Posts Tagged ‘Social consciousness’

Red White and You

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Amongst my friends and colleagues, who I see as being people of sound, educated mind, and of exceptional intelligence and compassion, I have observed something.

They appear to be stuck.

Why is it, that some people prefer to confer the authority and tenets of Leadership, on Politicians?

The reason I find this perplexing is due to a recurrent result that is obvious.

By repetitively supporting a Red or Blue, Left and Right divisive philosophy, they have jettisoned their own power as individuals, who are for the most part,  in possession of  greater intelligence and connectedness,  than those leading the factions. My dear friends follow an idea they were sold by a marketer.

Ever read this?  All Marketers are Liars.  Great book. Or this one? The Tipping Point. Responsible empowering reads. If ever one wanted to own their power as an individual, these would be great books to engage.

Politicians are liars of convenience. In order for most of them to stay in office, they must be re-elected. So getting that done is job one.¬† Telling people what they want to hear, is frequently a good interim solution.¬† The short term cycle of Politics and daily Media, which feeds upon it economically, in much the same manner as American Retail does on the concept of Christmas, is designed to survive via consumerism. It needs the public to feed on it’s messages, in order to complete the advertising cycle and show profit.

Now why would it bother me that my friends would do this? Well, it does so for selfish reasons. I like my friends, and see them as high value contributors to society potentially, and it is really embarrassing to see grown, educated people, cuddling a Red or Blue blankie, asking a Politician to feed them nurturing leadership. The obvious fact is that with many Politicians, the Ethics Deficit has left their Moral Bank Account without funds and their Pantry is inhabited only by the cobwebs of desire: to succeed in Politics.

So here is what I propose. Ignore them. Take the reins of your life, act right where you are. Think about what you do which makes you feel happy, engaged and fulfilled, and do that. We become what we lend attention and heart to. If you read the National Enquirer, well then, that becomes your foundational knowledge and philosophy base. Partisanship is sort of like that, and a choice.

But those of us who care about you, will really miss having you in on the conversations we are inspired to engage and the solutions which we endeavor to ferret out.

You could matter. But first it must become all about you. Once you are in place, then it can be about helping others to thrive. Let’s make it about you, rather than those waving false flags, who don’t care about humanity or your family, or you,¬† beyond seizing our attention when they need it.

Oh and by the way. The White? Those white stripes on the American flag? They signify liberty and equality, and some say, purity of intention.  Hint: choose White over Red or Blue. We will all be happier as a result.

Nurture and thrive.

It starts with you.

Do it.

“When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn’t like.” I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die, so it can be carved”. -Will Rogers

Pick a Lane

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Salud Carbajal

Salud Carbajal


In life and in our Western Cultural assessment of what will inevitably amount to a rather short term existence on this blue ball, we are constantly encouraged by the status quo, to “pick a lane” for ourselves. Or at least, this was the method employed till this latest socio-economic meltdown. The concept was to attend school, move in to a field that would best suit our fiscal goals, and supply the road to our own future happiness. Each day, you were to¬† arrive at that job, and park right between the lines. Never vary that. Or face severe retribution from the system.

A lot has  changed. I will look at that a bit in the coming months.

The image above was shot a week or so ago in Santa Barbara at the Courthouse, and is my contribution to a collection of digital assets to be used in the re election campaign of Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara County Supervisor. I also shot some work for Doreen Farr and her Supervisorial campaign as well.

Speaking with them both, confirmed research done when I had vetted the job by doing some online checking and making a couple phone calls prior to taking the gig, which was with my friend and colleague Rob Dafoe, who I am a creative partner with. I found Doreen and Salud to be passionate, respectful, educated people, who possessed a compassion for their community.

Tough gig, the narrow lane of local political office. The job description itself, demands that you stay between the lines of Govt authority, yet still have daily contact with your constituency. This creates a choice. You embrace the relationship, or build a wall, a lane so to speak, and stay there. Each position has benefit, as well as risk. It really is a service position, that of local Govt Office. It was great to meet two servants and in turn serve them with my ability as an image maker.

I chose my lane in life a long time ago when I decided what I would serve. The reality is that everyone must serve something. Service begins in the heart. One does well to attend to the heart first. Out of it will come the issues of your life.

As we begin a look at this, I recall my early education in Photography. Conventional wisdom stated that you select a subject and become that. A Nature Photographer, Photojournalist, Wedding Photographer, Surf Photographer, whatever, and you parked between the lines and were that, which brought in your income. Understandable, that Philosophy. But knowing where it led, I never followed the tiny golden thread into any of those boxes. To do so always seemed flat out stupid to me. (Think rabbit in a box trap)

That is because I came to serve.

Go in to a box, and this limits both who you serve, and the ability of your own soul to thrive and grow.

As I erased the lines which defined my own existence, constantly eschewing becoming niched and parked, I learned something pretty special. Limits are all about fear. Placing them, staying within them, acknowledging other’s rules for our own existence, may make for a somewhat stable cultural environment for the moment, but I have rarely seen them bring anyone any real happiness or sense of satisfaction.

Say you were to lose all today. Where would you be?

Look down. You are standing there. In your own space.

Erase the lines.


Don’t do it to others, don’t allow that restriction to be placed upon you.

Here is a link to a blogpost from Seth Godin which contains his new online version of “Stop Stealing Dreams“, a piece on modern education that everyone who wants a wide lane through life should read!

In the course of an Eight day period (which I am in the midst of right now) I am shooting and filming subjects that range from below sea level to the mountains. If I had ever bought in to the conventional wisdom surrounding my craft and trade, well then, you would likely have not much interest in my common material.

But since my choice was to erase my lines as a Creative early on, I am able to bring forward the most remarkable aspects of Creation. I am continually in awe. Even when sitting in a crew van, waiting to meet two dedicated Santa Barbara County Supervisors.

The following gallery of images are from projects I had in front of me THIS WEEK. Obviously the folks who want to call me a Surf Photographer may have missed the mark when they for whatever reason, wanted to put me in their box.

Some of them are for this cool new project. The Solitary Exposure Collective, which I am building with my colleague, Larry Beard.

Here is the link to my work in it, which grows in scope monthly. Eventually, much of it will be available via Commercial license. What Larry and I have done, is build the foundations for an art collection that is a new type of agency. Right now you can buy art and have it delivered to your door ready to hang. Or just glance through the open collection and maybe get inspired to redraw the lines in your own life. We would like that. It makes us all better.

Click on any of the images for a full view or to toggle through as a slide show.



A Thanksgiving Story

Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Hobie Surfboards

Hobie Surfboards

A little while ago, at the behest and planning of artist Robb Havassy, I found myself at the home of film maker Bruce Brown. Though I tend to want to keep some aspects of my life private, this is something to share, as it is a story about the power of gratitude. November twenty fourth being the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., it is especially appropriate, as thankfulness is in the heart of a Nation today. This little tale explains how it works, in the lives of my friends.

I met Bruce many years ago. He had rang me up out of the blue. His son, Wade and I, had worked together in my surfboard shop in downtown Santa Barbara. Yet our paths had never crossed. Bruce had asked me to come up and meet a writer on assignment for the NY Post, as they were doing a piece on him. He was so funny on the phone, that of course I said yes, and laughed for about ten minutes after we rang off. Not wanting to take any chances screwing it up, I had dragged my then assistant, Brian Nevins up with me. The portrait below was at the end of that day we would share at the Ranch and his home with writer Corey Levitan.

Film maker Bruce Brown

Film maker Bruce Brown

As my fiance, Donna Von Hoesslin, Havassy and I, sped up coast in the warm afternoon light washing the California Coast, Robb explained a film project idea that he was developing. Donna was craning to see if any of the multiple breaks that lie alongside the 101 on the Gaviota Coast were breaking, and I was quietly thinking about how special the people in my life are.

Gaviota Coast

Gaviota Coast

Robb loves to cook. Whenever he comes up to visit Donna and I, we usually let him. So part of his happy little plan, was Carne Asada del Havassy, and it was stashed in the car boot along with Vodka, a bottle of pretty special wine made by my friend and filming partner Rob Dafoe, and a few other sundry things for dinner.

The Speed 3 rumbled up the dirt road that led to Bruce’s home, Robb and I laughed. A big van emblazoned with Sanuk marketing wrap was parked next to the garage. Ha! It belonged to Wingnut, AKA Robert Weaver. We had just discussed him being in Robb’s project. Of course he was there. You could see what was coming in terms of our evening, as clearly as one would driving a long country road and happening upon a cross road.

As an image maker and Journalist I am highly cognizant of the significance of cross roads. They are pretty special when you look back on them with the benefit of retrospect. But nowadays, I cherish what comes at me via these very fortuitous moments in time. I pay attention to the traffic.

There we all were on the Gaviota Coast, and as golden fingers of light withdrew in leisurely fashion across the coastal scrub and the ocean took on mauve and amber tones, the stories flowed, and Bruce, his daughter Nancie, son Dana, Wingy, Robb, Donna and I shared stories, wine, laughter and the texture of our separate and collective lives. I will forever sit rapt at the feet of a great story teller. And I was surrounded by them.

As dinner wrapped up, none of us left the table. A lot of very rich and heavy sonnet ensued, and I swear I went from tears to laughter and back, several times before Bruce got up, only to return to the table with a sheaf of papers bound together. A hand made phone book of sorts.

“Hey have you talked to Hobie lately?” Bruce asked. “Ah no. I had wanted to interview him actually Bruce, but he has been having a pretty heavy battle with Cancer. I think he may be on Orcas Island.” (A lot was contained in what Bruce was doing. That man has the sharpest mind of just about anyone I have met. I swear he thinks in multiple dimensions. It is an ability which I have seen and found in common with many great creatives).

“Let’s call that foker up.”

I had been enlisted many years ago as an image maker for Hobie Sports Intnl and they had sent me all over the world. I have gotten to travel with Jeff Alter, Dan Mangus, Sean Douglas and a plethora of great athletes that today are a part of the lifestyle Hobie Alter created, which I truly view simultaneously as being descendent from my Hawaiian heritage, and having steered the development of contemporary culture. I constantly pinch myself when on our shoots, the ocean delivers repeatedly, experiences that are sort of mind blowing.

Bruce got Hobie on the line by the third ring I think. Without betraying the confidential nature of the conversation, I will just say that it was about gratitude. I listened as he thanked Hobie for everything he had done. From surfboards to boats to gliders and more. Bruce thanked Hobie Alter for introducing him to it all. And then he handed the phone to me.

I have surfed all over the world. I think that I have built maybe 40k surfboards in my life. I’ve sailed, swam, fished, soared, built and raced cars and bikes, and today I travel with cameras, and communicate what that life can look and feel like. I introduced myself to the gentle voice on the phone and gave a brief explanation of who I actually was: some guy who really is no different than any of us whose life revolves around the sea, and all I could think to say that meant anything was this: “Thank you. What you have done has made a big difference to me. I know you have been dealing with Cancer. How are you?” “Pretty good! I have to walk with a cane now. But I feel pretty strong. I think that I am going to be around for awhile”¬† “Really happy to hear that Hobie, I am going to hand the phone off now. There are some others here who want to talk to you.” And I said goodbye.

Auspicious moment, getting to talk to a man whose work created the platform for the things that bring joy and meaning to your life. Bruce knew what he was doing.

Then he called two more people. He was sowing seeds.

That is what we are doing today. All of us as we give thanks, are sowing to the future, in the honoring of the lives and memories of those who invested in their dreams, and pursued happiness. There is much to be said for that.

Here is a fantastic example by Photographer Giles Duly

Here is another, by  film maker Louie Schwartzberg.

Gratitude and Happiness are siblings.

You have to invite one in to get the other.

Happy Thanksgiving. Sow some seeds.



Pursuing Happy

Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Happiness Is

Happiness Is

One of the things that always strikes me about Bali and the Balinese is the degree of happiness which exists.

Some may say that being happy is a choice. Well it is, sort of. But not the type of selection one may suspect. Happiness is in the choices open to you as an individual and member of a Community, and in the case of a Citizen of the US, the pursuit of it, is a National Guarantee.

Here is a fantastic read on Happiness, by Dr William B Stewart. Take close note of what he says about the US Bill of Rights and Constitution.



I very recently returned from Bali, a supposed “Third World” nation, to Ventura California. A place that by all rights and history, should be a bastion of freedom and happiness, seeing it was founded on the backs of settlers who became ranchers, farmers and¬† oil field workers. One would call those, “salt of the earth” types. People whose families and existence were based on the pursuit of happiness.

However, (and I write this with great reluctance) a cancer moved into my Community in the past decade. Lubricated by money and the pursuit and love of it, a Socio-Political faction obtained control of the town through the City Council and hiring of a dis-re located City Manager to run the town, which proved to be at the expense of the freedom and happiness of the township, which is a Corporation.

Repressive Disconnect

Repressive Disconnect

As the US economy spiraled into a new abyss, those people engaged in a philosophy of  City Governance one would at best call repressive, and at worst Totalitarian. The irony of course, being that most of the empowered are rather well paid at Taxpayer and Community expense.

Red Light Traffic cameras were installed, as a means of obtaining a new source of income. Parking pay stations were installed in the Downtown as a means of controlling traffic and the populace, under the guise of progress, killing it, at the expense of 1.8 million dollars. Only two City Council members resisted fairly consistently, Jim Monahan and Neil Andrews.¬† City¬† Mayor Bill Fulton, City Manager Rick Cole and the other Council members,¬† pushed for all of it,¬† on occasion, shouting down and conspiring against any who disagreed with the repressive and money losing attempts to create a “Sustainable Urban development” out of what is really a sprawling village.



I have long been involved in Ecological Study and Rules development and the more foot to the ground aspects of Environmentalism and Progressive development. I have never seen such an obvious attempt at Greenwashing and false flag flying under the guise of Sustainability, as I have seen by the leadership at large in Ventura Ca. Look into the backgrounds of the various members of City Governance and their allegiances, and you will find development companies and interests. You will find six figure salaries. You will find  a potential for corruption that makes Indonesian Govt look like a school for choir boys.

In Sustainable Systems, architecture demands that needs be met with available assets, thereby perpetuating the system itself. What Ventura has gotten shoved down it’s throat by these well compensated individuals is the opposite of that. It is the definition of Parasitism, where eventually the foreign entity kills or severely damages the host.

For this Community to thrive, the drain on it  must be removed.

Ever hear of the term “Proactive Zoning and Code Enforcement”? That is where the City Zoning and Code enforcement people show up at the door, flash a badge (They are actually NOT Law Enforcement) and ask to enter your home under the guise of A) Having a complaint lodged by some mystery person or B) Just wanting to make sure that your property is “safe”.

Then, IF the homeowner is gullible enough to let the inspector in, that CITY EMPLOYEE cites the occupant of the home (citizen) for anything that they can find and fine them for. Cannot pay it? No problem. The City of Ventura leins the home and it goes on the list for collection by the County Tax Assessor and sale later, by the County of Ventura if you still cannot pay. No kidding. Approx 148 homes are currently on that list and the Institute for Justice in Washington DC sent a letter to the City (watch their video on the 14th Amendment!), saying it was in violation of the Constitution of the United States. Not one of these homeowners was offered time payment plans or a hardship application.

A once proud heritage

A once proud heritage

So there is a City Council Election next week in Ventura, and three seats are being contested. The incumbents have made clear choices about their and the City’s future happiness. The challengers, (With the exception of candidate Cheryl Heitman, who moved to Ventura from Thousand Oaks this year) are long term members of the Community. Some have at great personal expense, fought against what has been done to their town. One of them, Ken Cozzens, is a retired Sheriff and local business owner (both highly qualifying vocations to have represented in office). Another, Carla Bonney, even went so far as to acquire nearly 12k Citizen signatures that would place the parking pay stations on the ballot, only to have her community building efforts be halted by City Attorney Ariel Calonne, who had been informed of the efforts all along. What he did looked very bad. It may have been what it looked like. It may not. But in any event, the people who all thought they should get the opportunity to VOTE on the changes rammed down their throats by the Mayor, City Council, Rick Cole and the Downtown Ventura Organization, were denied that opportunity.¬† Get the picture?

There is more. Much more.¬† I HATE dirty laundry, and my town like many, has skeletons which maybe ought not be exhumed. Or maybe they should? Ever read about our town Cemetery that was turned into a dog park illegally? Today, dogs walk where bodies still lie interred, the area scraped of grave markers, which were dumped in Hall Canyon. The City uses the issue to distract the public from the real issue: this large Midtown section of the city is the only section that has no real parks, so people continue to fight over the use of a cemetery. Legally, that is exactly what it still is. People’s families and the History of Ventura are buried there! No park for you, but here, have this cemetery. The dead won’t mind. After all, they are dead. The act violates all manner of State and Federal codes as well as the basic conventions of humanity in every culture of the earth. To make matters even more onerous, one James Sumner, a Medal of Honor holder, is also interred there. Ventura just wanted a park. Parks are happy places. Cemeteries are about something else. The bodies lie there still. Understand?

Goal of Governance

Goal of Governance

Now don’t get me wrong. Politics are dirty business and politicians seldom are leaders of any real sort. They typically only follow the money trail. So why expect Ventura to be different?

Because Venturans live there. And for that reason this tract of Coastal Land could possibly be one of the most vital assets in California. But only if Venturans determine the direction and application of Law, Civil Liberty, and Development. We must pursue Happiness. We must seek it out, architect it, and make it work for our future generations. There is smart growth in that. Anything less is just demise.

As the Occupy Movement and¬† crime in high places, struggle together for control, the only real chance for happiness, is for the community to assume control of it’s destiny, and in doing so, be allowed the opportunity to pursue liberty and happiness. It is why I will not expatriate, much as I love the peace that exists elsewhere in the world. It is why I am and remain, an American. That is my choice. I am not paid to be here. I want to be here.

Want to see a happy future for your children? Occupy your town. Take it back from those who are there to milk it for personal gain. You and I must do this. There is no one else with that responsibility, who will do it for us.

I hope things change, yes. But regardless of who is in a City Govt position, we all have an investment in our Communities, and must believe it to be worth all of the struggle to restore, and must understand, that eventually, the townships of America will be occupied by the Citizens, and not prurient interests hiding behind false flags.

Icon of  Ventura Justice: Judge McGrath's home

Icon of Ventura Justice: Judge McGrath's home

Seems like a prudent thing to me: the pursuit of happiness. For everyone. It is why our founders wrote it into the Law.

My son Josh produced this. A young man who is an idealist rooted in the realism of our National Socio-Political condition.  A Venturan.  No Substitute.  He gets it. So should we.

Love your family. Cherish your Community. Occupy. Take your town back. Make it YOUR homeland. You restore our Country by doing so.

That is an honorable thing.

Light Fantastic: Happiness

Light Fantastic: Happiness

Apocryphal Wave

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011


California Series Ch. 2

Maybe it is the surge in weird news. Maybe it is being too closely informed of the goings on in Ventura City, where I live. But I found myself at a bit of a loss when I heard of the latest greatest mean spirited shenanigans of some local politicians. It was so depressing that these elected officials could treat the people I live with so poorly and with such disrespect, that I found myself in a cave today.

So while I was in there I did some Art. In this blog are three images, and they are called the Apocryphal Wave Series.

Here, I will save you the trouble.

apocryphal |…ôňąp√§kr…ôf…ôl|
(of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true



I found these photographs buried in a 27,000 image edit file (digital cave) this evening and decided to paint a little bit. Brightened my mood.

Here is a little editorial piece written by Camille Harris today. She pretty accurately describes what is happening to Venturans. But it is more than just my podunk little town. It is all of California. Yep. You know what comes next. As California goes….

Time to build something apocryphal. No one will notice. Everybody does it.

So here you go. Three images. They are real.  Okay, so they may NOT be photorealistic, but at least someone is being honest around here.



Seth Godin pounds a few nails into the framework of restructuring, in this blog.

So, cognitive dissonance well in hand, I have crept out of the digital cave and seeing “it” sleeping on the hillside, have tipped the first cow in the series. Take your community back. You live there. You pay for it. Your children deserve that. It is how this State will return to health. It is where safety health and happiness lie. Mind the cow though.


© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.