Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ke Aloha Photography: Not Like Anywhere Else...

'This isn't my job but I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to create great photographs and work with these models. I hope to continue for a long time giving memories of what they look like at the peak of their competition prep to these hard working athletes.'

Prior to the world going digital, for those of us who are not professional photographers, memories were at the core of why most of us took pictures. I remember to save money, my parents didn't take our photos into camera stores to be developed, they packed them into envelopes, sending them away to be devolved. Sometimes it was months, even longer between an event, and the captured memories returning in the mail.

Getting that package was always special though, we ripped it open and devoured the visuals. I remember that as much as I loved seeing images of places and events I was a part of, I equally loved seeing visuals of things I was not. My parents used to travel, one trip abroad once a year. We were always left with our cranky aunt who always seemed tortured by my siblings and I, even when we were well behaved. One of my parents trips was to Hawaii, and opening that envelope, and going through those images, especially on a cold and snowy winter's day was something I will always remember.

Those images, on that cold day in the mid eighties, began my love affair with Hawaii. I had seen a place so beautiful, a location so perfectly blending the beautifully rugged with elegance. I have not been there yet, except of course through images and dreams. I have often featured the work of artists from the area, including a day devoted to the State back in 2011. (HERE:) There is often a deep connection between artists and the area in which they live, but I think no more so than artists who work in Hawaii. It seems almost impossible to me to work there without blending the land, sea and sky that is so much apart of the passion of so many who live there. Peter from Ke Aloha Photography is certainly one of those artists, and one of those people.

'I am originally from Cape Cod and as white as you can get. I came to Hawaii for vacation in 1991 after college because my college roommate was from Hawaii and fell in love with the people here so I ended up staying permanently. Hawaii is such a unique place. White people are about 20% of the population, its not like anywhere else in the US. I decided to stay and make a life in Hawaii and have never looked back.'

Peter got serious about his photography about 5 years ago. Although not a bodybuilder, he has always worked out regularly and spent time at the gym. Peter's old roommate was Korean-American and he competed in bodybuilding competitions and introduced Peter to a lot of people who were passionate about the sport. 'He now lives in LA but I still have a lot of contacts in the fitness industry in Hawaii. Honolulu is a big city but still a really small town. Its mostly about who you know and getting introduced through mutual friends. My husband (who I've been with for 16 years) is Native Hawaiian and that helps me with my networking.'

When he began shooting fitness models, Peter had a particular interest in ethnically diverse bodybuilders because he found them to have a beautifully unique look. 'I regularly peruse sites like FH, but rarely see the type of guys I see on a daily basis in the gyms, streets and beaches of Hawaii.' So... Peter used the networking he had done and began approaching potential models, almost all of whom had never had a professional photo shoot before.

Peter often meets potential models at bodybuilding and physique competitions. Because most are looking for images for a future competition, many want to wait until their body is in peek condition for a future competition meaning Peter often has to wait months or longer, between finding a model and them being ready to be captured. Peter shares that he often has to talk them into taking risk as he finds local Hawaiian men to be very humble, hesitatnt to put themselves out there. Most however, are happy they did once seeing the results.


It was not through a competition that connected Peter with Jared. He was a personal trainer at a private gym Peter works out at and was looking for a photographer as he prepared for his first physique competition. Peter approached him and he instantly said yes, without having seen, or knowing much about Peter's work. He had never shot before, but Peter says he was a great sport about it. Jared's boyfriend came along and agreed to act as Peter's lighting assistant and with he great eye for photography, has been a regular help on my of Peter's shoot since.

'Jared had brought board shorts to the beach but they looked baggy even though they were a size 30. I said why don't you just wear your underwear and he said OK, and went for it, right on the public beach in Waikiki. I think it was a very successful shoot and he has used many of the pictures as profile pics on Facebook.'


'Chance is one of the most passionate bodybuilders I've ever met. We started communicating after I shot some stage pictures of him in 2014. The pictures in this set were taken on Maui where he lives one week before he went to California to compete in a bodybuilding competition at which he won the lightweight open division. He's such a sincerely nice guy and just wanted to try his best at his first photo shoot. I thought it was funny, I asked him if he could bring a friend to act as my lighting assistant and he brought his Dad. He's dedicated to his dream of becoming a NPC pro bodybuilder and he wants more opportunities to shoot in the future.'

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