Posts Tagged ‘Stewart and Brown’

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.

A Bali Journal: 2

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
Kuta Sunset

Kuta Sunset

Another amazing day here on Bali. Fashion and art imaging work followed by carefully choreographed motion picture work. So happy to have Aaron Marcelino on board. He worked his first stint ever as a Director today and did pretty darned well.

Spent several hours in Denpassar interviewing East Bali Poverty Project’s David Booth and learned more of the amazing story of redemption of a remote tribe in the mountains of East Bali. One of the more incredible tales I have ever heard, it was hard to keep a clear eye as tears kept wanting to come. I will save the story for the film. But tomorrow we all head over to participate in a celebration with a LOT of children and David’s staff. We will leave Ubud at about 5:30 am for the 2 hour drive.

Post interview Jeanette and Mary O arrived. We all streaked for Kuta at about 10 mph since rush hour in Denpassar is basically time to never be in a rush lest you go crazy. Motorbikes and every odd looking vehicle imaginable turn the two lane highway into three. It is pretty hilarious. If it were So Cal there would be bloodshed, but the dear Balinese take it all in good natured stride.

Finally at the beach we scrambled to unload and get a boat out to the 3-5  foot offshore lefts of Airports, which as the name implies is just off the runway. Sunset was a stunner replete with reds, purples and oranges and offshor spinning lefts.

So tonight back at our villa in Ubud I am surrounded by the people I love. I cannot believe we are all together and tomorrow we get to meet the children the world forgot, but David Booth found!

The images below are a few from today’s richly fulfilling take.

Sierra for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Sierra for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Hailey for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Hailey for Stewart and Brown and Betty B

Betty B Girls Kuta Beach

Betty B Girls Kuta Beach

Sierra, Jeanette, Mary, Donna, Hailey

Sierra, Jeanette, Mary, Donna, Hailey

Mary at Airports, Kuta Beach

Mary at Airports, Kuta Beach

Baliripper

Baliripper

Kuta Sunset

Kuta Sunset

A Bali Journal: 1

Friday, August 14th, 2009
David Booth's Welcome To Bali Text

David Booth's Welcome To Bali Text

Uneventful smooth sky sailing into Bali, and here we are in one of the most beautiful locations I have ever seen.

David Booth and Sam Holcomb of East Bali Poverty project “get it” when “it” means hospitality apparently. The villa they arranged for us to rent in Ubud is far and away the most amazing location I have shot in. I will save the description for the images which hopefully I can scare up time to post.

Long days ahead. Colorful and bright, dark and pulsating, with a richness  that one from a society with less dimension, would appreciate and relish.

Fashion, Art, Design, Creativity Love and Perseverance. All capitalized with intent.

Bali has long been an inspiration to artists. Here is a link to what may be the greatest collection of stories and surf art ever. The book was compiled by Rob Havassey, whose love and inspiration we all wish we had along. Rob is amazing. I am so grateful he included me in this impressive project.

Aaron Marcelino lands tomorrow, to lend his considerable talents to this project. A talented young film maker Aaron defines the term savant in his unassuming mannerisms and high standards. Mary Osborne and Jeanette Ortiz will arrive three days hence.

The list of concerns we will produce work for is a bit lengthy. Multiple fashion lines, several art based projects, and a film that defines Donna’s strange life, dedicated to making a difference, one person at a time. Funny thing about altruism, when you  do what seems right, the blessing turns around and catches you. Same goes for Art. Art does not imitate life, it is life, and death, and rebirth.

Shot motion picture of a pig being slain in the family compound of our friend Gusti Made Merta. Part of two days preparations for a ceremony. Sierra came with me and met the large extended family. Me, I was just the guy with the Canon5D M2 on a steady cam mount with a migraine, using a wide angle and on camera mic, I had to get close. Interesting experience with the pig. He knew. Standing next to his trussed form he was all about communicating the knowledge of his fate.

I listened, held the lens steady and felt him go, as salty smelling blood splish splashed into a blue plastic bucket.  Watched the pain and struggle,  heard the last breath go, as his carotid drained bright crimson arterial flow and life.

You appreciate life when you experience death. Part of the circle. The Balinese embrace it with a bit more honesty than most. I have always thought it essential to the family centric nature of this society. Part of privilege and duty.

Sierra post experience, biting down into a fresh cake, green from the banana leaf if was wrapped in. Quite the amazing woman. It was out of respect she drank ginger tea with Gusti and ate the cake, probably the last thing she wanted to do. I declined the offer to watch the cleaning of the carcass. More due to the headache, than any sense of wanting to spare Sierra the experience. The cake was especially good. Life moving along in a tempo unique to us.

Sierra's Sacrificial Rice Cake

Sierra's Sacrificial Rice Cake

Life Spiral

Life Spiral

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Donna Von Hoesslin

Donna Von Hoesslin

” My family helped make me who I am…and they join me in dedicating this book to our larger families, those countless millions around the world who lack money and security, but possess dignity and an indomitable spirit. For there time is coming and this story is for them. ” Dedication for “The Blue Sweater”.
The word family goes a long way here on Bali. If we were able to institute it in similar fashion in the US, a lot of social illness would expire.

Organic Reprisal

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Awash on Bali

Awash on Bali

We leave the troubled shores of the US soon, for the exotic environs of Indonesia where Donna Von Hoesslin’s creative muse lies, on the Isle of Bali. We are a tightly knit crew, who all will donate time and our own efforts in a collaborative endeavor to contribute to something that matters, and in the process, create something beautiful and compelling.

The excursion will be a little different than Donna’s usual solo pilgrimage to her mecca of creativity and harmonic bliss. This time she brings along a group of young women whose names have become synonymous with her Ventura based fashion accessory company, Betty Belts-Betty B.

The group will experience the process of design and symbiosis that occurs between US and Balinese culture through the sustainable philosophy of Donna’s eco based product line.

Taking an ensemble of beautiful, talented young women, and throwing them into the chaos, mayhem and exotic allure that is this ancient Hindu based culture, will launch the crew on a voyage of discovery, designed to acquaint the uninitiated with what really goes on behind the scenes in developing the humanitarian ethics of this unique company, whose product line is emblazoned with the names of an extensive collection of powerful and talented women.

Myself, and film makers Aaron Marcellino, and Jason Wolcott will take the viewer on a richly textured, exotic and visceral look at Balinese culture, that examines the impact one woman’s personal vision can have on two very separate worlds as we produce a film, magazine feature work, and art.

So off to Bali we go soon, where we will get to spend time with David Booth (see one of his projects here), whose East Bali Poverty Project transforms the world by educating one child at a time, one village at a time, in the remote communities of Bali. David changes the world through his vision of implementing sustainable solutions. We are blessed that he has invited us to contribute.

Mary Osborne, Jeanette Ortiz, Hailey and Sierra Partridge are physically very attractive women. But having traveled and trained with them, even doing Ocean Rescue and operations training with Shawn Alladio of K38 Rescue, I have seen them demonstrate their prodigiously considerable skills in the most stressful environments imaginable.

What the four bring to any creative and ambitious project’s table is so far beyond modeling, surfing or any of the action sport related activities that they are experts in. I would go anywhere with them and rely on them to watch over me. There are not many people in the world that I would entrust myself to. But I do them.

Seth Godin here on taking initiative.

Though I do not know exactly the nature of what will happen, I do know this, that a lot of love heads from our little corner of the world, in this unique visit to a land and people who are remarkable. We will see, and listen, and hear.

I love this. It is so this endeavor. As my friend Drew Kampion has suggested, regarding what we will produce: “Get weird”. We are about to. But then we already are. Why else would we go? Oh yea, that’s right: love.

I have tools

I have tools

Mary, Jeanette, Hailey, Sierra and Shawn ORT Graduation

Mary, Jeanette, Hailey, Sierra and Shawn ORT Graduation

Donna's Road Vision

Donna's Road Vision

Jeanette and Adam: ZDesert Shoot

Jeanette and Adam: ZDesert Shoot

Hailey, Sierra and Gidget for Hobie Swim

Hailey, Sierra and Gidget for Hobie Swim

Mary: Mexico: 40's pinup shoot

Mary: Mexico: 40's pinup shoot

Hailey in Stewart and Brown for Betty B

Hailey in Stewart and Brown for Betty B

Jeanette: Ventura Dawn

Jeanette: Ventura Dawn

Mary: For Patagonia

Mary: For Patagonia

Donna Von Hoesslin: Global Sensibilities

Donna Von Hoesslin: Global Sensibilities

Skinny Bitch: A Day in the Life

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

puu-2762

I have a rewarding job. I get to hang out with people I really like and create images that reflect a vibrant, healthy and exciting lifestyle.  In fact, such is the appeal of that lifestyle that the world of fashion uses it’s cachet to create branding for the many products it markets.

The way my shoots come together has always been sort of weird. Sometimes I feel as if some grand conductor has launched a symphony and I simply stumbled into the performance unawares. Then it all connects and I do my portion. It truly is a small part that I play at that point, albeit an integral one.

Hailey and Sierra Partridge and I were hanging out at my home in Ventura. They had made the drive down from Santa Cruz that day. One of the girls had asked: “Have you read Skinny Bitch yet?”(Skinny Bitch is a book about diet basically.) “I want to!” I had answered. “Just have not found the time. You know what Mary (Mary Osborne) and I always say right? Binge and purge baby, binge and purge.”

Our banter though light hearted and  an ongoing joke amongst us, serves as a continual sarcastic take on popular culture’s icon fabrication  process, where one starves ones self, does the “necessary” drugs and surgeries then models or performs. The result frequently can be an image that is not based in any healthy reality for the average female. It can be” the unhealthy art”. I frequently catch myself being simultaneously fascinated, attracted and repulsed by it.

I had a very general idea of what we would be shooting. Mary had called and asked if the girls would like to get spray tanned as part of a test of her new product and company, Sol Y Mar tan.  Donna Von Hoesslin wanted some shots for a campaign for her Betty B fashion accessory line. The twins were to meet the folks at the eco fashion company, Stewart and Brown the next day about possibly representing their line. My editor at Surfer, Jean Paul Van Swae, had sent me an e mail query about doing a series of vertical frame images for the magazine masthead featuring girls. Hobie always likes to see new images of the twins who as athletes and models, represent the iconic waterman branded company. Then there was Patagonia, Oneill etc, etc… I could hear the instruments tuning up. I made a list.

By the next evening the girls were a newer shade of bronze. Jeanette Ortiz had jumped into the group and I had spent the avo with naked girls running around the house. Now a part of me wants to go: “Yep dats right!” But the reality for most guys that work closely with women, is that though we cultivate a certain amount of sexual tension in order to build emotion that adds to the images depth, we are really more like a doctor-cum- artist when we look at our female subjects: objective and level. The actual process is the opposite of what some might think and definitely far from sexy for the photographer (and the girls if the complete truth be told I think)

Mary explained it to me many years ago from her POV. “Sometimes you feel like my boyfriend, sometimes my Father, sometimes my Brother, sometimes my best friend, I have just completely given up trying to figure it all out and just go with it.” And that is exactly how it is. We all travel together, spend long periods of time together and develop relationships that span many years, so a foundation of trust and commonality of purpose arises which makes for a very efficient process when it comes time to work. We have a lot of fun, and often, some great adventures, since most of the skinny bitches have superior athletic abilities.

The below text was copy pasted from an e mail exchange between Hailey, Sierra and I today. The girls have a casting call for a shoot with Vanity Fair this week and the photographer is Michael Halsband, whose work I have always admired. The correspondence offers a unique insight:

So do you know the photog? And thank you for the reassurance! :)

xo
Hailey

Nope do not know him personally, but know of his work and preferences. As long as he sees you as the real deal and unique he would select you guys. You would make him look good. Seriously. That is, if he gets to make the call. It is all about selling magazines and VF has a history, albeit recent, of attempting to portray surf culture.

You see, contemporary fashion apes surf culture in a variety of ways. One means is to steal it by doing things like this. I do not mean that in a necessarily bad way. It is the converse of what I do with fashion, whereby I import art, styling, lighting  and fashion and motion picture standards IN to surf culture via the work I produce for the surf industry etc.

Get it? Fashion borrows from popular culture since it is not a culture unto itself really. Fashion is there to sell merchandise and manipulate the wholesale and retail market into a longing for what it produces. Halsband will want that which exemplifies popular culture and makes him look good by having a facile tool with which he can build the image the photo dept and art director want. They have an idea most likely, but they are probably still looking,  trying to firm it up. That is what this modeling call is probably about.

I do this also.  But my process is different obviously. It is no accident that I chose you, or Mary, or Holly, or Jeanette or Hannah or Aubrey to work with. It was the basis of my decision to invest in little Asia as well.  My work is defined by my subjects. Fashion generally takes a different approach due to the way that business is formatted. For  someone or something to become a subject of mine it must be true and exemplify that which I wish to portray. You all do that. As people, athletes, artists/models, there really is a connection on the inside of me to yourselves. With you and your sister, as the saying goes, you had me at hello. Then as our relationship grew and we really got to know each other the entire adventure unfolded. Get it?

This is a fascinating twist and a huge step away from that last Allure shoot. This one is real. Be happy, go down, do what you know to do on the call. Be polite, direct, engaging and approach all in as intelligent a manner as possible.

They may want to portray what they are being sold (Sofia, and the contest surfers in this call, as products which exemplify women’s surfing), but my guess is that they will be looking for what surfing really is. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE OTHER DAY. SURFING IS ABOUT SURFING AND AN OCEAN LIFESTYLE. COMPETITIVE SURFING IS A DERIVATIVE OF THAT. GET IT? One authored the other NOT vice versa.

Relax, focus, have fun. It really is just like surfing. If this is the wave you want, this is part of paddling in. If you miss it, another comes along. It won’t be the same exact wave, but who is to say that one is better than another? They are just different.

Love always,
David

Blogger Seth Godin points me in the direction of a fantastic video that illustrates the fashion image game, which is here.

The images below are a cull from our 24 hour shoot and illustrates the work ethic and talent of my skinny bitches. We produced approximately 500 images and the conductor that day had us in near perfect form. We had a lot of fun, well, maybe except for the 54 degree water. Click on any of the images for a full view.

Equipment: Canon 5D Mark 2 body,  and more lenses than I can carry.

Location: Ventura County

Models: Jeanette Ortiz, Hailey Partridge, Sierra Partridge

Wardrobe: Stewart and Brown, Oneill, Hobie, Patagonia

Wetsuits: Oneill, Patagonia

Surfboards: Hobie, William Dennis, Dick Brewer

Hair: Danny Moa

Location assistant: Angie Izzo

Makeup and styling: Donna Von Hoesslin, Mary Osborne (tanning tech) for Solymar Tanning

Fashion accessories and jewelry: Betty B

Addendum:

Steven Falconer is incredibly unique and talented.  Today he is a novelist. But his background is as a highly successful New York fashion photographer. His  former models roster reads like a whose who of  fashion. He just sent me a note back in response to the blog, some of which I can post, some which I cannot because rather well known people’s names are involved.   Here is the part of his note that I can reprint from a person with a very rare perspective:

Thanks for sharing David.  I really like this shot, the way she’s carrying the board, the light, the wave behind, her long youthful figure.  Sounds like you’re busy and having lots of fun!  I’ve never read the book, but I don’t like the derogatory title.  I have to say that most of the girls I worked with were still slender because they were so young that they had hardly grown into their tall frames yet.  They had usually been veritable beanpoles when they were younger, naturally.  They didn’t have to worry about their weight any more than I did when I was young.  My problem when I was young was that I couldn’t keep weight ON.

When I  first met Steven some months back he was in a wheelchair.  Turns out a ski-ing accident put him in it when he was young and he built his amazing career while in that wheelchair. Something about him fascinated me from that first moment. I think that it is his  intense energy. One can see how it would affect his subjects.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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