Posts Tagged ‘situational ethics’

One Intransigent Eve

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Come what may


The image above was posted onto my Facebook page and a conversation ensued as a result, about helmet usage in water Photography and Cinematography. My esteemed friend and colleague, Steve Fitzpatrick weighed in. Steve had his noggin crushed in a PWC accident by an untrained operator at Tres Palmas in Puerto Rico. He wound up with a Traumatic Brain Injury, as a result. No, if he had been wearing a helmet he still would have acquired TBI.

The cure, what really gives us safe passage (this was discussed in thread) is operating  utilizing your ability as a human being. That is to say, a human is a Spirit, with a Soul, residing for all intents and purposes while on earth, within a body. Being present, spirit, soul and body is what makes us both effective, and at the end of the day helps bring us home to our families.

I am just back from loitering with K 38 Rescue and the Phoenix Patriot Foundation. We got to spend Veterans Day weekend putting on a challenge ride for severely wounded Vets. If you ever get a chance to hang out with a Veteran, I highly recommend it. Try it. You will see what I am talking about.

Tonight I had to do the dread Costco run. We are having some friends over tomorrow for a little get together.

I was in Costco for about 10 minutes, when I had an ominous feeling settle on me. Something was not right. When that happens (It does on somewhat infrequent and rare occasions) I ramp up my situational awareness. I become a predator. You would never know it to look at me. But I am one.

I had the distinct impression that danger was afoot.

My little dinner shopping cruise through the giant warehouse was uneventful. I simply flowed right through it. Chicken, Tri Tip, lots of veggies, coffee, etc. all went into the big white cart. Checkout was a breeze and the teeming crazy crowd I had experienced inside, seemed to have parted like the Red Sea for me.

I headed way the heck out into the back forty, where I had parked my little Mazdaspeed 3, and offloaded the groceries into the hatchback. As I was finishing I noticed that the Tri Tip was MIA. Damn, how could I have lost that? I was planning on making our family recipe Hawaiian teriyaki for everyone.

As I tossed the big 10 pound bag of chicken breasts onto the bags of frozen veggies I saw it. The meat was hiding (always wanted to write that) under the chicken. I checked my receipt. Damn, the checkout people had missed it as well. I had just successfully shoplifted 20 bucks of dead cow from Costco and was way the heck out in the parking lot at night.

I grabbed the bag of meat and receipt in hand jogged back to the entrance, and explained that I needed to pay. I have never stolen anything in my life, and I sure was not about to start now. The Supervisor took me to a register, and thanked me while someone rang me up.

Total detour time maybe 10-15 minutes.

Zipping up the 101 I had dismissed the Costco impressions and wound my way through sedate tempo, but heavy traffic. As I made the turn onto Hwy 33 that winds up to my home and Ojai beyond, I passed a slow moving SUV and accelerated a bit into the decreasing radius turn, just as I have done every day for about 25 years. Headed for the home I share with my wife, Donna.

I saw fresh skid marks leading towards  the concrete A rail barrier that is the N-S traffic divider and slowed a bit, then debris, then cars pulled over. One looked like a black Civic and I remembered that I had been thinking about my son Jon who drives one. A little further down the road, another car, and a motorcycle. Probably more debris strike.

As I pulled into my driveway I called Jon to see what he was up to. I wondered about that Civic I had glimpsed. I think most parents do that. Jon told me about his day up in SB and a mountain bike ride and we laughed about how ridiculously dangerous MTB riding can be. “You know how it is Jon, everything is always okay, till it is not, then blam. Badness.”

And it hit me. I could have been right in the middle of that accident.

10-15 minutes at Costco.

Do the right thing.

You may think no one will ever notice. The world will tell you that. Our Politicians re enforce the message with money and situational ethics.

But somehow, it always matters.

So do you.

I live my life immersed in the Bible. It is not a religious thing. It is just how I refer my understanding of creation to everyday life. I had opportunity to look at this earlier today. It is important for many reasons. Meditating on this mattered to me today.

2 Timothy  Ch 3

Godlessness in the Last Days

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God

10You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra‚ÄĒwhich persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whoma you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of Godb may be competent, equipped for every good work.

I have written all of this to drive home a point. We live in perilous times. But God is greater. He desires above all things that you prosper and be in health, and that your soul prospers. He is  the proverbial good shepherd. I suggest we all just submit to that. Would make the world a better place. And it is health to our family and community.



Fact of the Matter: Inconvenient Truths

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Ventura Palmset

Ventura Palmset

I got in a lively discussion on Global Warming the other day. More specifically Anthropogenic Global Warming.

It is a “given” that we humans have¬† the capacity to foul the Earth. It is also a given that the Earth by it’s architecture will cleanse itself.

In the civilized and educated Western world we typically endeavor to keep a clean house. Look around. PZEV vehicles are standard fare in our world and have contributed to a massive decline in hydrocarbon emissions from Automobiles. That is just one example in a huge list of things Western Culture embraces as a means of keeping air, land and ocean clean.

But we have a fly in that ointment, and ironically it is the “Global Warming” environmental chant so common in media today.

What you will find is a complete lack of understanding of the role of Globalism, Trade and Commerce among the proponents of that environmental group chant, which begins with a sort of chicken little fear mongering, that gets all of the uneducated to line up for the Kool Aide that can destroy Western Culture.

Tiny Bubbles of Light

Tiny Bubbles of Light

Seth Godin has this to say about a culture which has decided to stay deliberately misinformed.

Here is “The Deal” in a¬† nutshell. Our culture places a huge demand on durable goods. We used to make them here in the US. As the environmental movement acquired traction here, and a punitive method of regulatory control took effect, industry went overseas in order to avoid the additional expense and hassles that increased cost and decreased bottom line.

As a result, Western based Cities and Oceans cleaned up. Third world Cities and Oceans grew much worse.

Clean Wave

Clean Wave

The world is a space ship. Everything connects via atmosphere and is in turn moderated by weather. That is how the Earth maintains control.

The affect of the “Global Warmers” is actually promotion of a willful ignorance of weather, economic law, basic human greed, and puts control of hazardous effluent and exhaust into the arena of Third World entities.

Zuri Starr just returned from a tour in China, explained how dirty the place is, and how sick she became as a result of her recent time spent there. The same people who, in what I am pretty sure is a display of abject guilt, in ascribing to groups “fighting global warming” buy most of their durable goods which are MADE in China and other places with little to no ethical manufacturing process.

The net result is a huge dumbing down of Western Culture, environment and our power to effect positive and sustainable change.

Green Girl: Donna Von Hoesslin

Green Girl: Donna Von Hoesslin

It is evil.

One Volcano can spew more into the atmosphere than decades of industrial output. That is a really inconvenient truth.

Dr Ed Brenegar pointed out this very accurate essay, which explains why evil people promote ignorance, in the Servile Mind.

So let’s be honest.

Or not.

It is a big world.  Make a difference. You matter.

I like where Elliot Minor went in their endeavor to matter, at the direction of Tyler Swain. All Along.

Kool Aide fans click here. Your people are this serious. They made this.

Death Destiny

Deaths Destiny

Jay Moriarty

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Jay Moriarty

Jay Moriarty

Some people live in such a manner, that their exploits and attitudes define themselves, and become a part of History.

It is fortunate to be around that type of person. You learn a lot.

My fondest recollection of Jay Moriarty, is of him kick stalling in the barrel at Maverick’s, and smiling at me.

A peculiar and unsettling memory, was getting a phone call informing me that he had died by drowning. I was driving South through Half Moon Bay, and looked up to see the Radar Tower at Pillar Point.  The feeling of confusion I had felt when the call came, was identical to when, while shaping, the phone had rang with the news of Mark Foo dying at this same place.

Pillar Point, HMB

Pillar Point, HMB

An even more perplexing circumstance, was climbing into a boat in the Maldives and having my boat man tell me he had been worried about me. I had been on the bottom with my camera for awhile. In broken English he explained that the spot, was where Jay had died.

Maldives. Holly Beck

Maldives. Holly Beck

So now someone will capitalize the life of this man. A writer has penned and sold a screenplay about Jay. The question occurred to me: if a production company had called, would I take the job?

Probably not, I am guessing. I did turn down the opportunity to work on Blue Crush. I have standards for my self and what I will engage, that do not allow me much wiggle room.

I had helped the writer a bit with the Jay story, (assuming that it is the same one). I have it here somewhere. But I avoid the person for my own reasons. I hope the film turns out well. But I am glad that I do not need to engage it myself. I would feel sort of dirty.

Will I go see it? Probably. I did watch Blue Crush, and was pleasantly surprised at the difference between script and screen. John Stockwell as director, with Brian Grazer producing and the remarkable water work of Don King, transformed the weak storyline I had read. That is the fickle nature of production.

Some people become history by their life stance. Others write themselves into it.

I appreciate the former.

Jay went.

I shot this image in the Maldives as an illustration of hope. It is about rescue. Hannah Fraser and Bobby Friedman helped me to create it. Some people continue to inspire long after they are gone. I hope that Jay would like it.



Sacred Craft 2010: A Cultural Backmarker

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Sacred Craft

Sacred Craft

This morning I woke up from a nightmare-dream at 3:30 am. In the dream I was glossing boards, and had lost the hot batch of finishing resin. I found it in the nick of time, and was just completing the last board as it went off. I even had the acrid smell of an over catalyzed hot batch in my nostrils as I hopped out of bed and felt my feet hit cool wood floor in the blackness. Yeesh, surfboard subliminals. I built surfboards for about 20 years. They have been on my mind a lot lately, obviously.

What makes a¬† thing sacred is found in the root meaning of the very word. Sacred refers to the setting apart of something for a special purpose. So it follows that Scott Bass would call his surf culture show which retains primary focus on the surfboard and it’s creators, Sacred Craft.

Yesterday I saw an un named shot of an old guy at the Sacred Craft tribute, which was held in Ventura at The Fairgrounds April 10th and 11th and that honored one of the surfboard industry’s founding Fathers, Rennie Yater,. The un named shot of the old guy in the shaping room was of Dennis Ryder, who along with Bill Hubbina, started one of the first surf shops in Ventura, (William-Dennis), which still exists today, as Ventura Surf shop.

Dennis Ryder

Dennis Ryder

Dennis shaped what is probably the first incarnation of the shortboard, when he worked production at Morey-Pope and was doing the McTavish split vee in the 60′s. Having him back in Ventura after living for many years in Hawaii is very cool. One of the best guys around, along with Gene Cooper, and Yater, in terms of craftsmanship. All three live here on California‚Äôs Golden Coast

Gold Rincon

Gold Rincon

The Tribute involved shaping a replica of a Yater spoon, which aside from a six channel bottom, is probably one of the more difficult designs to build.

Local shapers Todd Proctor, Matt Moore, Dennis Ryder, Wayne Rich and Michel Junod along with Nick Palandrini from Nor Cal, were the invitees.

The shaper who got the nod for doing the best replica of the Spoon was Wayne Rich. That was very cool, since he broke his neck surfing El Cap a few years ago, and almost did not make it back. An incredible come back, when you consider that he shapes surfboards for a living. Surfboard shaping is physically quite arduous, and demands a very high skill level and depth of experience. Master surfboard craftsmen are a dying breed. Quite literally, as the industry has changed so dramatically and the normal cottage industry apprenticeship chain, disappeared years ago.

Surf Art

Surf Art

There was a hall way formed by two rows of Yaters, and each board had a picture and date on it. Pretty remarkable that Rennie is able to document so much of his and surfing’s past. Just mind blowing. I shaped around 16k surfboards over a 20 year period, and could not even think about accomplishing that. The Surfing Heritage Museum played a large role in this fantastic back marker. The organization had both Curator Barry Haun and¬† head, Dick Metz, on hand the entire week end.

Dick Metz in the Surf Story Hall

Dick Metz in the Surf Story Hall

Surf Story by Rob Havassy (two different site links)

The¬† entire second hall at Sacred Craft was about the book Surf Story, and the book tells the story of its own existence pretty well. Most surfers, if they read about what happened, will probably get a bit pissed off. The actual tale goes all the way back to when Abercrombie purloined one of¬† the legendary Leroy Grannis’ images of a bunch of surf icons and used it in an ad campaign. And when the surfers took exception to that, and having their names and likenesses used to promote a company like A&F (and Hollister), were blown off, they sued A&F and forced the issue on an intellectual property rights violation basis.¬† A&F ran a nationwide ad campaign of a monkey holding a¬† surfboard, as their response to surfing and the people who had a large hand in making the sport what it is after the fact. (Got to admire having enough money and humor to do what they did, but it was a very obvious statement about what they really think of you all)

Then, when Rob’s art was taken, and duplicated in similar fashion, he went after them as well. Since A&F was buying somewhere around 10000 mags a month, the surf publishing industry ignored Rob as he sued A&F, not wanting to piss their vendor off. (It appeared as if surf publishing had sold out the sport, by not supporting one of their own, and instead, going with A&F by their silence, in some industry observers opinions)

So the book uses that as a catalyst. Everybody was invited to contribute, as this is the first of a likely series. So the people not IN the book this time around, are conspicuous in their absence. What that means, is they did not want to be in it, or like me, just did not really understand completely what the book was all about.( Rob would have included them.) I had been very busy when Mary Osborne first told me about the book project. I almost did not get my submission in.

Once again, surf publishing sort of ignored Rob, so he wound up self published the biggest, most comprehensive book on surf culture ever. It was both an independent creative statement to surf publishing, and his war to take back our culture from the people who had whored it out, and have a history of contributing little or nothing to the sport’s existence. (Commercial fashion and the rag business)

Rob's Salute to me for not manning my post

Rob's Salute to me for not manning my post

That is the gist of the story on Sacred Craft 2010, from where I stand. But the ‚Äúlesser details‚ÄĚ are rather fascinating.¬† I intend to write about it in greater detail. Or you can simply ask Rob Havassy or Scott Bass.

The Surf Story Hall housed shows-work, from twelve of the books 88 contributors, as well as a phenomenal selection of highest end Yaters, done as a collaboration between Kevin Ancell and Rennie. Many of the artists were on site plying their disciplines live. Pretty remarkable to watch.

Here are a few images from the show. The pleasant looking guy is Craig Peterson, who along with Kevin Naughton, was among the first surf photojournalists- adventurers from the US, and pioneered much at Surfer Magazine.  Rob Havassy, Craig and I were along the back wall, side by side. I consider that quite an honor. Glad I returned Rob’s call. I had a lot of stories to share with him.

Here is an addendum of sorts, as he just posted it. Seth Godin’s blog, that is a must read for every artist. Glad that Rob Havassy has this part down.

Craig Peterson: Pioneer

Craig Peterson: Pioneer

Get Surf Culture’s book. It is a very profound effort by all. Pure is in short supply these days, and Authenticity is something to be both lauded and supported.

Situational Ethics Anyone?

Friday, May 15th, 2009
Decisions Decisions

Decisions Decisions

I received a note from a¬† colleague the other day. Sean Davey was asking me to weigh in on a photographer’s forum in Oz called Photographers United.

The subject was poaching, which is shooting another photographer’s subjects while they are in the midst of building¬† images mid shoot. I had a bit to say, and Sean had gotten me thinking about a few things in an exchange of e mails.

I have an abiding respect and admiration for some of my colleagues. They understand the bar of ethics involved in building a career and interestingly enough, it is their work which generally is what winds up inspiring me in my own.  Ethics are possibly the single most important line item one can learn in a life, let alone a career, because your choices determine your path and your path defines who you become, and ultimately, what you are.

One day early in my career, I was beach side pre dawn. Setting up, I already had telephoto mounted on tripod and had camera in hand, 20-35 lens and strobe attached for some reason. I had heard an odd noise from the highway about 100 yards behind me, and turned around just in time to see a jeep type vehicle rocket off the freeway, fly through the air, into a fence, and land in some trees a scant 25 yards away.

I sprinted over to the crash and camera still in hand (with the perfect set up for the shot), I saw a woman in a nurses uniform, unconscious and bleeding. I clearly remember the moment. It proved in time, to have been a definitive one. I put my camera down.

Checking her vitals, and freeing her seat belt, I had rendered simple aid and dialed 911 at a nearby pay phone. When E.R. got there, I left. (Fortunately my tele was still where I had left it.) She wound up being okay. Having worked the night shift, she had fallen asleep at the wheel on her way home.  One VERY lucky lady.

That choice set the path for my life which allowed me all manner of rare opportunity as a photographer. For me, people come first. Shot second. That ethos has caused a tenet of trust to form. In effect a client or subject can trust me with whatever, because they come first. This says a lot about the type of imagery I am willing to produce especially for models, performers and high profile athletes whose imagery determines their market value. If the image does not enhance the client, it does not go public.

Another time, I was along for a week end of shooting in LA with some high profile entertainment people who I would be hanging with. My ethics allowed me to not have the appearance of being a PHOTOGRAPHER. That can be critical at times. I have NEVER wanted to be a “famous rockstar photographer” and feel that people who do that, are sorta the antithesis of what I want my life to be. I actually have a scorn for certain of them, as in their marketing they make our simple craft out to be something it really is not. (How else does one justify a 75k per day rate?) Typically I do not find a lot of inspiration through their work.

The short of that weekend is this, I had a wonderful time and wound up with a very famous singer and her equally famous actor boyfriend.  I stood right behind and with them  in front of the entire press corp, who unloaded on them all at once. My simple few frames showed the couple in silhouette, holding hands, and an incredibly poignant moment in front of the strobe barrage. They later told me that the public had never seen them together before. You would have seen the other shooters view from behind the velvet rope on the cover of People etc. I just hung on to mine and gave them a copy. I never want to, or will be behind the rope.  If I need to be, I should not be shooting the subject. It is not who I am.

I am a first person POV shooter. That is my modus. Runway? Forget about it. Paparazzi? Never. I could not do it. It takes me down a road that would make me BE that car wreck there on the beach. It all comes right back to that moment. Oh and the other images from that long weekend wound up being a who’s who of the entertainment industry. I do not think I ever showed them to too many people actually. But they were in my book for a short while. Just because it was what I was filming that period. (That is how subjects wind up in a career shooter’s book.)

I received entry into a world that one does not just walk into. You need to be invited. That was the road I went down, and it was the right one for me. I never go where I am not invited nor where I feel I am to prostitute my personal values. This was illustrated to me once more in the recent fires. I just got a sweet e mail from my friend Tracy Lehr, who is an Emmy winning journalist. This is what she wrote: “I like that you didn’t want to shoot the city that you love burning. That says a lot”.¬† But that is just me. Sometimes not taking the shot is the best statement one can make on a subject. I have seen that illustrated by many of my colleagues who not so coincidentally, are all at the top of their field.

Here is a fantastic little video about choices and creativity in the middle of this National Bike Week. It will give you a smile for sure.

You can also view a video about one of Brian Nevin’s projects here.¬† A great example of path finding via ethics in a garbage dump in South America. It is a heart warming story.

For a shocking look at what is going on with some people  in fashion, whose moral compass points WAY south click here.

The following images are me too. I hate being shot. Some of these were produced by request from one of my favorite Editors and publishers, Clay Feeter. This should be the last time EVER I put myself in my own post. If you select and press print, they make great dartboard bulls eyes though! Illustrative images obviously.

Me Shooting Zuri Star photo Daniel Huber

Me Shooting Zuri Star photo Daniel Huber

My favorite level of intrusion while working.

My favorite level of intrusion while working.

Donna and I cruising Chinatown, SF

Donna and I cruising Chinatown, SF



© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.