Posts Tagged ‘Larry Moore’


Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Mothers Day

It is Mother’s Day.

Yesterday I wandered out to create an image that would be illustrative, which I could use as a thank you note through our Ocean Lovers venture site. That image is above. I thought about it prior to building it, and all through the process from design, to copy writing, finalizing, and publishing.

Sunset colors. White sage buds. The blossoms unified by the setting sun. An eternal message embedded within the symbology of the compositional elements. Earth, sky, eternity.

I had spoken to my friend and colleague West Cook earlier. He was at his post running the restaurant for a Casino here in Ventura. We had laughed about the dense fog and how he would be missing nothing. I had been wrong obviously. I even set about proving myself to be in error as I spent the two hours after our conversation creating a funny series of images, just by thinking about where to be, as conditions changed and what to say, via the camera. That image above was my final exam. I had been wrong. But in following the lead of Nature. something special was fostered. Mothered into existence, as it were.

I just finished perusing the first 12 people in the Follow the Light Grant competition. Which is a Photography grant created by colleagues, family and friends of my first editor and long time friend, Larry Moore, who succumbed to brain Cancer in Oct 2005 at the age of 57. (The same age I am today as I write this)

Celeste Moreaux had kindly included me in this year’s  group of individuals who get to look at the entrants and their work.

With all the changes in publishing, technology and communication venues since Larry’s passing, some things will stay constant. First among those is the ability of the photographer to think, and in process actually have something worth saying. Of the first 12 , maybe 2 got that. Not bad really. 2 out of 12. But the thing is we need to understand that what we create ought to matter. We need to comprehend what this means: mattering. How to use your ability to touch a heart and draw people along.

So many of us get it wrong. We push. When really, the effective thing for an artist to be is a light source, and draw people along. The image beckons.

Cameras are tools for facilitation of the implementation of change and communication of emotion. It is a simple thing really. One just needs to learn to care about the right things. Then people get it, and they follow the light.

We as Photographers and Artists really need to understand what our function is, and most importantly who we are and where we are going. Otherwise we mistakenly believe it is us who people ought to follow. All we really are is a people skilled at holding a mirror. The reflection should never be our physical one in that frame. If we want to do work that matters the image skillfully will reflect our voice, our spirit and soul. Better make sure yours is maturing or it will embarrass you: the grand revelation of who you are within your work.

Larry understood that so well. The remembrance of some of our conversations makes me smile this fine Mothers Day.

Here are a few images from my desktop today.

Aloha Oe.












The Collaborative Effect

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Collaborative Effect

Collaborative Effect

Years ago, Larry Moore, aka Flame, my Photo Editor at Surfing, took me aside and told me to do something. “Find people who you like to be with, who will work with you, and together, you guys concentrate on building new work. That is how great work comes” Because of that conversation, I never became a Surf Photographer per se. I became a collaborator.

The image above is a piece of Art I finished today. The surfer in it is Sean Tully. Sean is a highly developed student of Surfing and in particular, the heritage of that lifestyle driven avocation. He is also a highly educated and pensive Student and proponent of Fine Art. When he and I get together on a project, creative magic occurs. Every time. It is far greater, what transpires as a result of our efforts, than anything which would occur if either of us pursued a work on our own. Why? Because it illustrates the energy of two souls in harmony, while in critical pursuit of the creation of an astute statement.

Brian Kasbar sent this film to me by acclaimed director Tom Shadyac. It came on the heels of a conversation with Shawn Alladio, Ed Brenegar and some others, on the subject of leadership, and in particular, Team Building.

The film is called “I AM” You can watch it here. it is 3×26 minute segments. I highly recommend it.

The film left me a bit unsettled after a critical view. It took me about 2 minutes to figure out why. Though it connects most of the dots fairly well, about how we as a part of creation and universe, could change things by better choices, it fails, (and this may be by intent on the part of the film maker) to elaborate on exactly how we ought to DO that: make the shift. Yes, it alludes to Love being the way. But it does not illustrate to the viewer how to connect to love, aside from making the choice to connect with others and in doing so, with better intentions and thought, the entire Universe will shift.



It will not. (Though yours may)

Here is why.

We are all designed as a part of the plan of the Grand Architect, to be individual lightning rods, so to speak, of the Light of the World. That light in fact, really is Sound. Some call it God. (I know I do) By it everything was created that is. Your spirit is your antenna, you connect to the sound and begin to broadcast light by a choice made via your soul.

The film leaves out that aspect. Big problem, creating an equation for change, and leaving out a principle integer, because you never come to the correct conclusion (The film examines integers)

In all teamwork, one must come under submission to a leadership. In response, what a good leader does, is create an environment that encourages the individual to grow, while under the larger umbrella of authority, and in turn do the same with others. That is also known as collaboration. In fact, that is the destiny of mankind.

The way our mortal world is architected spiritually (Think deeper than religion, think creative energy, think love) it acts as a barrier to that level of collaboration. It lies. At least on the face of things. Why? Oh, that goes back eons, to a choice an element of creation made to supercede the authority of the Creator and by choice put on a disguise that looks like love, but is only meant to deceive the rest of creation. It’s name is Adversary. It lives here. It is also called a messenger (angel) of Light

You will never get there by leaving out the key component, because you really do have an adversary.

Best to meet your collaborator today.

It begins with and in you, the entrance of light, and  to link with something regenerative, completely, immersively, creative and loving.

Yes it is your choice: destiny.

Or not.



Here is one of the greater messages in film I have  come across. It was made by Dana Saint and Gnarly Bay Productions.

The film is in a contest of sorts at Vimeo right now. Watch Story For Tomorrow here, and please, if it touches you, take a moment to weigh in on that.

Motivation Song

Friday, May 14th, 2010
Adam Virs

Adam Virs

This shot is of Ventura Surfer Adam Virs. It was taken in Ventura California, just south of the Harbor. You can see Two Trees, a landmark, in the background. If you are from Ventura, this image is pretty cool. It is a frame from the second or third roll of film that I ever shot from the water. The surf was terrible this day. When I came in, I ran into my friend and soon to be colleague, William Sharp. We were both shooting for Surfing Magazine and being edited by legendary lensman and mentor, Larry “Flame” Moore.

William laughed, and shook his head at me. “Dave, Dave, Dave, what were you doing out there? The surf is absolute crap.” “Um, shooting a cover.” I answered, with my typical, aggressive candor. “Really. You think so?” he asked. (I HATE it when people say those words) “Yea, saw it when I hit the shutter.” William smirked and remained silent.

So later that day, when I got my film back, there the image was, just as I had seen it. Since I was such a novice, it was not till many years later that I learned this was not the norm for most photographers.

When Flame got the shot in the mail, he rang me up, and was very enthusiastic. “Dave this image of Adam is remarkable. Trust me when I tell you, that it will stand the test of time.” I was pretty amped. I mean Larry was a bar setter in surf photography. He had shot me in my Pro Surfing career, and it felt remarkable that here we were years later, together, and that he had become a proponent of my work.

So the magazine came out, and Larry ran the shot postage stamp sized. William laughed, and tried to be encouraging. “Oh, that is just Larry trying to motivate you.” “Geezus William, I just got kicked in the nuts. This is how it works?” “Yep, that is Larry”.

I shot this photo using a water housing made by a well known surf photographer, and close friend who also happened to be a housing builder.

I used my wife’s Minolta X700 body with a Minolta 28mm lens and RVP 50 film. The water housing was hers as well. Veronica was one of two female surf photographers working for Surfer magazine when I became a professional surfer. Quite a ground breaker that way.

She was my wife, friend and photographer. It was a great excuse for us to travel together. She rarely used the water housing,  Ronnie swam like a rock. I knew this first hand from having pulled her to the surface before.

Larry called me into the office shortly thereafter, and asked me to bring my housing. I made the drive down to San Clemente, and as I handed the housing off, I could see what looked like anger on Larry’s face. “F ing —–“ he said, saying the photographer-housing makers name. “What?” I asked.

Flame told me that the 3/8 inch thick plexiglass port that my lens looked through, ruined optics, and that it was the housing makers means of  sabotaging his competition. “Fix it” were his sole words of advice. I did later that week, taking the port to a plexiglass fabricator and having him glue 1/8 optical grade glass in place after milling away the 3/8 inch thick plex that was ruining my lens view.

I was still shaping boards at the time that I shot this image. I have pretty much always been a board builder. I started when I was 12. The board Adam is riding is one of the first ones that I built for him, after he had come to me, and asked if I would coach him. I was shaping and building boards for a lot of pretty good surfers at the time. All of them were highly motivated. Adam, Bobby Martinez, Mary Osborne. A long list actually. But these are my close friends to this day.

The net result of Adam’s commitment and our joint efforts, resulted in him becoming one of the winningest amateur surfers in US history. In 12 months time, he won multiple regional, and two National titles, on both short and longboards that I built for him, start to finish. If anybody has won so many events in such a short time frame, coming from out of nowhere, so to speak, I am unaware of it.

I  tagged along with Adam on his adventure, shooting, shaping and coaching. But his strength was really rooted in motivation and desire. I simply believed. He did it all.

The other people’s stories, will need to wait till I unearth another image with a song to sing.

That was Flame’s terminology for imagery. Photos are the songs, and tell stories. Photographers were the singers.  And that image, well, time has passed… My mentor died of brain cancer.  I miss him. Adam has had a long career as a Professional, and the photograph remains contemporary for the most part. I bet Larry is still smiling about that. Last month, Ronnie borrowed a water housing from me. Motivation really is everything.

The Chase

Sunday, July 26th, 2009
Siren's Serenade

Siren's Serenade

Surfing is not a sport. Not in any conventional sense. It falls into the genre of life’s laundry list of activities,  better described as a life style. So broad in scope, it permeates all facets of a participant’s cognitive and subconscious thought processes, to the extent that you are surfing, even when not actually riding a wave.

One of the reasons for this life style moniker is The Chase. This facet of surfing dictates that the participants be die hard, or more accurately: die never, optimists. Finding waves, developing technique,  expanding performance range, and increasing the difficulty level of ocean conditions in which a surfer feels comfy, impregnates every nook and cranny of an ocean imbued life. So when not actually eying the hook, as cool, blue-green, salty deliciousness pulls at your arms, and  the shoreward rush lifts your board aloft,  you are still surfing.

The Chase requires a level of mastery in life skills that make the average rocket scientist’s skill set look rather short. Surfing involves a subconscious management of the variables.  The surfer develops an ability to put them self in a precise place and instant of time, that will occur, somewhere in the future. Being good at this requires  prescience, self knowledge, study and faith.

Yes, faith. Possibly one of the most miss understood terms in the Western world, it is often mistaken for hope. That gaffe can be an expensive one. Simply put, Faith is when one possesses a knowledge and in turn a confidence that cannot be swayed by anything. Not wind, wave, danger, death. It is when one knows in their heart of hearts what will occur.  It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. It positions you on the cosmic GPS.  Surfers have faith.

Great surfers exhibit faith when they show up at the right beach,  on the correct tide, with perfect wind and weather and have the best swell for the break pouring in. They paddle out, place themselves in the saddle, turn and glide into that chronological apex and moment of truth called the takeoff.  My photography career was not made by my ability as a Photographer, but by my exhibition of Faith which continually places me at various points in time to experience the take off. The Chase fulfilled, ad infinitum.

Some day it will place me in the precise cross hairs for a more grand take off. I have Faith. I know this.

This week had started out with the rumor of a swell arriving from out of the distant Southern Hemisphere.  On the Southern ice cap, a storm had howled out into the ocean and made it’s way past the reaches of New Zealand, where in what we call the “swell window” for the Northern Hemisphere, it generated a significant energy pulse.

When that pulse hits California beaches, the waves come to shore in sets that mirror the storm’s wind gusts. The better events have long periods of flat water, with sets containing a lot of waves in them when they arrive. This creates issues for the un initiated, who may have been lured to the ocean by News reports based on what surfers call the “rumor mill”. They see flat water and think: “Oh someone has made a mistake.” They had been unwittingly set up for a lemming call of sorts. It is sad hearing the news of their struggle or death later, that the news media had helped to create.

In surf culture some  surf forecasting concerns have a history of  crying wolf, that has grown legendary among the faithful. This process keeps lifeguards in business. It also fans The Chase, among the faithless.

This last swell forecast, was accompanied by news hysteria, doing what they do: fan fear and hysteria. (White shark sighting, dangerous waves coming) This caused my voice and e mail to fill with questions about what headed our way. Funny thing fear, it is energetically diametrically opposed to creativity.

My answer was : “I did not look at the storm or do the forecast, so I do not know. But the shark, that is sort of typical. They are always there.” I was faithless on the swell. I simply had no knowledge. But when I saw the swell begin to show on the near shore Southern California weather buoys, hope dawned, that something could happen.

After three successive days of lackluster waves, in spite of a decent pulse on the buoys, I began to think that maybe this was another failed event. But then things changed. I have a large number of indicators which I learned to examine in a lifetime of engaging The Chase and approximately 12 years of freelance swell and weather forecasting, that saw me mis-cast approximately  five percent of the time in my ocean history. So I am generally faith full when I head out.

So I set out under a set of variables that I remember gave me one of my first large usage surfing images which occurred in year two of my mentorship by Surfing magazine’s Larry “Flame Moore”. In my hand was the same focal length lens I had used then, but in modern form, the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS and the revolutionary  5D Mark 2.

Standing in the exact same spot as that first image occured, now 12 years older, I mimed the crabs which scuttled about the rocks in which I lingered, and stalked what I KNEW was going to occur. A few surfers which I had called, showed up as well.

Danny Moa, had hopped out into the lineup which was foreign to him, and caught two waves before the intimidation the break creates, sent him scampering to shore. All before what I knew would happen could occur. The other two surfers, well they had no faith either. This image above is a moment foretold captured. Faith knows where to stand, how to proceed and allows us to capture and not just chase, our vision.

Have Faith. Play that card. Start now.

I love U2. They have a habit of telling you just what you need to know in their music. But it requires faith to hear it.

Seth Godin writes about the application of Faith for business.

Below are a few images from what turned out to be a moderate to strong swell. It was three energy pulses actually, but in reading the telemetry from all three swell sources, I found a little Faith. Doesn’t take much. Someone great once said it could be as large as a mustard seed. They were right. The prospective faithful are Danny Moa and Lars and Hans Rathje, who I met while helping film the wonderful story Goofyfoot, by Jeff McElroy .








Power Surge

Power Surge

Lars: Hope

Lars: Hope

Hans: Faith

Hans: Faith

Lars, Hans: Hope Deferred




Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Adam Gray-Hayward

Adam Gray-Hayward

Remember what it was like as a child, where in your grassy yard on a Summer’s day, you held arms outstretched, tilted head back and whirled around in circles? The scenery would whiz by in an increasing blur. A fun thing to do, as you examined play options.

The whirling activity sort of is my life this beautiful spring day, with birds singing outside as the morning expands.

I am looking at a lot of things right now. One interesting piece was just sent to us by Elmar Von Hoesslin (Donna’s ex husband)  and is a creative look at his Berlin based company. I liked Elmar from the moment I met him, as he and Donna had traveled through California and stopped in to visit. This video says a lot about why. Curiously, the subjects AND the length are similar to the film that Donna and I are creating for Intuit which is titled Passages.

In addition to working on my girlfriend’s film, I have been deep in study for a project. I use books for reference. I love books and own a LOT. There is no substitute for them in the digital realm. Books require an investment in time, money and physical space. They have weight. They require a commitment that digital content examined on the computer does not. You cannot press enter or delete. They have an analog form. Sort of in the same manner as our physical bodies do. Probably why I like em.

In front of me is a book entitled Toni Frissell, Photographs 1933-1967. Toni’s work was so very diverse that I believe she would be thrown out of most Art and Photography schools today, which encourage an aspiring professional to focus on one thing. Fashion, Journalism, Portraiture, Art and yes WATER! Toni shot it all, and did it so well that she will live forever in her imagery.

As I flipped the pages, my eyes fell upon a paragraph with yellow highlighted words (a study tool I learned in school) which I had applied maybe 12 years ago on the page. The paragraph reads:

1. Catch the subject at an instant of pleasure or emotion.

2. Know your subject’s interests beforehand (highlighted)…this so you can get him or her talking, even to the point of saying something provocative to the extent of outrageousness.

3. Click your camera at typewriter speed. Film is a cheap commodity.

4. Luck-the commodity that puts one at a crucial event and the chance is given a vital instant. (highlighted)

Below in my own hand I had written these words:

Preparation breeds foresight, foresight gives birth to opportunity.

In doing my research I found the seed which gave rise to the tree bearing the fruit of my own career and in looking through her imagery once more, I found my own self. It was shocking to me,  and caused a slowing down. The whirling scenery stilled and pulled into focus.  God I love books. You cannot press delete!

The project I am designing will invite a select group of subjects on to a friend’s estate where we will spend some time on a one of a kind property which has locations that are the photographic equivalent of gems in a crown. I will have an assistant or two, a small crew, wardrobe and the new Canon 5DM2 and new RebelT1i. We will also be shooting some motion picture. It could possibly be one of the more ambitious projects that I have endeavored to do. Time will tell as the process unfolds.

These sort of loosely scripted shoots have generally been looked at askance by some of my colleagues with the possible exception of Shawn Frederick whose challenge: “You think that you can do something better than anyone else? So do it!” always rings in my psyche. So I just do, and the images without fail end up being something that rewards both myself, subject and crew in multiple ways. It is sexy, exhilarating, adventurous, artistic, wearing, emotional, fun and well, REAL. But there is zero fiscal motivation for me. It costs in that way.  It can be terrifying as you are banking the recovery of the time and money of all involved in long term return. I don’t think the IRS likes em(my shoots) either.

The imagery below is a sampling of a few in the “Because I can” genre. Friends, colleagues, special people and moments.  Some have passed on but they live in the imagery. From Academy Award winners and famous covers, to simple snapshots.  Click on any of the images for the back story and a full view. There are fifty one here.  I have a lot more.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.