Posts Tagged ‘Partridge twins’

Beauty

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Beauty

Beauty

 

One of the linchpins in the success of my imaging career, has been the ability to recognize and communicate beauty. Sounds simple. The reality is far from that. The reason being, is that beauty is a complex subject, and really has little to do with obvious and apparent physical attributes.

Take the image above. Pretty girl. I made her prettier with my skills as a photographer. But what makes this beautiful, is understanding. Me taking the time to understand who and what she is, made me want to pursue working with her.  Jentry is the daughter of two  remarkable parents. She is a dancer with discipline, talent and creative vision, and has what I like to call: “purity of motivation”.

In other words, she “gets it”. That makes her inspiring. This translates to real beauty. You cannot forge beauty. It may be counterfeited to those who only see in the superficial tones  communicated in today’s highly compromised value systems. But true beauty will always be above corruption.

That is probably why I attach myself to the Ocean so willingly. It is difficult to corrupt that. It goes on. Powerful and Beautiful in it’s intricate workings and purpose. Water is life and carries within it the energy signature of the universe.  When we experience beauty, it resonates in the human heart in much the same manner as a string plucked or stroked on a musical instrument which vibrates and exudes sound.  Beauty is like that: pure in tone and motivation.

Blue Pulse

Blue Pulse

My phone rang early yesterday morning. I was online and engaged in a written conversation with Dr. Ed Brenegar about corruption in our culture. Ed is a very educated member of a global leadership community. He always seems to be on point and is generally writing what I am thinking .

The voice on the other end was my friend George Orbelian, who was ringing to speak with me regarding an event being put on by Tre Packard of the Japanese based Environmental action group, Pangea Seed.

Pangea is putting on an Art event in SF, and had sought some help in promoting it. I had suggested Tre speak with George, who is a loved and connected member of the SF Community, and heads a plethora of Organizations.

George is a busy man. He always gets right to the point. “David, what can you tell me about Pangea?” I went straight to the heart of it. I knew what George was asking. “They endeavor to change the perception of Japanese culture through Art and Inspiration, George. Being Japan based, they understand cultural tenets and know that in order to implement real change, the head on approach to Environmental Activism that we use in American Culture is ineffective. Pangea has what I would call a very pure approach. They communicate the beauty and importance of preserving sharks and other marine life, in building a healthy ocean and country. They get it.”

Eternal

Eternal

“That is perfect. Okay I know what to do”. George is like that. We all should be. One needs to check behind the facade these days. For often, what appears to be beautiful and pure, may be something else by the time you see it, than what it was when it was born.

I asked my friend a question. “George, are all Environmental Govt agencies and NGO’s corrupt? I mean, is that just the way things are today? ” (George heads up Project Kaisei, an NGO Environmental entity).

I gave him a brief account of a locally based NGO that was founded on the premise of serving the poor, and what I had recently learned about the leadership, one of which is paid a 200K annual salary.

Majesty

Majesty

“Let me tell you a story” George quietly launched into an account of some close friends of his, who had gone to India to do some humanitarian work. In process they found themselves in the facility of a world famous organization headed up by a global religious figurehead. What they saw there perplexed and alarmed them.

In the facility was a large  room being used as a nursery. Against one wall of the dirty room was a huge pile of toys apparently discarded and untouched. In cribs throughout the room where infants. Grimy, marginally cared for. George began to choke up and explained that this was difficult to talk of. He went on.

“As my friends began to pick up and meet each child, they realized that the children were being left in there. They were never taken outside. They tried to make a difference in caring for them. But it was obvious what was going on. (George describes in intimate detail what those aide workers saw. Chokes up more)

“Thanksgiving was a few days away. They figured that maybe they could help by easing the lot of the women in the religious order, who were a part of the operation. So each member of the party picked something to cook and on Thanksgiving, they brought the people at the orphanage a beautiful traditional American Thanksgiving meal.

As they brought it in, one of the workers there, realizing that the group was trying to do a good thing, took them aside and explained something. The people of the Religious order ate like that every day. A prestigious Hotel chain catered all of their meals. They also told them this: “And you see some of those unkempt babies? Those neglected, discarded children? Some of them were born to the members of the order.”

In tears, George explained “Everything goes this way, they are all bad. But they generally do not start out that way. It is just the process that organizations go through.”

In tears as well, I got it.

Beauty is an honorable state of being. The pretty face of the warm fuzzy thing you thing you feel compelled to “save”? Well, you may have just fed something corrupt. In not looking, and not endeavoring to see, you may have contributed to something evil.

No one wants to abuse babies.

People are what matter.

Be the solution.

Seek beauty.

Whisper

Whisper

 

When we do this, if we do this, we take the lead, and engage the creative process, rather than becoming a part of the destructive process, also known as entropy. That should matter greatly. It cedes to accountability and responsibility. Our organizations need this.

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

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

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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.

Model Models

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
House of the Waves

House of the Waves

Recently, NYC based production company Silent Crow was in Ventura. Two writers with the company happened to have connected with Donna Von Hoesslin of Betty B and learning a little bit about her female inspired Eco Fashion line. They came up with an idea.

Producer Matt Bennett showed up to do a little bit of discovery work, and honed a reality show concept that deviated from the norm, in that it endeavors to look at the personalities and lives of the women in both my and Donna’s lives. Silent Crow named the show Bonafide.

Donna and I have long exchanged working relationships with people who we see as unique, and able to be involved in both the editorial market, and branding process, both for the model as a product, and for Betty B’s unique, ethics based, Fashion accessories line. The Betty Blog is here.

What Matt discovered is that each one of these women is a story unto themselves. Tricky thing to formuate a show upon. I just saw the teaser reel that Silent Crow Produced, and that I contributed footage and stills to. I think they get it. Not an easy thing to do, getting something that is a world unto itself.

Hailey and Sierra Partridge are two of the girls who were not involved in the show pitch per se. Recently a potential new supporter of theirs, Tonic, asked to use a couple images of the girls for branding purposes on their website.

What ensued for me, was a look through the girl’s files that began with a shoot for Betty B in Santa Cruz when they were about 16. Images from that first shoot went into a multitude of publications. Donna had simply shown me a cold pitch the twins had sent in and asked; “What do you think?”

“Duhhh yea”, was my first response. “Beautiful twins, athletes, and self motivated? What is the question?”

Sierra, Winnie, Hailey

Sierra, Winnie, Hailey

But what I discovered in the course of my years traveling and shooting with these young women, was something special. Having a rough go as life started for them, (They were basically born blind) the two daughters of Santa Cruz waterman Rym Partridge, and his wife Winnie, a career flight attendant, weathered the waters of Nor Cal, the alpha male environment of Santa Cruz, and tutelage of their Dad (Think gnarly. Better than you, better than me), to become waterwomen.

Rym

Rym

As they engage college, they have had a high bar for life and ethics set for them by the family, which has a history of not only strong nurture, but strict ethical and moral compass headings. Rym’s stories of outback charity work which began in the poor parts of Hawaii, and has taken him all over the world (he is a Dentist by trade), set a certain level of expectation for the young ladies.

Rym riding Rym's Reef. 65 years old.

Rym riding Rym’s Reef. 65 years old.

Then there is Donna, and the incredibly competitive group of women who are the core of Betty B’s brand identity. Not an easy act to join, as each person is an entity unto themselves. They are sort of the anti team. But then again, surfing is an anti sport: a renegade, self oriented, lifestyle.

I find it interesting, as I look back on the thousands of images that the girls and I have produced, that I never saw two lanky blond beauties, I only saw sentient, kind people, who happened to be great athletes, and a certain potential. Shadow of their parents.

Betty B, Hobie Sports, K 38 Rescue, Oneill Intl, Ocean Minded, and countless editors, have supported and published this work. It gets pretty entertaining when certain fashion magazines come up with “great ideas”,  then use the girls in them, right down to my art direction items, like the Red Ford Bronco we used in one of our Hobie shoots. (Hey I have a great idea)  There is a reason for me hanging with who I do. I have a low tolerance for insincerity, and a penchant for authenticity. Real is valuable, and life is far better than fiction ever could be.

This edit illustrates a best case example of why I tend to to keep my subjects with me over time. The work becomes vital.  We learn. We have fun. And authenticity? Well, they are the real deal. This is all them. I just pose suggestions which my career and vision allow for. If someone will not push the edge of their comfort zone continually, they will really learn to hate me in short order. But if they do have that desire, what an adventure occurs.

Model models for me, as they are the anti models: they are real.

Another one of Donna’s talented women, is singer songwriter Zuri Star. She has this to say. “You Don’t Know Me”

“Sex appeal is 50% what you’ve got and 50% what people think you’ve got.” ~Sophia Loren

The following gallery is a cross section of some of our work together. Click on any of the images for a larger view.

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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