Posts Tagged ‘Betty B’

True Generosity

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Vernal Retreat

There is a place on Bali which my wife insisted we visit. It is a Botanical Garden. Seems sort of obsequious, the idea of building such a thing in a place where one could plant a broomstick and it would grow. But I assure you it is anything but.

The place is a model of true generosity.

The man whose dream and life works this was, is gone now, having become part of that more grand sonnet which time plays with us all. But his gift, it grows on. And it is beautiful beyond comprehension. German writer Stefan Reisner authored this, and it quite likely is his best work.

So the next time you think about what matters, consider this. Sometimes the most beautiful acts are going to be those which you will never get to experience first hand but you authored, anyway.

Oh and Donna (my wife) gets all this. She has ears like an elf and draws inspiration for her design work from places like this. As she and I come up on our one year wedding anniversary, I am blessed ever more to walk through a life wedded to someone whose sensibilities are timeless.

All of us should be so fortunate.

Dream well.

Donna Designing


Creativity Restoration

Saturday, April 13th, 2013
Classic Triumph

Classic Triumph

It happened slowly, in a seductive manner. The devil that is responsibility to project fulfillment, had worn me down creatively. I could feel it, and understood what was going on, with far greater comprehension than one knows the proverbial back of their hand. (Does anyone really spend time looking at those?)

This does not happen so frequently as one might suspect. Most Creatives know how to keep themselves in the flow of energy that births new work that matters. Unfortunately, lately it seemed that the performance required of  me by some projects had begun to make me feel like a heavily laden beast of burden. (Okay, let’s just agree to call me a jackass.) It happens.

I knew what to do. Funny how in my work, things just seem to fall into place, in perfect timing.

A couple weeks ago, I had dropped by my wife’s little retail showroom-cum social salon-meet up location (Betty B) to say hello, when Jeanette Ortiz walked in the door. Big hug. It had been awhile since the two of us had seen each other. At 22, J had recently finished her degree work at Cal Poly and was pursuing work opportunity, weathering relationship changes, the stuff of life that can drag one down a bit. In fact, as we spoke, it hit me that we were in similar places creatively.

She and I, like many of the women who lend time and efforts to the various Photographic and Cinema projects which wander in the door, are not photographer and model. Far from it. We are co- creators. So it did not surprise me when Jeanette said: “You know, we have not made anything in a long time.” The subtle suggestion sparked a shoot I had roughed out over a year ago, to light up in my mind’s eye”.

“You are right”, I said. “Lets. How about tomorrow? “  “Sure, what did you have in mind? ” “You, naked. Remember that high key type shoot we talked about long ago? Let’s do that. Be a good way to spend some time together, and make something different”

Both of us know that sometimes you just go engage a project, for no other reasons than because you can, and want to. We both did. In short order,  I had dragged Donna into it to style and help Art Direct, called my friend Richie up, done some location pre planning, lighting design and cursory wardrobe work.

The next day the four of us assembled and dressed out a uniquely funky basement, I ran down to Paradise Pantry to grab a couple of bottles of wine for set dressing, and because Jeanette is a Vitticulturist-budding wine maker-chemist, and we got down to it.

4 hours later we emerged from our simulated multiple locations and settings around the world, taken there by our imaginations, and the efforts of four highly skilled friends. Creatively lit to replicate what one would really experience, were you to ply a small cellar apartment, a dimly lit alley in Europe, or just a charming home, in the historic Oil-Cow town of Ventura, California.

We all had needed that. Cobweb removal was complete, and the repression and constraints on our creative lives were once again, pushed back a bit.

Creative work is interesting in that yes, it really IS work. You assemble and place a lot of balls into the air. But you refresh in process, rather than degrade. It sort of feels like a dam has been removed, with debris and clutter able to flow out and down stream. Flow re-establishes. Without the element of flow, you learn first hand what stagnation is.

Here is an abbreviated gallery cull of the 24 final images in the new collection. Some of them should be available through Corbis Images soon. All work was shot on the Canon 5D M2 system, using high ISO capability, continual light sources, combined with focused bounced strobe, and were processed and developed in Lightroom 4.







Tis the Season

Friday, November 23rd, 2012



We all know what the Holidays in North America typically are significant of: the prior sacrifices and services of the forbearers of the Nation and Christianity. Of course aside from those, at the core, it should be about the inception of gratitude.

Traditions are funny things. Over time the embeds get, well… buried.

Seth Godin has this to say about it today.

Black Friday. Really? I hate the name. Black, the absence of light, love, or gratitude.

My wife, Donna had to explain it to me. Keep in mind, such has been my own transformation, that she was tutoring a man with approximately 20 years of product manufacturing and retail experience. This is what she told me last night as my sons, and two of my colleagues were sharing some Thanksgiving time together.

“David, Black Friday is about putting retailers back in the black on their balance sheets. You know, as opposed to being in the red! ”

“Oh, I see.” And I did. But likely not what she thought.

We are so wrapped up in the day to day struggles here in this country that we are easily sold out, and  that  personal resolve, it sometimes becomes an unwitting and yes, even unwilling participant in something we ought to refrain from.

Well why should we resist? I mean, isn’t this supposed to be about giving? What are we to do?

Easy. Never stop doing what we can, and do it for no other purpose as to act in an expression of what is in our heart. Better make sure what is in there is not Black. It really needs to be white.

This weekend, Donna is having a company sale at her retail and online stores. But her take is a little bit different. Hurricane Sandy gutted the East Coast. There is no way existing Govt programs are going to be able to do much to alleviate suffering as Winter descends.

All week long, while I had been wrestling with issues regarding Blue Ocean Sciences and OceanLovers tech project for radiation remediation in Japan, Donna had been studying up on the problem of the East Coast. I had given her little in the way of hard advice, but had explained what to look for.

I do work in affiliation with K38 Rescue. We are tutored and trained in disaster response. I know a bit about the process, especially after witnessing what Shawn Alladio did during Katrina, and more.

So here is what Donna found. On the East Coast is a group Called Clean Ocean Action. For many years they have coordinated social and environmental programs on the East Coast. On Dec 8th they have a projects call, were they want everyone to contact them and will act as a liason to put resources where they need to go. As a trained first responder, I have to state and underscore, that this is VERY smart.

So instead of a Black Friday push, Donna and Betty B will donate 25% of all sales both online and in her store all weekend long, to Clean Ocean Action, and write a check and send it on Monday. NOT black. Green. Understand?

That is how we all ought to think: reach out, connect, and do so intelligently.

Giving is really about the beneficiary and not us, as the givers. That gets buried, much as one would think that it does not.

My brilliant friend Pete Ippel, left me a note on Facebook which I found this morning. A youtube piece called Buy NOTHING Day.

“Gratitude. It is a response to the gifts that are given to us in life. And when we commit to a life of gratitude, life becomes a complete gift of receiving and giving. It brings peace and contentment as a result. “-  Dr. Ed Brenegar

I unfortunately do not sell much, but I do have affiliates who carry some of my work.

This weekend, Solitary Exposure is doing a promotional sale. Donna also has a bit of my framed Artwork that she sells in her Fir St Store here in Ventura. So let’s do this. I will take 25% of my royalty payments from all sales via Betty B and Solitary Exposure from today till Christmas, and write a check to Clean Ocean Action in their mission to alleviate suffering from Hurricane Sandy.

But what I want any one you to do is this: say or write to Larry Beard or Donna, that you are grateful for what they are doing. Express gratitude in word and deed.

That matters.


Here is a little gift.

It is what is in my own heart, after much study about what goes on in Japan right now. I will write on that when I have a bit more time.

Aloha oe, a hui ho.

Being Present

Thursday, December 8th, 2011
Present Self

Present Self

In my own creative process, little choice exists for me in my work.  In order to succeed, I must be present, in the right frame of mind, at a propitious moment. This requires that I listen, or “be present” in order to perceive that something important will occur ahead, in the time frame we call the Road of Life. I am there before my body is. That is how what I do works. I know where to be when not many others seem to see or care about that. But anyone could do it. So why don’t they? Why don’t you?

Seth Godin says it so well in this blog entitled, “I Am Here”.

If you want to matter: be present, show up, pay attention. Pretty simple. But you would be surprised how many do not get the importance of placing themselves in the middle of a meeting or event, or of simply sitting down to listen to someone who has reached out to us. There are a few things I regret not having taken the time to do. I know when I have missed it. But most of the time, well, my library and career exist, because I like being present. So I do. I bring a camera, and a receptive heart.

One of the most wonderful and entertaining experiences I have had recently, involved listening to a man who looked to be just a step off the streets, in an automotive shop in Santa Barbara. In an hour he had poured out one of the more fascinating life stories I had ever heard. Turns out that man, who obviously needed some dental work and rest, fronts a racing development company, cares for an indigent parent, and is sitting on cash assets in excess of 60 million dollars, as well as being a very involved parent. He invited me to visit him where he lives works and races, in Oregon. I may go.

My desire to be present is why I got be be there to meet and experience the men in the image below, who do great things for the Oceans.

Blue Mind

Blue Mind

Wallace J Nichols is a Marine Biologist who I met while attending a series of conference- workshops in San Francisco, at the invitation of one of the Directors of Project Kaisei, my globally thinking friend, George Orbelian. I have gotten to spend  fascinating one on one time with J. That man is PRESENT when we talk about life and the Oceans. Here is a fantastic article, written and published in Outside Magazine this month. He is also on the cover. If you want to understand what exactly needs to be done in order to be present, in building a better, cleaner more productive world, and how both you and the Oceans can benefit, read this story. A notable excerpt and an item of great common water (ground) is right here below.

“Whether it’s a 92-year-old or a two-year-old, when they come into that blue space, something happens,” Nichols says. They grow quiet and calm, but there’s more to it than that. When couples walk in, they frequently start holding hands. He says that if you ask people here what they’re feeling, they’ll struggle for words. Nichols finds this fascinating. He also believes that if we can understand what really happens to us in the presence of the ocean—which brain processes underlie our emotional reactions—it could bring about a radical shift in conservation efforts. If we learn precisely why we love the ocean, his thinking goes, we’ll have an immensely powerful new tool to protect it.” J Nichols from Outside Magazine

J Nichols, our world

J Nichols, our world


Frequently I get to sit and talk, or work along side, some remarkably bright lights. I see much commonality and brotherhood amongst them all, but one of the focal points is their understanding of the value in being present. This week I got to sit with Community activist Randall Richman here in Ventura.  When I got home, K38 Rescue chief, Shawn Alladio was sitting on my couch, having just wrapped a Rescue Boat Operator course at Vandenberg AFB. She stopped in and we spent hours together, looking through digital assets, discussing  projects, and well, just being PRESENT in each other’s lives. Her blogpieces on the recent visit for post tsunami recovery and training for K38 Rescue Japan is a fascinating look at Marine Debris. What Shawn Alladio and K38 Rescue is doing about debris is right here.

Soon after that, I had breakfast with research Scientist Dr. Andrea Neal of Blue Ocean Sciences, who is also the Science Advisor for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, as well as the Principal Investigator for Project Kaisei. She is making inclusive, being present type plans, for a large number of fellows.

Recently, Dr Ed Brenegar of the Community of Leaders, showed up at my door here in Ventura California. Ed is one of THE most present people I know, in  person, digitally, and spiritually. He knows to show up, and listens more than he speaks.

Ed Brenegar: being present

Ed Brenegar: being present

In fact, I get to meet with so many people who enjoy being present, that I am 100 percent convinced I will be afforded vast opportunity and as a result, my image library will likely prove at some point, to be of significant Historic worth. It is obvious to me.

Here is a great little message from one of the “present” people in my life. Donna Von Hoesslin, the head of Betty B, whose company is all about being Ocean inspired. The image below was shot this week in San Francisco, California. In the background is SF Bay, where a few months ago, George, Donna, J and others of us were present shipboard, hosted by ARUP and Cole Roberts, for the sole purpose of being present and examining how the future of the Oceans and our world, could look.  Get it? The manner of connection? You must do it. Or nothing happens.

So what in the heck are you going on about?  (You may be wondering ) What ARE you doing with this?

This is my life. I am surrounding myself with social architects and designers capable via connection, to design the future. I want, no, I NEED, to be a part of that. I have a bit to say and show about the world and the Oceans, and I have always loved sharing. Everything came from the sea. It connects all creation.

So why should you show up? I mean really……. Life is busy. Times are hard all around. So why do it? Why be present?

Because the world needs you,  and you are the one who will benefit in the end. The process will confer great benefit upon YOU.

Life is a gift. Give it. Offer your life. That is what being present, really means. At the end of the day, you will be so glad that you chose to do this: engage.

Open arms of presence

Open arms of presence


 Here is a fantastic call to action by the band Muse.

Here is a poignant story sent along by one of my K38 team mates, Dominik Gryzb. The story is of a Father and his son. Present. To serve. To Love.

Sent along by The Daily Good: how to wage peace.


We are the change.




Love Does

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
How to Be

How to Be


I find myself back in the office, in Ventura, California, and once again, am up before the chickens. Maybe it is jetlag. But I doubt it. My waking dream was about love. Not the manner or type of which one might think, coming from somebody who just proposed marriage to his long time girlfriend.  It is the type that changes everything.

As I work through the processing of 2800 images from Bali, I went straight to the above image this morning. (It was in my head as I awoke).  A bracelet Betty B produces, post birth, in a Bali workshop. It is a ring of sorts. Rings say a lot. People’s lives are sort of like that: rings. Would that all of ours would have the same stamp on them. The world would be better for it.

If you read nothing else this year, read this remarkable piece on Steve Jobs, by his Sister, Novelist Mona Simpson. It was sent along via some mutual acquaintances through my dear friend and colleague, Martine White.

Love Is

Love Is

I am always struck by the quantity of people Donna Von Hoesslin’s company vision touches, and how it affects change. The look on her face as she sits with one of her teams of artisans on Bali says it all. This matters to her, that her company offers a link to other realities for her people. I think it may possibly be the single best design catalyst, to care enough about people that one would be willing to love them to the point of changing their worlds for the better.

Betty B could manufacture anywhere. Margins would go way up in some ways, but the quality of life for people she deems special, would not. So she keeps most of her work creation on Bali. I jokingly refer to her modus, as detente by design.

But it suits her. And her collaborators. And something very, very special, is born into this world by it. Jobs did this very same thing, in his own way with his family, and with Apple. He changed the world.

i Life

i Life

Donna and I both are able to create a heck of a lot with great facility, due to Steve Jobs. In the image above she documents something pretty cool. However, what she does not realize is that her artisan was working on the engagement ring which I had designed for her. The little green piece of seaglass on the table, was one which I had brought over from California and had at the last minute swapped out for a smaller piece found on Bali. I was stifling myself as I shot this in Ketut’s workshop.

Life tends to become a blur. Donna’s designs make one pause, and consider what beauty and love truly are all  about. We need that. I need that. It is what I want in my life.



I had a lot of time to think, and shoot, as Donna and I flew home on EVA. Our route takes us over Brunei. It seems that magical things always occur there. Here is one grand panoramic which seems to me like a castle in the sky.



Landing in LA and going through Customs, I saw some of the same agents who always seem to be there, and without fail, welcome me home each time. As I pass through the new station, complete with camera and fingerprint ID system, the tired looking agent asks me if I have anything to declare. “Ah not really. I did not bring much back.”  “OK. Good trip? he asks.”  “Yea great. I went over chasing a girl. Found her. Asked her to marry me. She said yes!”

Guy cracks a big smile. “Man that is great. Welcome home”

And as I strode into the baggage hall, I knew what lay ahead. It had been a peaceful respite being on Bali. But my country is in deep shit on many levels.

Fixing this place will take a whole lot of Love. I would have to live it. Not so easy to do, when what kills the country is selfishness. But each one of us, if we really want a sustainable future, well, we have no choice but to live it. That is where the beauty truly lies.




© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.