We are very excited to share Keoki’s interview with fellow photographer Karen Hutton. See what inspires these two photographers in this great video!
The path I have been on lately again fills me with unfathomable inspiration. Like many, I’ve never been comfortable speaking in public. Unless it was loose, undefined, and in the context of my own creative space, I have avoided it like the plague. Recently my path compelled me to focus on this weakness and to share the bigger story with the outside world. I’m now targeting a much broader, diverse audience within the highly defined TedX platform that’s characterized by bright lights, cameras, and frighteningly short time frames. Talk about facing my fears…
I’m proud of everything in my creative world; it’s evolved through unrelenting focus and hard work. It’s always been about making mistakes, learning, and pushing ahead. This familiar pattern persists in my new pursuit. Months prior to my big day, I begin my long, anxious journey. I first try to identify and identify with my audience, what I want them to know and, most importantly, how I would like them to feel. Endless editing of images (still and moving) and constantly conceptualizing and reprioritizing my ideas eventually leads me to some place of greater clarity as to what, when, and maybe even how. Then I inevitably find myself trying to remember it all and naturally but desperately somehow trying to get it all to fit into what always feels like a hopelessly tight time frame. In the last week before the talk, the pressure to be ready, to be real, and to be relevant is greater than ever. I set up a camera and record the painfully repetitive practice of trying to get it all to come out cohesively, organically, and on time. The process is working as a matter of course, but it never feels like it’s working as well as it should. I forget things, lose my train of thought, and I seem to make the same mistakes again and again. There’s something about trying to say it all in 17 minutes (the standard TedX time format), or less, that makes it so much harder for me. It’s kind of funny, but, honestly, it almost doesn’t even matter how much time I have allotted…I always run over.
I’ve been lucky. So far, when the moment finally arrives, I find myself in positive space, calm, confident, and prepared. Somehow, in that moment, I forget everything I’ve done to get here and it feels like the experience just happens. I relish these moments, the moment, when I’m inspired and get lost…Like my friend, editor, critic and coach says, “…at that point, when it really matters, in the moment, just be still, quiet down, and get out of your own way.”
I have recently spoken at the The Explorers Club Annual Meeting in NYC, TedX Reno at the Nevada Museum of Art, and TedX Youth at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park. All of these experiences have touched me; the speakers and their ideas have opened my eyes to obvious but surprising new perspectives and their incredible visions of new possibility. Their abilities to move me so deeply in such short moments in time again opens my world to the power of original, creative storytelling and the impact it has on all of us, now and for our future.
Someday I hope the butterflies become quieter sooner…And eventually fly away home.
On Sunday the festivities turned to the Explorers Club House on 70th St. The five story brownstone was filled with exploration banter from the morning’s Board elections to an afternoon of keynote speakers. The topics ranged from the Wounded Warriors ascent of Kilimanjaro to Arita Baaijens’ search for paradise in the mysterious kingdom of Shambhala hidden somewhere in the Altai Mountains of Asia. There was an incredible tech-driven digital photo presentation of Everest shot by David Breashears that shows what 4 billion pixels (477 photographs) can allow you to see. Then Les Guthman shared a preview of his newest project, a film on Saturn…Other worlds, so close in our vast universe unfolded onto the screen, stunned me with their brilliance and inspired profound thought.
Near the end of the day I got my chance to share the PUSH with the Explorers Club. My parents and my business partner, Lynn Gibson, sat in the front row to cheer me on. As I began to tell the tale of this incredible journey to the bottom of the world, I got out of my own way and the heart and soul of the moment filled the room.