to have you work for me soon!

Seth Godin had this to say about NO.

Writer Harlan Ellison’s take is here

Click on any of the images below in the gallery for a back story. They exist because I said no.

Garrett MacNamara , Cortes Bank

Garrett MacNamara , Cortes Bank

Afternoon Wave

Backlight

Backlight

Keiki Explosion

Keiki Explosion

 Crucifixion, Adam Gray-Hayward

Crucifixion, Adam Gray-Hayward

Makaha Blue Afternoon

Makaha Blue Afternoon

Nias Morning

Nias Morning

Sean's Dawn

Sean's Dawn

Ventura Morning, Anyday

Ventura Morning, Anyday

California St Evening

California St Evening

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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