Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Messy and Beautiful

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

I frequently note that Life (that precarious process which we see daily around us) is both messy and beautiful.

In my work this is illustrated to me regularly.

Seth Godin writes beautifully on that today, in a blogpost entitled Our Crystal Palace.

Julie Borowski hilariously points out the ridiculousness of the TSA in a very similar vein when she is molested by them and makes a beautiful statement about something very horribly messy.

In our tendency to want to get through the messy, we somehow lose sight of the beautiful, and quite frequently pass on the possibility to effect some meaningful change in our lives, and that of those around us.

Life is both those things: messy and beautiful. We all might do well to appreciate the former, in spite of it getting a bit sticky and embarrassing at times.

Wind Farm



Beautifully Messy

David Pu’u: Film School Project

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

I get letters somewhat regularly, as do many of my colleagues, from Film and Art School students who as part of their class assignment lists need to study a Photographer or Film Maker.

I take these seriously. Since I get a fair amount of them, I decided to do a blog on the subject.

The following excerpt is one I really appreciated as it came from the daughter of someone I went to school with. I am pasting it below with some entertaining and informative links that will give anyone who possesses a moderate amount of effort and ability to self motivate, a great look at what exactly it is that I do. If one looks a little bit more closely (I am a firm believer in incentives-reward for effort) there is a treasure trove here for a young Creative mind.

The Correspondence:

I have known about you for a while because my dad and I would always look at Surfer mag and he would see your pictures. He would go…David Pu’u, I met him in 7th grade P.E. class. So I have always been a big fan of your work. I see from your website you have been doing some video things as well. I would just like to get some background info about you. For my project I need to talk about you from 3 min. So whatever info is most important.
Some questions:Where did you grow up?

Santa Barbara Ca. Here. Google can be your friend sometimes (Or the road to massive distraction if one is ADHD prone like I am)


Where did you attend college?


SBCC. I was in Pre med and transitioned to business. Never finished my 4 year degree (came close) as I was already running a  company, on the radio as a personality, and doing entertainment based projects.

When did you start photography?

When I was 12. My Dad was a map maker and Photographer in the Military. He gave me his Army issue Nikon kit, and I self taught.


What was your first job out of college?

I never had one. I worked my way through, as a Restaurant Manager and Production Manager for a packaging company.

Then transitioned into Professional Athletics as a competitive Cyclist and Professional Surfer.


When and how did you start your business?

Which one? (There are 4 right now
) I have pretty much run my own companies since I was 24. I am 57 now.


What kind of camera do you use?

Depends on what I am trying to create. My last film was shot for Nat Geo on an innovative high speed 3D system which WHOI built for me from scratch. I own a large Canon film and DSLR kit for stills and have a large high speed film kit which I built for high speed motion picture capture.

The way that this works is that I am required to know how to work on any system in existence. For example, on my first film project as a Director of Photography, the director asked me if I could shoot on a specific camera System made by Photosonics. I said yes, no problem. They hired me. I called Photosonics up and went in and they tutored me on their system. If I had needed more help, I would have hired an AC. Understand? I rocked the shoot, BTW.


How is making the transition from photo to video?

I have never been a Videographer. I am a Cinematographer. A Videographer turns on the camera and documents action. A Cinematographer uses choreographed camera moves and looks,  to facilitate telling a story.


What lies ahead in the future?

Depends on what you are asking about really. I am not being flippant. That is a really odd question for me. I would need it to be very specific.
You don’t have to answer all of these, but maybe we can talk on the phone sometime. Where are you located?

I am in Ventura, Ca. A Bio is attached. The links below might help a bit as well.


Thanks for the quick response.

No problem.
As you have probably guessed, I am not a “Surf Photographer”, though I love being one of the best in the world in that genre. I have lived a life in the water, so it is an “area of specialization” for me within the craft.
I am merely a creative who cares, and has learned how to effectively use all my skills to benefit others. If you take anything away from this, let it be that people tend to believe what they read, and since a photo is worth a thousand (s) words, we have a high level of responsibility as content authors, to be both informed and ethical, as well as highly skilled and committed.
This is why:
 We picked up one of the most powerful tools in the world in the pursuit of the implementation of change: the Camera.
Someone whose Tribe I am in is Seth Godin. Here Seth writes about something critical to the life of a Creative:  Competence Vs Possibility.
Here is a video that I created as a photo collage which I did at Stoneworks Gallery in Ventura, during a fantastic joint show with the Artist Robb Havassy, and Sculptor Michele Chapin. We have these wild creative evenings with our friends. Life is like this. Our work can be anything, but really, Art is all about the communication of emotion in any given medium(s).
So don’t forget to play! ;0)
Be an Artist and you will always have work. Be a Photographer and you will always be looking for work.
Below is a little Gallery I have hastily assembled from what was on my desktop today. Thanks for your sweet letter.
Aloha Nui Loa

The Beauty of Story

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

I stepped out of a marriage of over 22 years into an odd situation at the age of 44.

Having been married for most of my adult life, and walked a less than conventional path, the roadmap of memories and tales was rather, um, let’s say: convoluted. I had done a lot of things which when examined from our cultural perception of “normal”, were far from any definition of the term.

That, surfaced immediately, when I began to ply the dating seas. I learned early on that it was best to not really talk about what I had done in life that was interesting to me. (why I did those things) and maybe pick a more banal means of explaining my life history. Made for a longer date, I found.

I applied myself to dating, in similar fashion to how I learn anything. I study, organize, and totally immerse myself in the experience. That modus left me with a long list of women to meet. So for a couple months I dated. The process is what taught me a lot about the art of the story, or for me, the weaning and reducting of the details, of the story of my life.

I would go on 1-2 dates per day. And in doing so, I learned that women tend to have a great mistrust of the tales we men tell them. The fly in the ointment being ,that I really had no agenda (for them). I just wanted to figure out what being single meant. So I dated. And dated. And dated some more. I met some really neat gals, and in process, realized that people tend to not believe much of what they are told, if it is secretly, what they want to hear.

I think that the very best example, was a woman I will call  Y. Y was a beautiful Oriental woman who worked for a local Biomedical Tech company. Particularly inquisitive, she pressed me for the details of my past and present life. Keep in mind that almost two months of dating college had transpired. I was about up to my neck fed up ,in masking who and what I was, in order to carry on what would pass for a normal conversation. So I let Y know what was in my past. My athletic careers, car racing and building, radio and TV work, Company development, Environmental work, my great kids and the fond and long term relationship I had existed within, with my former wife.

Then I told her about what I was doing at that moment. Traveling as an Editorial and Commercial Sports and Lifestyle Photographer and Writer, working in Motion Picture. I talked about some of the adventures I had experienced most recently. I did the Journalistic account of the life of David F Pu’u. Who, what, when, where, why and how.

And Y simply looked at me. Unflinching. Out of the blue these words came out. “I will never let you use me for sex”. Y left me going in circles with that one. But then I realized something.¬† People use the Art of the story, quite frequently, to gain a foothold in your heart. But the problem for Y and I, is that this was not my intention. I was simply fed up, after 2 mos of NOT telling my story, and conforming to the dance, which I had learned, really is descriptive of the dating process.

A somewhat awkward goodbye transpired, and I figured we were pretty much done. But three days later, Y called, and I reckoned that I could tolerate another date. Heck, maybe we just got off on the wrong foot. So we met in a Thousand Oaks restaurant, for a cocktail, me having driven down from Ventura, and pretty much right away, Y revealed her tack. I had not said too much this time, to be honest. “David, why are you lying to me? I told you, I am not letting you use me for sex”

My response was to tell her what I had done since we last met. Which brought up some of the wonderful women I get to work with. Y grew flustered, when I finally politely told her that I really had no sexual agenda where any woman was concerned, and that this dating thing, was me getting feet down on the ground, and learning, after being half of a couple all my life what being single really meant.

A strained hug and kiss on the cheek and a faint “see you” and I in a much relieved fashion, went back to my car. What had just happened? Well, whatever it was, I felt violated. I also realized that Y maybe had “issues” which possibly required me to run, as fast as possible, in the other direction. But here is the deal. I never run away from scary stuff. I always run at it. Makes for a better story if you know what you are doing.

So the next day I rang Y up. (I know, against the rules. Too soon) “I was wondering if you and I could meet for dinner next Friday? I am meeting friends down your way.” I had told Rick, a pal of mine who happened to live nearby in Westlake, and Kathe, a close friend and one of the women I enjoyed shooting with, the story of Y. They both reckoned she was crazy. But I maintained that I could be as much to blame as she. Well, Y said “sure”, and I went about the work week subtly, and possibly sadistically, looking forward to our “date”.

Kathe, as is her sense of humor and style, showed up looking  striking in a low cut top,  short skirt, 5 inch heels, and close to six feet of lithe brunette wonderfulness. I think Rick showed up looking like a version of Mr GQ rugged, on a superbike. (Three against one). The thing is, these were my dear friends. Family. We weathered the seas of change in life together. They were a part of my story, and I theirs. We loved each other. I was convinced Y was in a desert devoid of that.

So in the course of dinner and conversation, both of my friends, let Y know that I was a liar, by telling her the rest of the story about me, that we mattered to each other. As I looked into Y’s eyes and saw reality dawn on her, I got it. I understood being single, dating, everything. Anyone who a man or woman chooses to be with must merit (deserve) those precious moments that comprise the existence which we call life. Y did not. She simply was not qualified.

The next day, I was a bit surprised when my phone rang as I was on set working on a film (Vibrate mode) and it was Y. This is what she said. “Hey, I have a sister. I think you two would really like each other” Bingo. The win. She got it.

Love your life and story. It really is all that you have.

Here is a great and well timed blog by Seth Godin on A True Story.

Today I head up to Silicon Valley with my Fiance, Donna Von Hoesslin, and friend and colleague, Dr Andrea Neal to do a LOT of amazing things. But one of them, is to sit on a panel of people who are a part of a project called the Sea-Space Initiative. I just read 24 biographies. I look forward to THEIR stories and hopefully I can add some salt water from my own, as we examine Space, Sea and the destiny of mankind.

This film, by Dana Saint, and his girlfriend, is called A Story for Tomorrow. I always share it when possible. Watch it and you will know why. Have a tissue handy.

Below are a few images from the ridiculousness of my wonderful life. Each is a story. It is the only thing we have, our lives, and our story. Best thing that one can do for humanity, is to tell yours.



© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.