Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Scott Mead’s Hawaii landscapes show the depth of color, mood and drama of the islands’ stunning and wholly unique environment
"Typically, whenever you see an ad for Hawaii," Mead says, "it's all green. You see Waipio Valley, Iao Valley, you see all these dramatic green landscapes. Well, yes, that's tropical and beautiful and nice, but there's a whole lot more to Hawaii than just tropical rain forests. We have the desert, we have the lava, we have the incredible waves, we have the sunsets. There's the plumeria, the hibiscus, you've got gingers like mad— there's just so much. But when it comes to advertising, we've sort of been spoon-fed the big green dramatic landscape. That's just a little tiny fraction of what Hawaii is all about."
When Mead describes the islands, it's easy to see why they make for such an ideal host to his moody nature photography: crashing surf, glowing lava, calming waterfalls. It's a wonder that we don't consider Hawaii more frequently in the same breath with other popular photographic destinations. Hawaii really is a nature photographer's paradise.
"There's just so much," Mead continues. "You really have to be selective. When it comes to the average person coming here, I think a lot of people can be overwhelmed because there's so much to see, so much to do, and the typical vacation is a week to two weeks. How are you going to get out and get all that in? A lot of it is that you've got these huge beautiful dramatic landscapes, but I find there's always one thing that's calling, and it's picking out what that one piece is within the landscape that's calling you to it—you focus in on that, and then you've got the story."
"Hawaii itself has, for the Hawaiians, a very big spiritual power, which they refer to as mana," Mead explains. "It's out there; you just have to be there and you'll see it, you'll feel it, you'll understand it. But you have to open your heart to it. So going out and sitting on the lava watching the water, if you open yourself to it, you can see and, actually, in a way, you can kind of feel it. There's a lot of power within the ocean, with what the light is doing, everything that's around you. And a lot of it, for me, is kind of learning to get in tune, like the Hawaiians would, to be able to understand what the water is doing, how it's moving over the topography of the lava rocks in the ocean, how the light is moving, what are the clouds doing—this entire dance moving all together to come through with one incredible image.
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