Posts Tagged ‘water’

Relevance

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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Sean Tully dropped me a note the other day, which had me scrambling to find an image file we created awhile back. I could not locate the high res finals, only some low res jpegs. So I referred to the original shot file where the camera raws reside, and had a little look.

What I found was a slew of work we had not really put out into editorial at that time. I think maybe two or three from this series had become magazine covers, but the rest, had just not been relevant as far as I could tell. But today I sort of went “wow” as I found them and set to work processing the images on two new programs that did not exist when these images were collected.

In a world where we tend to chase our tales sometimes in the mindset that new equals relevant, I was pleasantly surprised that these images far surpassed every single image of a brand name surf publication which arrived at my door today in their genre.

Made me think about my own choices a bit. In short order the work will get turned over to Corbis and general editorial and used in a couple feature projects I have on the back burner. But it really gave me pause regarding my own assent to the value of my work.

Here is a rather classic piece of music. It is relevant to me in that it still means something. What does this say? I guess one would need to want it to know. Relevance. Bendictus by 2 Cellos

Anyway, below are some of those images. Click on any of them for a full, uncompressed view.

 

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Holy Water: A Christmas History

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Treasure

Treasure

 

Christmas began for me around  6 am on Dec 25th in 1955, when I was born.

My Mother had been on her way to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in Milwaukee Wisconsin. She had stumbled on the steps leading up to the church and labor began. I like to think it was me who pushed her. That somehow, I knew Christmas and I, we would need to become acquainted.

“Let me out!” I can imagine the look on my Mom’s face as she realized she would not be in church that day, Catholicism being what it was at that time in History.

I was to be the first born of six children. My  Hawaiian Father was attending Marquette University on a GI Bill program, and had met my Yugoslavian Mother. The rest sorta makes me smile. (I know how Hawaiians are about women)

So… A lifetime of Christmas-Birthdays later, and it seriously is my favorite time of year. But not for reasons one might suspect.

My Mother always made a huge to do about Christmas. My parents were generous to a fault. It is all that I remember, the fantasy of it and the generosity.

But what really made Christmas special had nothing to do with gift wrapping, Christmas Trees or Santa, much as I relished it all and loved it. What made the day unique to me, occurred one Fall day, as I was walking to Parochial school. I believe I was in third grade.

I used to make the rather long walk solo, and recall a particular day well. I had made my way from our split level 1950′s house,¬† three blocks through the housing tract, then along the railroad tracks which stretched through a mile long vacant field. Beautiful bright blue Fall day.

Toodling along, and somewhat bored by the length of the walk, and really looking forward to my day at school, which would begin with First Friday Mass, I was suddenly conscious of not being alone. It was as if I was looking at the scene before me through a wavy piece of glass, and I then met someone in  a way that was unique and new to me. That person was a man who spoke with me and showed me my life ahead.

I can only describe the conversation as exemplifying the tenet described in scripture of knowing as we are known. It was like being wrapped up in the most complete understanding consciousness that ever was. It is difficult to put into words, really. But I knew who this was. He walked with me. It was a comfortable feeling. As a Father now, I know what this was. Paternal Love being bestowed on me.

I never spoke of this to anyone. In fact, this is the first time I have written of it. I have reasons for that.

So many times I have seen people stress about Religion or Godliness, even over Christmas. But that day, Jesus showed me what He meant, and why, as well as how I was to be as a man. I understood  in the moment: that God so loved the world that He sent his only Son, His living Word, to be with us. And my response was simple. I accepted what he had to say, and said thank you. Fifteen minutes later I was standing outside the church.

It was then that I understood what the Church really was. It was me. And you. And Christmas became  special that year in a new way.

A rule developed in my parent’s house regarding Birthdays. With six kids, the best and most affordable gift in a single income household, typical of that era, was to allow each sibling to do whatever they wanted, on their Birthday.

So I recall quite clearly when at the age of eleven, now living in Goleta Ca. my mother asking me what I wanted to do for my Birthday. My answer was short and to the point. “Surf, Mom. I want to be at the beach”

So for every Christmas from that day forward, the Ocean was a gift to me from my parents.

And guess what? That same voice was there always, moving across the waters.

This is what Christmas is to me.  Time with my Lord, and best friend. I find it wonderful that I get to share his pleasure through my life and work.

 

Harmony

Harmony

 

Here is a great story about Apollo 8 and Christmas Eve and Photography, sent along by Artist Dan Levin. This was the project my Father had been working on as I was a  child.

Here is a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s piece Hallelujah done by Cloverton.

The images in this blog were shot yesterday, Dec 24th, Christmas eve. If you are reading this Christmas morning, I am off celebrating a birthday in the water somewhere.

Merry Christmas indeed.

Aloha Oe.

 

 

Blue on Blue

Blue on Blue

 

A Blue Voice

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

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In the moments after the Sea-Space Summit at Google ended in 2012, and some fantastic work had initiated, Charlotte Vick, who heads up the Sylvia Earle Alliance (and so much more) approached me and posed a very direct question.

‚ÄúDavid, what exactly is it that you do?‚ÄĚ Ever meet one of those people, who as soon as you connect, the recognition that you are of the same tribe becomes apparent in an innate manner?¬† That was how Charlotte struck me. What she really wanted to know however, is who I was.

Hers was a very direct question. In fact, I doubt that you could find out the real answer if you Google that, and me. (funny video eh?)

Google will not tell you everything, btw. You still must know a person. Knowing is a spirit soul and body process, and will never be digital. Knowing is important.

In the past few years I have found myself immersed in project after project where incredibly gifted, educated people come to the table, and on their own dime, explore large issues concerning the Earth and Humanity. They come for various reasons. Some of these people come due to a self interested, job related reason, some are steeped in crystal clear altruism, others just want to help: anyone. They have high skill levels, each one.

I seem to be getting asked back or otherwise am invited to join the conversation in yet another think tank type event, as soon as the work is completed from the prior one. People want to hear, what I have to say. So I go, listen a lot, and contribute a bit.

Today I am just home from a meeting of what would appear to be far lesser consequence. It was an Advisory Council Meeting for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, where Dr Andrea Neal, Blue Wolf, a Chumash Indian, proponent and advocate of Chumash Culture, and myself, went to observe, as a part of a commitment to be stewards over our local waters.

 

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In the course of the meeting, two young ladies, high school students, got up and gave a rather lengthy presentation on Marine Protected Areas. A subject which has been in front of me in several elite Science and Engineering based groups these past few years. The information communicated was basically a regurgitation of all that these children had been taught about MPA’s and the Ocean.

When they had finished, and the busy and time pressed chair of the Council asked if we had questions for the girls, I asked a few. Here they are.

  1. In a year, what sort of things do you do in the Ocean?
  2. What is your first memory of the Ocean?
  3. How does the Ocean make you feel?

These very self motivated and well meaning young ladies, who could be doing anything that would be more fun than hanging out with the likes of us, communicated something telling.   It was not based on info regarding the MPAs. It was that they did not know the Ocean personally, or intimately. They only knew what they were led to believe, about the Sea. Big difference between those two things: Believing and Knowing.

At their age, I would not have been caught dead in a meeting with the likes of us this day, talking about Marine Protected Areas. I was out in the Ocean engaging as a native, the very waters they were talking about. They simply did not have the same upbringing, opportunity and choices I had been given. (I wish that they did.)

So their talk  saddened me a bit. It said a lot about what this culture programs into children, and how we inadvertently indoctrinate them, and in process, separate them from Nature, thereby making them proselytes rather than active members of a vital ecosystem.

This is a great tragedy.

However, the idea of the Ocean inspired the girls, and gave them a sense of scale, and of their significance in the grand scheme of things. Sadly though, they really could not nail down a specific memory of their first introduction to the Sea. That last part said a lot. It is what motivated me to write this piece- accounting.

 

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 So, this is who I am.

 

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My name is David Franklin Pu‚Äôu.¬† I am the son of David Wahinealoha Puu, a Native Hawaiian waterman, who served this country in the Military,¬† Defense and Aerospace industries, who was the son of¬†Kalani Pu’u, a Hawaiian singer and entertainer.¬† I am Kanaka Maoli, by virtue of my genetics, and relationship with the Sea. (That video reminds me of my Grandfather, especially the voice)

The family history sort of meanders a bit at times, but most accounts trace it back to the Big Isle, where my ancestor,  Chief Kalani O Puu, who appears to have been the Uncle of future king, Kamehameha, played a pivotal role in the slaying of Captain James Cooke, at Kealakekua Bay.

When my Father got out of Engineering school at Marquette University in Milwaukee (where I was birthed)  the family pediatrician explained that due to genetics, my two brothers and I would likely never be healthy unless we were raised in a warmer climate.  So my parents moved to California

I am 53 ocean years old. I was born to the Sea, on a warm Southern California afternoon when I was four. On that day, the water had become my home.

Imagine that,  53 years in the water.

I remember the moment I met the Ocean with crystal clarity. As I stood on the sand and watched a surfer glide to shore, I knew with no doubt that this was where my life would be spent.

And at the chronological age of 57, I am here to tell you, that my life has been and still is, wedded to the water. The Sea has taught me much. But more than that, she makes me happy, and gives me peace, and a sense of well being.

For 50 years I have engaged on a daily basis, my home waters, which range from  the Malibu Coast up to Point Conception, and out to the Channel Islands, much as any Hawaiian would.

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My colleague and friend, Hawaiian Historian Tom Pohaku Stone, once told me something that resonated. It did not create any bright flash of enlightenment for me. But it will help you understand who and what I am. This is what he said.

‚ÄúThe Sea is our home. The land is where we go to rest‚ÄĚ

That is a key element if you really need to know what I am about or anyone is, who possesses an Ocean heritage, for that matter.

I have swum, paddled, sailed, surfed, dove, fished and worked a plethora of jobs and careers in, on, around and about the Ocean. I have traveled and experienced many seas, as was the way of my ancestors, who were explorers, and have learned a lot about Island people and the various globally scattered water tribes.

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To this day I spend every possible moment in the water, and as a Film Maker and Photographer see it as routine, the 240-300 days a year I get to be engaging the Ocean globally. It is my home.

I have swum with all manner of marine life, and am currently on swim-encounter number 38 with Great White sharks. I began to keep track of them much as a WW2 flying ace would of his victories, about 18 years ago.

I swim with Dolphins and Seals a lot. Sometimes with enough frequency, that they get to know me, and we create a tenuous, yet wonderful, human-wild creature relationship.

I once spent 10 days in the Maldives, without touching land, swimming morning to dusk with a mermaid, content to rise each morning and meander with light, and  current, in a life attached only to fluid passivity, and my mermaid subject’s wonderful, illusionary embrace.

Water is  life to our planet, but I know beyond any doubt that the Ocean has been the source of  education, development and sustenance, spirit soul and body for me. God Himself touches me when I am in the Sea and through it I feel His pleasure, and have learned His ways.

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The legendary Hawaiian waterman and cultural emissary from Hawaii , Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, was quoted as once saying: ‚ÄúOutside of the Ocean, I am nothing‚ÄĚ.

I admire the man’s life and leadership style of aqueous precept and example.

He was a pinnacle of human endeavor and life in the Sea. It is what Hawaii is all about.

But I disagree with Duke in a manner of speaking.

Outside of the Ocean I am something greater that I could otherwise ever be, were it not for my 53 years in the Sea. Because when I disengage from my daily environment, I can share with those who will never ever be able to experience what I have. You see, the people who need to know the Ocean, are those not IN the Ocean.

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When I stand up in a meeting,  before those who may not really know the Ocean intimately,  there really is no doubt in me about who or what I am, or what to say.

 

I am a Blue Voice.

 

The Wisdom of that voice can help create the brotherhood, and change which Humanity needs.

We all need to aspire to become a great, educated, connected, Blue Voice. For ourselves first, but for our children and future generation’s health, happiness and well being, after that.

Think Blue, become Blue, speak Blue and be the change.

We ought to not only learn of Nature. (That does not help so much)  We must become a part of it, and the human segment of the solution to the equations addressing our Blue Marble’s evolutionary progress.

This link is to an Ocean brother’s TedX talk at San Diego recently. His work is far more significant than many may guess. Dr Wallace J Nichols, a Blue Voice.

If, as you get to the end of this, you are more interested, or just want to otherwise question who and what I am, here is a small cross section of my stills work, cut together to the Blue Voice of Hawaiian, Justin Young.¬† “Walking On Our Waters”

If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, this piece is a novel, albeit a hastily thrown together one. We got to see Justin perform last week here in Santa Barbara with Anuhea. The thought of it still makes me smile. Happiness comes from the Sea and Islanders love to share that.

 

Aloha Oe.

 

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Being Clear

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I ran into a friend the other day, who brought up an interesting point about some of my work.

In essence, this is what he said.

“Do you realize that you often leave it to us, to figure out what you are trying to communicate? That can be really frustrating, as so many of us are busy with other things, and we¬† want to get it. But there is no time to track through all the links and study it all out. You may want to consider just telling us the answer.”

It really is a good point that he made. My fiance, Donna says this same thing to me frequently.

My answer typically has been this: “I do it for a reason. Maybe not everyone should ‘get it’. People tend to value things which they earn.”

But it gave me a lot to think about. Friends are good that way. They sharpen us. Because they really do care.

In edit this weekend, as I worked through post production, I came across this image of a teensy wave washing up a sea glass beach.

Colors are significant in that they illustrated different energy signatures. Water, when it is pure, is clear. Yet in the Sea, it contains the genetic signature of all life. It reflects every color in the spectrum. When polluted, it implements a process which eventually will purify it once again. It will go back to being clear to the eye. Yet below the range of human sight, there still is another universe active within it.

Yes, something to think about, for sure.

Respect for the Subject

Friday, February 17th, 2012
Home Base

Home Base

Respect narrowly defined, is examined here in this Wiki link.

One of the key elements for a creative in a study of any sort, is respect of subject. But here is the twist. One has to respect one’s self first. If that aspect is not nailed to the floor of a soul, the oft times hidden elements of a subject, may never reveal themselves to an artist.

Perspective

Perspective

But once those things do become apparent, it is self knowledge that allows for us to pick accurate lanes whereby we may expose, illuminate, and from where I stand as a human being, elevate our chosen subject, for all the world to see. It is in our own self discovery that there lies great success in communicating people, places and things that frequently, are so special and precious, a more casual observer, in this hectic, ” rush to see what lies over the horizon, modern contemporary culture”, would completely miss otherwise.

JOY

Joy

So how does this tenet come to abide within us? How do we learn to walk in respect, while still getting our probing and often intrusive job done? Easy really. You put SELF, last.

For those of you who know me or my life and work very intimately, you get that I have complete disdain for selfishness, especially within the realm of basic Commercial Photography. I truly believe what we do to be simple. So if that is the case, we ought never to be on stage. But ALWAYS out of sight. Our job is about servitude.

Chumash Maiden

Chumash Maiden

I learned something very important working in Motion Picture as a set stills photographer. Always stay out of the talent’s eye line. Of course, that is easier for me, being 5’5″. I dress for the background we shoot in. Blimp my camera, or use longer lenses if it is possible for me to stay out of the set’s staging area. I just follow the DP, and the shooting script.¬† I do my job. Document. Iconize the peak moments of a scene. Simple really. For some people.

When I came into Photography and Film making, I had a conversation with Editor Jeff Divine after he had given me my first cover. At the time, I had closed my rather high profile Company and stepped out of both Radio and Television Broadcast work, having just turned down the opportunity to be a co host on a Nationally Syndicated talk show. I was done being looked at. So I figured, what better place to hide than behind the camera?

Blossom

Blossom

Jeff knew what I was working towards. I confided to him that I disliked the attention I had received from the latest cover shot, and like a distressed and somewhat selfish child of a budding imaging creative, I complained. “You know Jeff, I only chose Photography because I reckoned that I could become anonymous. I just wanted it to be about someone else finally, and not be at the head of everything” Jeff looked at me and with that soft smile of his, shook his head and said “It is going to be far worse than anything else before in your life David. What were you thinking?”

Well he was sort of right. But just sort of. I doubled down on my efforts to remain anonymous. I even went into stock Photography production in signing a contract with burgeoning Commercial giant Corbis Images, where I figured that surely in a stable of great names, alive and dead, whose work was being pushed to the fore, I could just disappear. But all that did was raise the bar.

Having been a competitive athlete and businessman, I found myself just slowly one upping my colleagues. And they liked that. In fact, I think we all shoved each other along. Great names in stills and motion picture imaging. People who I had read of and whose  works I had admired all my life.

But in being around those great creatives, I noticed something about them. They NEVER let it be about THEM. They walked in respect, for themselves and as a result, elevated the myriad of subjects which comprised their daily lives. I will never forget the day that Steve Davis, Corbis VP, looked a bunch of us in the eyes in a meeting, and said something which changed my perspective permanently. “You all have the opportunity to chose anything in the world to shoot and communicate. We will even help you do it. There is nothing or anyone that is off limits. However, choose very carefully, because your choices will become what you are.

I have thought about that meeting often over the years. It is pretty amazing what I get to film, and who I get to live with on a daily basis, and what the world reveals to me.

But none of it would ever have meant a thing really, were it not for respect.

I read something recently, said by Duke Kahanamoku about himself. It resonated for me.

“Out of the water, I am nothing. ”

As creatives, we all need to realize that aside from what we examine and build, that without the flow and respect which comes from an intimate understanding regarding the nature of our subject(s), ALL of our work is nothing. It should be something. But more than that, what we do should elevate our subjects, and motivate, and propel all forward.

Creativity is Love is Creation.

Go do that.

Respect.

Watch what happens.

That is your job. It is life to a Creative.

Indonesian Dream

Indonesian Dream

 

As an aside. Each one of the images in this blogpost is an abject lesson on Respect and has a great story behind it. Feel free to ask me about any of them some time. You may be surprised at what you learn.

USCG K 38 Rescue boat operator class

USCG K 38 Rescue boat operator class

Aloha oe.

 

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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