Pearl Harb Photo Essay 2011 Pdf


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Photo essay by Pacific Northwest photographer David Johanson Vasquez, shares his experience of photographing one of the Nation's most honored National Monuments on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The recently completed visitor center at the Arizona Memorial National Monument in Pearl Harbor is the assignment, but it's only part of a dynamic story of creative fortitude, history and Pan Pacific North American culture.

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Pearl Harb Photo Essay 2011 Pdf

  1. 1. PEARL HARBOR PHOTO PILGRIMAGEMarch 16, 2011 Photography opportunity found within a Pacific paradise. By: David Johanson Vasquez Wether your an amateur, pro- Aloha spirit and charming land- of my planned travel to Oahu. At fessional, fine-artist or commercial scapes. that time, preliminary stages of photographer, you need to be On the Island of Oahu Pearl design were just taking place and resourceful to have viewers take Harbor has been a great interest there wasn’t much opportunity in interest in your work. to me. Some years back, The Por- photographing the site. Unde- For the past 11 years I have tico Group, a Seattle architectural terred, I made arrangements for a made traveling to the Hawaiian firm began exploratory work to window seat on a Hawaiian Air- Islands a priority. In this tropic design a component of World lines, Boeing 767, that would al- paradise, my experience is one of War II Valor in the Pacific Na- low me to take some initial aerial creative renewal, brought on by tional Monument. photographs of Pearl Harbor. inspiration from the Island’s In 2008, I contacted a princi- Fortunately,, clear weather al- pal architect at Portico with news lowed me to photograph the 1
  2. 2. that the project was nearing com- searched internet images and pletion. Unfortunately, the dedi- information that would assist me cation was taking place a couple in knowing the site’s geographical of months before my next flight to Hawaii was scheduled. So a local photographer would be called to shoot the new center. Undaunted, I asked for the opportunity to photograph the visitor center in February, with no financial obligation to the firm. The architect agreed to this offer by providing me with a National attributes before arriving. Park administration contact in My flight to Hawaii was Monument on approach to Honolulu Airport. Upon returning from the trip to Oahu, my aerial photos were emailed to the architect. I fol- lowed up with a phone call and the feedback, although polite, revealed that it was still too early in the project for the firm to con- sider using photography. Honolulu. pleasant and as the plane was If your a dedicated photog- A couple of weeks before approaching Oahu I could clearly rapher, you realize the impor- flying to Hawaii, my contact see Honolulu. However, after de- tance of patience and learning allowed me to view images the boarding the plane, blue sky had from every success as well as fail- Honolulu photographer took given way to a partial mixture of ure, regardless if it involves tech- back in December. The photo dark clouds. Phoning the national nical or marketing issues. coverage was good, with many park services, contacts, the staff angles of the new center shot, informed me the forecast was not using various times of day for promising for my intended early best light. This review confirmed morning photo shoot. So my plan my approach would have to be was to be flexible for the next different from what was previ- ously used. I then re- By emailing new samples of my photography, I kept in contact with Portico and learned last year2
  3. 3. week, while my camera on a tripod and be- watching gan taking a series of carefully local composed photographs. Soon weather twilight gave way to sunrise, re- forecasts to vealing a vibrant panorama take ad- backdrop of multicolored clouds. vantage of As morning light lit the visitor the first center, I joined legions of visitors opportu- descending upon the open gates. nity for an The shores of Pearl Harbor, and the Arizona Memorial, have continually drawn me into their honored gates time and time again. Many members of my family have served in the mili- tary, and I’m grateful for their dedication, and sacri- fices dur- ing enlist- ment. What happened on an early De- cember early morning photo session. Af- morning, ter a few relaxing days under a at this his- blend of tropical sun with clouds, toric site, a favorable forecast came in for brought the assignment. our coun- Traveling in darkness I ar- try into WWII. The individuals gave the ultimate sacrifice. An rived at the site immersed in sub- who were under fire here, exem- unseen force pulls me to this tle, predawn light. On a hill I plify the strongest dedication to place, and I offer homage to discovered after scouting the visi- preserving and defending our what happened at his historic site. tor center a few days before, I set nation, particularly those who Another cause for my interest in this National Monument is my appreciation for history. Histori- cally, the Pearl Harbor attack represents a great milestone, a solid beginning of a Pax Ameri- cana, or the U.S. ascending posi- tion as undisputed world leader for the second half of the 20th Century. Once inside the Monument’s entrance helpful park service staff, who were informed by ad- ministration officials to allow me total photographic access., made their greetings. My morning work went well, as I was able to efficiently move about the site, photographing for several hours, from all the best angles. Leaving Pearl Harbor after a successful shoot, I felt fortunate the weather had been so coop-3
  4. 4. erative, as it produced a combination of soft, dif- fused light with interest- ing clouds to ad sky tex- ture. For my remaining visit on Oahu, I had an enjoyable and relaxing time with while working family and and playing friends. We in Hawaii is all came to- due to this gether for fusion of couple of culture tak- nights to ing place on celebrated the Islands. my dad’s Another 80th birthday influence I in Hawaiian draw from style with this land is great food, the constant mediate response was enthusiasm for the photographs presented, along with compliments towards my approach of using subtle light to help illuminate compositions. Two dramatic photographs were purchased at the presentation in order to meet a deadline for an architectural awards competition taking place that week. Within days, additional images were ac- quired from me that featured views not included in the prelimi- nary photography completed last December. live music and Hula dancing. vibrant growth of plant life, along This photographic experience Of course I found some with continuos volcanic activity was a classic lesson in fortitude, time for my personal photography which never slows down and cre- persistence, and not giving up, no work. Hawaii has some remark- ates new land on a daily bases. matter what the apparent odds able subject matter, which is al- Upon returning to a cold are. ways worth discovering. Beside winter in Seattle, several days Mahalo nui loa! the gorgeous tropical landscapes, went by before a meeting could there are urban scenes with be scheduled with the Portico blends of Ocean, South Pacific, Group. Once the meeting did Asian and North American cul- take place, a couple of lead archi- tures that create a unique, Pan- tects, along with the group’s mar- Pacific experience. Perhaps the keting manager reviewed the pho- sense of renewal I experience tographs I brought in. The im-4