Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Living Large

Our digs last week during our outing to the Big Island. Private, beachfront residence adjacent to a massive resort... two stories, four bedrooms, lost count of bathrooms, chef's kitchen, library-entertainment room, living room large enough to entertain three or four hundred of your closest friends, private pool & spa, 8000+ sq.ft. Did I mention the butler?

Spent two days working around engineering staff installing new tile work, cabinetry & furnishings & finishing up a massive punch-list in preparation for the arrival of a VIP Guest moving in literally just after we were moving out.

Barely made the flight back home as we waited around for word on a helicopter flight for some last minute aerial work. Word never came, leaving us with an hour to gas up, make the forty minute drive to the airport, return the car and check all the gear onto the flight to Honolulu and the connecting flight home to Maui. All airports were extremely busy... a good sign for summer's economic outlook overall.

Now waiting for coordination details from the producer to begin work on the editorial piece on island chocolatiers. There was also a new assignment handed to us yesterday... another editorial piece on an old friend whom I haven't seen in a while... a syndicated columnist hiding out in the jungles of Hana on the east side of the island. Looks like a drive along the lush & winding Road to Hana is in store for the very near future. That's really NOT going to suck.

There's more fun with the camera phone below:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Where is the Edge? Brian Eno On the Creative Process Plus Some Other Stuff

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan / Bali, Indonesia

" The edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only ones who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

Oblique Strategies consists of a deck of cards developed by composer/producer/philosopher Brian Eno & artist Peter Schmidt as a set of basic working principles meant to steer the creative process during times of extreme pressure. Loosely based on the I Ching, the cards can be used to disrupt the process while encouraging a new way to approach creative problem solving. Says Eno:
"The Oblique Strategies evolved from me being in a number of working situations when the panic of the situation - particularly in studios - tended to make me quickly forget that there were others ways of working and that there were tangential ways of attacking problems that were in many senses more interesting than the direct head-on approach. If you're in a panic, you tend to take the head-on approach because it seems to be the one that's going to yield the best results Of course, that often isn't the case - it's just the most obvious and - apparently - reliable method. The function of the Oblique Strategies was, initially, to serve as a series of prompts which said, "Don't forget that you could adopt *this* attitude," or "Don't forget you could adopt *that* attitude."

Some of those strategic prompts (over 100 of them) include:


and, of course:


I've always been fascinated by Eno... his music & collaborations, his production projects, video, audio & sculptural installations and his ideas on work, art, music & creativity. For more on the artists, I just found an online copy of the seminal Eno biography, Brian Eno: His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound by author Eric Tamm. Click here to download the e-book in .pdf format and Happy Reading!

And on a completely different note... flight cases are packed & loaded for a triumphant return to the Big Island tomorrow afternoon. Assistant Barry & I will again schlep grotesquely overweight cases full of gear through airports & hotel hallways in pursuit of photographic perfection. Two days (mostly) on the ground and an helicopter assault by air are scheduled while in residence once again at the Hapuna Beach Resort on the Kohala Coast.

Evening meals will again be taken at the delightful little Italian Bistro in Kawaihae where, during our last trip, a young, pimply-faced & overly perky reject from the Glee cast literally floated out of his loafers as we approached the hostess stand to be sat (set? seated? sot?). Way too obviously convinced that we were a happy aging gay couple, our host sashayed with menus in hand from behind his podium, asking with a "knowing wink" if the "couples section" would be satisfactory?" 

"Well hell yes that will work" I spat back... "now bring me a double Pink Cadillac and be quick about it!"

Monday, June 13, 2011

In A White Room With No Curtains...

...or retouching... (with all apologies to CREAM)

Assistant Jeffery Oltman strikes a pose & gets the reading. Add further light tweaking, one talented rock band, a couple of day's retouching & a splash of lime... shake lightly.

Stay tuned...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Furlough Friday

iPhone 4 Capture

For the first time ever in 20+ years, had to postpone today's shoot for health reasons. Fortunately, weather bringing strong gusty winds, intermittent showers and hazy, less than ideal skies provided cover for the image of invulnerability I try so hard to project... Ha!

Only made it out of bed yesterday for multiple runs, always a few seconds too late, to the loo. Fever, chills and intense intestinal distress had me lying around in a daze for most of the day. Haven't eaten a bite now since dinner two night's ago and beginning to feel a little weak. Need food, but fear that it will spontaneously eject itself across the room (think Jackson Pollock canvas) as soon as it's ingested keeps me from tempting fate for just a little while longer...

After a few quick design changes, the summer email promo was completed and roughly 250 sent out last week. Very happy to report that there was an immediate response rate of 20%... emails acknowledging receipt (and none of them cursing me for SPAM) & two immediate assignments a direct result. One of those assignments was supposed to happen today, but you know how that turned out... or didn't. Fortunately, we've been able to reschedule it for a week from now, followed by another two-day assignment taking us back to the Big Island for more resort work.

Here's the final promo design sent:

Now the weekend is nearly upon us - offering a couple of days to completely mend the bowels and, with any luck, get some long-overdue gardening done. Last week's strong winds threatened to topple a massively top-heavy bougainvillea tree, destroying a supporting fence structure in the process. Heavy-duty pruner & saw in hand, I fought the bougainvillea & the bougainvillea won. So scratched and bloodied was I that the guy managing the weigh-in station at the local composting repository felt compelled to inquire if I was "OK"? Horror show... Let's hope we fare better during this weekend's lawn-warrior outing.

HAPA is currently winding it's way through Japan bringing music of the islands to their multitude of Japanese fans. Founder Barry Flanagan was kind enough to text me this photo of their show poster, drawn from our studio sessions of a few months back, taken outside Tokyo's Cotton Club:
photo: Barry Flanagan/HAPA

Wednesday, June 1, 2011