Earth Day and the Living Planet

The Social Conscience of Memory For those of us who were alive before the 70’s, we must remember. And in doing so, poignantly remind others, speak out tirelessly about our experience of the scarred earth that is forever blazed in our minds and likely still lodged in our bodies, and advocate strongly for mother earth to anyone who will listen — our elected representatives, corporate leaders, and the masses enamored […]

Zen Camera: Seeing and the Five Visual Elements of Photography

The Paradox of Permanence © Alison Beste

Each of us has in our possession a powerful and time-honored way of knowing about the world. Observation, direct perception in the present moment, teaches us about ourselves and others and helps us interpret the many dynamics that surround us. It shapes our response to the world and forms the basis for both knowledge and action. In one’s way of seeing lies one’s way of action. —Alfred Stieglitz, photographer Both […]

Photography for Social Change

Nickel Tailings, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada © Edward Burtynsky

After the election of November 8, 2016, a healthy majority of Americans feel fear and despair over the impending erosion of our constitutional liberties, the potentially shattering setbacks for our hard-won civil rights, and the likely acceleration of environmental catastrophe. Many people are asking where are we heading? What have we done? And the most important question: What can we do to avert the potential consequences of social and environmental […]

Photography in Hawai‘i: Part Two

Alison Beste, from the series: Oil Tanker SunsetsAlison Beste, from the series: Oil Tanker Sunsets

In a previous post, I wrote about accomplished photographers from elsewhere who have created bodies of work in Hawai‘i. Now I have the privilege—and the much harder to task—to write about photographers who live and work here as part of the island’s vibrant photographic community. I must disclose that I am one of those photographers and many of the others are old friends and colleagues. What I have to say […]

In Focus: Self Discovery through Photography and Art

© David Ulrich© David Ulrich

Why is art necessary? Apart from the obvious social, political, and historical functions of art, how does it serve the maker? What benefits are available from the practice of making something? Now, please remember, all of you are artists in some way or in some fashion — or can be. Many of you carry cell phones or have laptops or writing implements and voices that can sing as wells bodies […]

Photography in Hawai‘i: Part One

Richard Misrach, On the Beach book cover

During the film era, Kodak announced that more film was shot in Hawai‘i than any other state. Recently, the Improve Photography website reveals that Hawai‘i has the second most active photographic community in the country. And the State film office lists over 225 motion picture films made in Hawai‘i during the twentieth and early twenty first centuries. What makes Hawai‘i such a compelling and sought-out location for photographers and filmmakers? The […]

Art and Self Knowledge

© Rachmad Sofyan© Rachmad Sofyan

Who Am I?Know Thyself.” Socrates words resound with an inner force as clear and direct as their first utterance over twenty-five centuries ago. These two simple words lie at the heart of the world’s great teachings and have had a profound impact on the thought and inquiry of western civilization. What do these powerful words really mean? How do we approach this vast and essential task? And for our purposes: […]

Paradise / Paradox

Mauna Kea #1 © David Ulrich

Crossroads of Heaven and Earth on Mauna KeaAmong the many roles that artists can play is to bring perspective, create an enlarged viewpoint, and to offer their wisdom through carefully crafted objects invested with feeling and thought. By thought, I mean the intelligence that grows from one’s entire being, formulated in thinking that is capable of transcending literal and rational description. Several years ago, I worked on a small project […]