Posts Tagged ‘photography’

The High Value in Story

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Surf story

All of us as creatives, are storytellers.

That is worth something.

So the integrity, skill and life experience of a creator, matters very much.

We function within a socio-economic system that is quite leery of the increasingly open source access to “their market”.

In a conversation with two sage colleagues in Photography today, I had to point out something. Basically it was this.

Just because surf publishing has deigned to not let you play, does not mean your voice is not valid. In fact, it is the opposite. Established fiscal entities do not necessarily WANT the broad market to know of you. Because then the market will look at you, and being fear based, that bothers many surviving publishers, whose park between the lines mentality is enforced each day by Corporate rule.

We laughingly refer to this mentality today as the “Race to the Bottom”. Seth Godin nails it here.

This may not be in anyone’s best interests. I am going to illustrate in a couple quick stories.

I met Ed Lu at Opus Novum’s Sea-Space Initiative Summit at Google last year. Ed is a water guy. He is also a Scientist and Astronaut. He had a question. So did many of the amazingly talented people there. The question was one of funding. At the end of the two day series of derivative workshops, we all sat in a circle. Three people sought answers to traction based funding questions. Absolutely the least educationally qualified in the room, the answer to their dilemma was crystal clear to me. In short, this is what I said.

“I know how you guys can solve this. The answer is you. No one knows who you are. You operate in agencies anonymously. You all simply need to tell your story”

Here is  Dr. Ed Lu, telling his story. I am a huge fan of Ed and his work. Indeed,  of everyone who cares, and is good at what they do. We all should be!

Here is Tom Waits telling a story in Hell Broke Luce. I will leave it to you to discover the grace which exists within his Art. STORY. It is an excellent example of collaboration in the Arts.

At Ocean Lovers, our new collaborative organization, a vital aspect is to get the story tellers together, all those which create. Our intention is to give them traction in our Socio-Economic system, and do it culturally. In so doing we affect culture and perception with a Philosophically accurate, Science based message that promotes community via Social and Economic sustainability.

This could work.

Tell your story.

Mojca, and her story for Betty B

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.



Significant Presence

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

In my morning rush to ply the pixel seas today, I ran across a notable piece of reading from Seth Godin. It gave me pause, as I looked at the laundry list of crazily diverse imagery in front of me. He writes about “Hard Work on the Right Things“. I highly recommend it, for a number of reasons. Principle one being, that the world at large, will endeavor to convince an Artist, that they have chosen poorly, and what is produced, will never be of any real significance. It does that with good cause and to appropriate affect: to weed out the insignificant.

Preparing for life

With most vital creatives, who operate in a space time continuum different from the diverse cultures that they can be found within, this is rarely true, in the context of a long view.

To illustrate, here in this post, is a little sampling of what was on my desktop this morning.

The depth of what could appear to be little reality grabs to the uninitiate, will prove to be far greater as time passes. I know that.

Which brings me to a key point. You need to know if your presence will be significant and obvious to all, on that day you leave the room. It ought to be.

The last note I read in my e mail this morning was from Scott Bass, on the passing of surf Industry Veteran designer and Shaper, Terry Martin, from Cancer.

Terry is significant.  You can ask any whose life he touched with his work. It all resonates still, in the ocean corridors, far beyond immediate kin and friends. He mattered. His work was significant.

Yater and Ancell

Two great craftsmen and artists

Your’s should be as well.




Canon 5D Mark 2: Trial by Fire

Saturday, August 28th, 2010
Me by Shawn Frederick

Me by Shawn Frederick

My 5D Mark 2 system has been getting quite the workout of late.

The other night Tyler Swain came by. Tyler is the talented director, writer, camera operator who, when I am lucky, I get to work with.

He had dropped by after a  long day working on an episode of Top Gear, to be briefed on the workings of the Canon 5DM2 which he would need to be shooting a show on in the morning. In explaining the workings of the system to him I realized how truly complex it is if one really wants to utilize the tremendous capability of this camera, And I also realized that much of what I had read on it by so called experts is wrong. Most of it’s advertised shortcomings are simply failure by the operators to own the skills most DP’s and Cinematographers take for granted. yet they wrote about it. Um, yea……

Philip Bloom is not of that ilk.

But in two hours Tyler was off head spinning, to get a little sleep before his 9am call time. If it were anyone else, they would likely be headed for their Waterloo. Not Tyler.

Here is a little early timelapse shot with the 5DM2. One of my first. I have done dozens of increasingly complex ones since. I have shot 3 music videos, 2 feature films, done journalism, action sports, the 2010 Maverick’s Challenge shot while working rescue, swam Bali, done fashion, military training shoots with K38 Rescue. What my camera has produced since it became my first designated principal body for motion capture and stills production is probably the most intense field testing of any camera ever produced. Of course Canon probably does not know this. I am simply a user.

stormtimelapseweb – Computer

Tech is incredible. For the first time in my 12 years shooting professionally, it all is REALLY working. I made a good choice in systems with which to transition from film. And once again, Canon has helped me to feel confident in my ability to outperform while in the field. This camera has been swum, shot from airplanes, boats, cars,thrown off buildings while housed, into a swimming pool, done large format art production, commercial fashion and produced innumerable covers and spreads seen in publications throughout the world and in my library at Corbis Images.

In 1997 I weighed the development plans of Canon and Nikon in a close look,  and because of that glimpse, chose Canon. Wise choice. But only a sage DP or commercial photographer will ever really truly “get” what Canon has done and how they have changed imaging forever. The 5DM2 and my training in various aspects of Cinematography and Photography have produced more high profile motion and stills work in the 14 months I have owned mine, than many will get to do in a lifetime.

As I look out across the changing diorama of the imaging playing field, I realize how important it is to understand what you want to accomplish.

Here is the complete Video Tyler created as the anti music video for ElliotMinor. _”AllAlong”. Most of it is the 5DM2. This was one of it’s first tests.

You will see some newer ones shortly here and in a few films.

The images below are a small sample from the 5DM2 that sits here, ready to shoot anything, You would not believe what it has done. I barely do.


Sunday, March 21st, 2010
Matillija Spring

Matillija Spring

I was cameraless this week. It was great. Sort of. Okay, maybe not completely cameraless. I still had four 35mm stills film bodies, three mini DV cameras, and five high speed film motion cameras, all sitting on the shelf, along with the water housings for those. But I loaned my Canon 5DM2 system out and sold my Rebel T1i, in preparation for buying the new RebelT2i. (Wow, that Rebel was so new it had only seen 3000 frames before the new one was released.)

Canon (along with Apple) has been blowing my mind the past few years. We spoke, they obviously listened.  The application of technology and digital imaging, has created the ability to produce massive amounts of content. But this creates some big questions:

Where does that content go? What makes yours special? Does your content meet that unspoken, and often unseen bar of international standards?

A career is a function of time. Effort is applied and what comes out these days, is useable digital content-data. You can convert that pliable data into a variety of projects in short order.

I had an e mail tet a tet with photographer Brian Nevins this week about post production. Brian and I both share a bar that is similar for our work and subjects. “Hey Brian, how is your post production list looking?” Answer:“Oh hopeless. I just seem to keep getting further behind.” We cyber groaned in unison.

Right now, I have 7 stills shoots and 6 motion picture projects, in various stages of post production. More work is being thrown my way daily. I must be very careful, or I will find myself homeless with probably one of the most phenomenal collections of stills and motion imagery that I could ever imagine.

Why? Production is shifting. Usages are changing. Now, more than any time in History, publishing is having a demand to screen content placed upon it, that is heavier than ever. Everyone who owns a camera is a “photographer” and those voices, they all scream out “Look at me”, often without really knowing that, um, maybe you may not want to do that.

Of course some get through on occasion, by virtue of salesmanship and persistence. You can see some amazingly low bar crap go to print, web, TV, Theater or Gallery. But over all, the access to the market that the web affords and which shifts in demand have created, offers the potential to embarrass one’s self globally in a very short period of time. But what this also does, is make the truly great work stand out. A lot is on the line for publishers these days as many companies teeter. Edit staff can annihilate a publication’s value in a very short period of time.

The market is not stupid, though it can be naive. It self levels.

Authenticity, now more than ever, is the most valuable of commodities, along with content quality and validity.

Seth Godin writes here about the slush pile. That great pool of self spawned, unsolicited content. It is one of the better things I have read about being a creative, as it describes a bar, direction and potentiality measure, for content creators.

So back to my post production I go. 60 hours down this week, in front of the large 32” monitor I use. The surf was pumping. Offshore and warm. Spring has arrived overnight. Weird yet perfect for us, as this weather and swell combination combination rarely occurs this time of year. I got six calls to shoot the last few days, and wanted to.

“Sorry I loaned my cameras out” was my soft answer. Clickety clack goes the keyboard. “Save as” was selected in Photoshop about 1500 times and “Render” hit, in Final Cut, a lot. Whew. Life choices in the click of a mouse.

Here is a  piece of music which a close friend sent along. The message in it struck a deep chord with me. Southern Cross. If you read through the gallery descriptions, you may figure it out. It is descriptive of our lives, she and I. It may be said of many whose lives tie to the sea.  I cherish my friends.

The gallery below is illustrative of Spring, Diversity, and Authenticity. Click on the images for a larger view and description, if you like.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.