Posts Tagged ‘Linchpin’

The Cove

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011







I was reading my daily dose of Seth Godin today, and his words on initiative, really struck home for me.

Coincidentally, last night was Linchpin night here in Ventura. The Linchpin meetup is  an event Seth innovated, where self starters and doers, get together, network, have fun, and sow the seeds of creative fulfillment. We had met at the Watermark, a rather ambitious restauranting endeavor. For our podunk little town (Ventura, Ca), it is what one would call an upscale establishment. I think I must have left the meeting of bright linchpin lights pretty wound up, as my dreams were of doing endeavors…….. all nite long.

My thoughts and dreams have a way of awakening me. So at 3 am, summoned out of a fitful sleep, I began work.  I had an image to locate for a Tedx talk in Munich. The request had come via a search through my website, and the images selected were ones I had not seen in many years.

What many people do not know, is that every image is the result of a quest of some sort. So there is a story behind each. The first image in this edit request was simple to find. It was a Wiamea dawn shorebreak shot, which I had captured 10 years ago, standing right next to Warren Bolster, who was twitching in manic fashion when I would look over at him. I had not known this, but since I was staying at Wiamea that year, and heard the break fire up in the night from my bed, (I was first on it) but I had inadvertently placed myself in Warren’s favorite spot. I could see his discomfort, and found it amusing, as I was shooting with an ancient Century 650 F 6.7 manual focus telephoto. He of course, had a beautiful Canon 600 F4 L autofocus lens. I was sad when I learned of Warren’s death awhile ago. Lots of memories attach themselves to my work.

This made me think of my friend and colleague Jason Wolcott’s words, which I included in the image above. It was shot in a remote cove in Mexico 12 years ago, using that same Century 650 lens.

I had been shooting from the water at the South end of the cove that afternoon, having driven down with my friend Dean and  one of the Goleta Bodyboarders. The Cove is an amazing place. Pristine and alive with all manner of sea life. A fish farm lies just offshore.

As the light was coming on in the later afternoon, I was in the water shooting one of the guys on a left and saw an entire school of fish jump through the air in panic. We all laughed. Then I thought, hmm, why the display? And there he was, a huge tiger  shark charging down the line on the very next left hander of the set.

I turned and caught the wave, (same wave as the shark) and began to bodysurf in. As the wave began to slow, I felt something near me and looking up realized that one of the bodyboarders had gone as well, and was stalling, waiting for me. I pulled myself up onto him and we rode to the sand together, laughing in relief as Dean sat outside alone looking at us quizically.

On the beach was a cave which you could walk through to the water. I had wandered over and realized that the entire school of fish had beached itself and lay dying now. We managed to get Dean to come in after that.

So I had set up my tripod, and shot the image you see above in this post, which was of a wave, spawned by some distant storm in the Southern Hemsphere, that had traveled all the way across several seas, to expire as a backlit gem and reward me in it’s wonderful death. Jason’s words say it perfectly.

So in answer to Seth’s query: what do I do when the phone is not ringing? I engage, create. That is just what Linchpins do, and the affect is the same as that wave spawned by the storm, which travels out from the source to crash ashore in another time and for yet a new set of eyes to engage, and another heart to inspire and aspire.

I do not think any of this, or us, ever really stops.  It is just in our nature to go on. That is the gift that we have been bequeathed: to expand.  I would rather inspire than do anything else. That matters.

Amber Storm

Amber Storm




Non Artistic Interpretation

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

It was only a year or two ago, when I realized that I am an “artist”.

At a very young age I painted. My Father and Uncle were both painters. So as any child would, I simply took for granted that painting and drawing were normal endeavors.

At 12 I had learned Photography and studied Philosophy. It was what was going on around me, and being inquisitive, I learned.

So does a bird realize it is a bird? Of course, flying would not be so special to him. But to someone without wings, oh to soar!

I had a request this week for a look at a year’s worth of work. I put together an edit cull of an approximate 1 year cross section of subjects. This required me, for the sake of brevity, to eliminate motion and all work shot, but not through, final post production, from being placed into my edit list.

Keep in mind, that this modus eliminated twenty or so projects. (I shoot a large number of subjects in a year.)

When the cull was complete, the Art aspect  of the year’s work flow really struck me.

I had no conscious thought while I was working, that anything about what I was shooting was quite so special. Many years ago, a commercial photography colleague told me that I would have to choose between being a businessman, or an artist, in my imaging career.

Today, I am not so sure one has much of a choice about what to be. As many children of the fifties learned while watching the cartoon Popeye growing up, when he would say nearly every episode: “I am what I am.” Sometimes it is best for efficiency and happiness’ sake,  to embrace that sooner, rather than later.

Seth Godin has this to say about Art. He nails it (as usual).

Excerpted from Seth’s A-Z blogpost on Aug 1, 2010: A is for Artist: An artist is someone who brings humanity to a problem, who changes someone else for the better, who does work that can’t be written down in a manual. Art is not about oil painting, it’s about bringing creativity and insight to work, instead of choosing to be a compliant cog. (from Linchpin).

Time to fly.


A Linchpin Sonnet

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010


As my little ocean flavored world, rocked with continued news that only seemed to worsen, I watched and listened, as response from Government and Environmental groups created what amounted to an untenable clamor. Finger pointing, conflict, polarization, but no success, occurred in fixing the massive calamity of the Horizon well head blowout.

Enviro groups squared off and did what they do: point fingers. Oil Execs circled wagons. Everyone calling for Justice. There was a hole in the Gulf seabed. The Ocean was dying.

Then Seth’s note popped up, about creating a meeting of our peers. A Linchpin meeting. It was followed in short order by a few quotations from Jacques Cousteau found in the course of my regular work study.

I realized, in pondering the two very positive tones of Cousteau and Seth, that the clamor of adversarialism had grown so loud, no one could hear what message was softly, quietly being sung.

The world was missing the point.  Again.

“It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.”

Jacques Yves Cousteau

Art is Life is Art

Art is Life is Art

My girlfriend, Donna Von Hoesslin, had immediately launched herself into the task of herding cats, that is getting a group of independently creative people together, into a succinct point in the space and time continuum, for no other apparent reason, than to connect personally.  Seth, being an excellent common thread, along with his new book Linchpin, which most of the invitees would have no doubt read, or at the least heard of, created the necessary catalyst.

On Monday, in Ventura California, our Linchpin meeting took place at a grand  old venue, that is an Historic Landmark in Ventura, and is now known as Candlelight. Historic and Light. Made perfect sense to hold a Linchpin meeting there.

Garner, who manages Candlelight, had even created, along with Donna, a Linchpin cocktail, which was a citrus flavored, somewhat tart, refreshing concoction served in a martini glass.

Donna the Linchpin

Donna the Linchpin

Fifteen minutes into Linchpin 2010, Donna did the spoon to cocktail glass bell call, and our group gathered together in a big circle in the large cocktail lounge, I had found myself standing next to a seated Colin Black chatting about Waterpolo. As the circle of people began to introduce themselves Colin whispered “Oh God, I am the last one. I am going to have to stand up.” At 6’8”, Colin is tall when seated.

The intros gave us a sense of perspective. Funny thing about Linchpins, none of us is boring, and the things which everyone spoke on, were a blend of hilarity and inspiration. You could see connection beginning. But as in all settings of this sort, it was not without a little tension. Groups can be like that, no matter what they contain.

As the turns swung round to myself and Colin, I simply stepped on the other side of him, thereby removing him from the obligation of being last. He looked relieved. And as 6’8” stood next to 5’5” (me) and Colin introduced himself, something occurred to me. Many of us are so self conscious we fail to consider that we are made to fulfill a purpose.

So as Colin wrapped up, and it became my turn to speak, I did something laterally, and decided to break group convention and protocol, by simply resting my head against Colin’s side. The elevation difference created a burst of laughter and I then chatted about what I would like to have happen as a result of our connecting. “I would like to see you all succeed. That is why I am here.” I could feel the room relax.

Minutes later, we had gathered together on a big bed outside and snapped a photo or two. It was my double entendre message, that image. Our group: Law Enforcement, City Leaders, Chefs, Content Creators, Business People, Corporate heads, Sustainability specialists, what an amazing group of leaders who exemplified a vast cross section of culture. Many change the world in the course of their work, and were all in bed together.  Right there. Connected.  Everyone mattered on their own merit. But as a group, the potential became something immeasurable and vast.



Jim and Kat and Donna and Joey Briglio

Jim and Kat and Donna and Joey Briglio





The world in which we exist will always offer plenty of personal challenges, but it is only in stepping outside of ourselves, connecting, and collaborating, that we will find true, sustainable solutions. If we choose to do that, watch the solutions flow.

Future Perfect

Future Perfect

It could even save the ocean. We can do that. Us.

 Open Invitation

Open Invitation

You can purchase the book Linchpin here.

Seth Godin’s Blog is here.

Start being the change this world needs today. Link arms. Collaborate.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.