Posts Tagged ‘authenticity’

Love and Trustedness

Sunday, November 17th, 2013


Maybe it is the full moon which hangs sagging slowly through a clear western sky which has me awake at 3am working.

But I suspect that it may be something else.

It always cracks me up, when as I am sorting through the variety of large and complex projects which are the melange of companies I get to help shepherd, that a blog invariably pops in from Seth Godin. This one, (as usual) was exactly about what I am working on today. Creating trust. He titles it: Belief is More Powerful Than Truth.

I am a strong believer in Strategic Partnerships. In those exist an exponential potential for benefit via Intelligent Design with the express purpose of creating new and better systems, whereby we may generate benefit for ourselves, companies and Humanity.

Think about this.

What if people were truly happy to collaborate?

I am continually amazed by the people in my life and work, and am grateful when I see them thrive.

That matters to me.

Here is a really great piece on Shawn Alladio and K38 Rescue, which came across my desk this week. It is an insight into her world of generous contribution in Boating Safety and Lifesaving. I shot it. Watch the video which K 38 edited together, and you will see illustrated the tremendous odds, teamwork and collaboration can overcome. I really should build a film on what Shawn has done at some point. Bigger than life, because it is about love and trustedness.



Imaging Accountability and Authenticity

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

McGrath Farms

In the pretense of living in the now, it is not that uncommon for both people and business to overlook the manner in which they are able to affect things on the global stage. The connection culture of today, brings with it, an ever greater demand for accountability.

Accountability is one of “those things”. It is a tenet which is (hopefully) acquired at some stage in a person’s life, and (again,hopefully) as they grow, and the scope of the world in which they live enlarges, it scales. If it does not, you really could see some larger scale problems arise.

In his blog today, Seth Godin writes on going Beyond  Geography.  A lot of us who are connected to Seth via his groups: Triiibes, Linchpins or Krypton College, have been watching him expand the scope of his work, and are finding it a large and scalable resource in the building of our own projects.

Something many do not know about my work (I am a surf photographer right?) is that due to my connection to our world, and manner that I experience it, that I am frequently asked to engage in organizational development for scalable concept Companies and Organizations.

Recently, after a number of things came to light in a project which I was heavily invested in over a period close to two years, and just as it appeared I had brought funding and some needed structure to the company, I resigned. Why? Accountability. Whose? My own. I could no longer be on “that team” and do what they needed me to do. So I left. The act of doing so of course, is like tearing a piece out of one’s life. But when that portion threatens to corrupt the whole, we must make a choice.

Right now I am involved in the development of a total of six, large concept, scalable companies in my work.

One which I am Co Founder of, is the Oceanlovers Collective, which is a concept company designed to connect people who love and know the Ocean, to a world which does not have the first hand understanding which the Ocean Tribe possesses.

The idea behind the company, is to develop Ocean themed media and products which reflect the Authenticity of the Tribe members, and convert both the intellectual property and any profit into benefit, for Change Agents around the world. Oceanlovers is a connector.


The other projects range in interest from benefit driven Non Profits, Technology based solutions for Global Scale Environmental challenges, to product based Companies who want to increase their level of connection and authenticity, as they pursue market traction and growth.

Of course in between all of this, lies my ongoing Editorial work, as well as my work with Corbis Images.

In each and every one of these projects, the most recurrent themes are Accountability and Authenticity.

Because without those two things as siblings, nothing scales correctly.

It is frequently said that a picture is worth a  thousand words. Indeed. I frequently state in public speaking forums “A Photo can tell a thousand lies. Wouldn’t you rather it communicate some Truth?”

For an Artist, indeed for all who choose to communicate the creativity which love causes to flow through us in our work, it is our own hearts which we must diligently watch over.

It is illustrated to me repeatedly in all these things, that it is a battlefield out there.

The best that we can do is to not become a victim of that.

Accountability is our shield.

Aloha nui loa.


The Intrigue of Story

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Southside Richie

I get this with reasonable frequency. A publication or commercial client or individual will contact me regarding doing some work for them.

We sit down, a back and forth ensues. They really like what I am doing, and want work which will enhance their online presence by engaging Social Media. Then the conversation inevitably takes a dark turn when they state: “We need this imagery to go viral.”

The next thing that generally occurs, is a discussion of the type of work they want: stills, motion, video etc. Then the conversation turns to cost-expense. I detail those for the different types of media and personalities involved, and the story which they want to tell.

The next question is something along these lines: “You mean we have to pay for that?” At this point I learn that the client has someone in their circle or office that has a camera. They are self producing imagery. There is no story. It is what it is, someone hoping to use a basic (and frequently good) image or video composition, and hope that they can get social traction with it.

In the Creative Community we call gaining permission to approach, social traction, going viral:  “becoming sticky”. The reason concepts become like glue in culture is that the intrigue of the story creates a rainbow of emotional response.

You never will ever be anything but a Carnival barker without the light and intrigue of people and their stories. Why story matters: they are about people, places and experiences  which spark imagination and inspiration in the heart of the viewer. This process invites them to transmutate and become something very powerful: a participant.

Anything less is just that, something less.

So if less is good enough…

Well there you are. This video tells a funny and accurate story about us all as a culture.

But that will never be something sticky.  Being heard in a room full of clamoring voices is an Art.

Art is creative and inspiring.  People know the difference between authentic and contrived.

Joe Cardella. Art Saves Lives

We would not want anything less for our own lives. Why would anyone believe a client or customer would follow our company and mission if we were not communicating inspiration, authenticity and intrigue?

My friends at Stewart & Brown have a catchphrase I love: “Aspire to Inspire”














Thursday, February 24th, 2011
 Sculptural Elements

Sculptural Elements

This is number five in the series on Loves. It is actually entitled Four. (Really.) If you understand the play on words with the copy title “Fore”, well then, you “get” Art and Artists. That is a good thing. We like it when people get us. It is why artists do what they do. ART is our love.

Robb Havassy just left, after a 30 hour visit. When he had arrived, I was working through a series of images where I had been subtly taken by surprise at how the ocean had sculpted rather unique looking gems my Canon 5DM2 had managed to catch, while I happily and possibly very quickly, was ducking in to, or out of, a waterbash.  (reads: having fun)

Robb fronts a huge collective of people who have several things in common. The principle of which, is that they are artists, who comprise the cultural tableau that is Surf Culture. One of the interesting things to me about Robb is his surfboard collection. I have taken to calling them bastard children. 350 surfboard sculptures produced by a Corporation, to sit in mall clothing stores across the US.

The children are copies of a surfboard Robb had left at the home of a well know photographer and friend of his. As circumstances would have it, the board was left by Robb as a sort of gift to the photographer (along with a painting) and had been used in a shoot. Then later, copied “to a T”, and placed in stores to help brand and authenticate a company whose modus was “borrowing” from surfing to brand themselves, because in fact, contrary to surf theme inspired companies, this one was completely disconnected from surfing. They were a clothing company. They do not surf nor contribute to the culture. They take. That is their History. Robb’s experience was simply one of many examples the the Company’s branding modus.

Corporate Disclaimer

Corporate Disclaimer

Here is the funny part. On top of coming to Ventura to hang with designer Donna Von Hoesslin and I (creative sparks fly), work on Surf Story Volume 2 (which should publish late 2011), Robb was in town to pick up the first surfboard he had ever shaped, which was produced at the shop of Dennis Ryder.  (If you do not know about Dennis, you really should. Not only is he a historic figure in Ventura Surf Culture, but is a pioneer in surfboard design development.) But Robb was also getting another shaping lesson from me, and doing board# 2.

What got me excited, is that he brought two of the bastards up with him! I had never seen them. You see, Robb got those 350 surfboards back AND a small settlement in a suit against that apparel company. This was the catalyst for our meeting awhile back.

Robb and his bastard children.

Robb and his bastard children.

It had been the proverbial young David, taking on a sage old Goliath. Robb had used the proceeds to fund Surfstory Vol 1, his statement on the authenticity of Art and Culture. That is a done deal. But 350 bastard children remain in a storage unit in OC.

Robb, Donna and I, and now some of the leadership in Project Kaisei, have been brainstorming concepts whereby we may utilize the bastards,  which could really now be construed as cultural effluent, with faux fin boxes and foam gouges where the company logo was removed, and place some value back into the world with his collection of plastic trash.

This resonates with me because I have built close to 40,000 real surfboards. That translates to 40,000 people who developed a relationship with the ocean on something my hands and heart helped conceive. These mall store boards? Though replicas of Robb’s board, they were merely store fixtures, some even with leash plugs built into odd places, to be used for tie down points as the boards sat in malls, silent icons to materialism and faux lifestyle, whispering sweet lies to all who admired what they thought that the bastards stood for. The irony of this hit me instantly when first I heard about Robb. Surfboards are symbolic of people- surfers. They are meant to be magic carpet vehicles  to adventure in a watery wonderland.

We became fast friends of course. All of us.

But that is Art, and why Art, is one of my many loves.



Seth Godin has this to say about Art, Artists and Artistry. Simple brilliance. His Art inspires me.

Richard Lang is one of the many bright lights, who as an artist, is collaborating with us on Project Kaisei, plastics awareness, and changing the world through Art. Here is a fantastic video which illustrates how he and his wife Judith do that.

Art is for everybody and can be produced by anyone. Here is a great example of that.

The imagery below in the gallery is a small sample of a collection of refuse. I say trash, because I had overlooked these images in first edit of the collection I just built here in Ventura, California, in what may be a historic benchmark for the ocean this Jan-February, 2011.

I did not frame or intend to build these. They just happened as a result of an accord between perfect meteorological conditions, pristine ocean, and me swimming 57 times with my camera in 34 days. Spawn of my world.

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


Monday, November 15th, 2010
Impossible Panoramic

Impossible Panoramic

I  know who I am. So I recognize those traits that resemble mine, in my colleagues and friends.

This creates a deep affinity with those people who I repeatedly refer to as Savants.

Check the definition below.

savant |saˈvänt; sə-|
a learned person, esp. a distinguished scientist. See also idiot savant .
ORIGIN early 18th cent.: French, literally ‘knowing (person),’ present participle (used as a noun) of savoir.

I was pleased and honored when one of those, a certain Sean Davey, showed up at my door in Ventura, California.

Sean is a Tasmanian born, Hawaii ensconsed photographer whose work has forever impressed me. He arrived on a long standing invitation, to visit and photograph the place I live, which many of us refer to as California’s Gold Coast.

Coincidentally, Scott Aichner, who I regard as the best water action sports shooter in the world, had recently moved  home to Ventura from Hawaii as well. And me being Hawaiian and living in Ventura, well, you get the picture: family reunion.

Then Brian Nevins rang. He would be in California at about the same time. Brian rocks. Pretty much all there is to say about him. His heart is bigger than yours or mine, and it shows in his phenomenal work.

So all of us sort of collided in Ventura California. Learned and talented and passionate and on fire.

What resulted is pretty cool. We re- fueled each other.

The world will suck you dry. Your friends and colleagues know how to reverse that.

Sierra Partridge

Sierra Partridge

Seth Godin has this to say about us.

I was always told by those “In the know”, that as an artist and a photographer,  you need to specialize in one thing.


Scott Aichner, Sean Davey, Brian Nevins and myself are better than that.

Aichner, Davey, Pu'u

Aichner, Davey, Pu'u


We think that YOU should see and experience what we do. All of it. A perfect example is below.

Prickett Films has produced an amazing piece on the Irons Family, which documents the Memorial paddle out on Kauai for Andy Irons. They take you someplace incredible. Go there. It is a complete and generous gift.

Because you matter.

So we shoot.

It is very obvious when one looks around, to see who is authentic and who a clone.

This video is a very cool little piece that Robb Havassey did in honor of Kelly Slater winning his tenth title. Check the first song in the video. It is No Substitute. Written and performed by my son Josh. Josh gets it. So does Robb. See how it works?

Savantism is contagious.

The following gallery is a teensy cross section of what I have shot lately. If I were in an Arts or Photography school I would get an F for basically not parking between the lines. But in the real world: you win. Come with us, check THIS out. You need to try it. Feel it. Taste it. Do it.

None of us is fond of those straight white things.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.