Talking Story with Dana Edmunds
Dana Edmunds is one-of-a-kind. His vision has brought life to the Maui Jim brand for years now as he’s done all of our catalog and on-model photography. Through his lens, he’s been able to capture the essence of the lifestyle that Maui Jim represents. A lifestyle that encompasses freedom, luxury, adventure, and joy.
Dana takes you right into the natural beauty of Hawaii without you ever having to step on a boat or plane because of a natural ability capture the spirit of “living aloha.” We had a chance to talk story with him recently, which gave us the insight we’re able to share with you below.
We’ve written about living with aloha before, and one of the main tenets of such a lifestyle is appreciating “ohana”, or family. Edmunds’ work exemplifies this. In every shot you can see natural joy, love, and appreciation. A good example is the shot above showing a group of friends (ohana doesn’t just encompass blood family) enjoying themselves on a beach, appreciating nature.
Here’s another example of his ability to take dynamic action and turn it into a still snapshot full of life, which is exactly the sort of imagery that sets Maui Jim apart and shows his attunement and ability to give a loud voice to a single frame.
Dana Edmunds is a perfect example of someone living with aloha because he embraces the natural rhythm of life. He sees color and captures it with every shot, and allows people to live vicariously through his subjects as they enjoy nature, action, and the bright beauty of life on the island. We, and everyone at Maui Jim, are proud to be able to continue working with him now and into the future.
First things first: how long have you lived in Hawaii?
I first moved to Maui right out of high school. I went there in 1973. I went to go surfing for a couple weeks and a couple weeks turned out to be… well, I’m still here.
How would you describe Hawaii to someone that doesn’t live there?
Well, other than the obvious scenic beauty that we certainly have, there’s a relaxed attitude that people in Hawaii have. People in Hawaii are friendly and that’s where the Aloha spirit comes through. I live in a really beautiful place, people come here from all over the world, but the real draw is the community. When I started working for Maui Jim, I remember talking to one of the marketing fellows and he was telling me about their philosophies was to always do the right thing. I think that attitude is what Hawaii is all about.
How has Hawaii influenced your work and life?
Even though I didn’t grow up in Hawaii, what I’ve learned from living here is that the word Aloha and respect are almost interchangeable. I’ve done my best to respect the a’ina (the land) the ocean and the Hawaiian culture. I’ve been fortunate to do what I love and lucky to have traveled to some incredible places….
When you shoot for Maui Jim, what’s your process?
It’s partially innate due to my experience and my history with the company and it’s part coming up with new approaches and new ways to shoot people and places. I have to think about their products – which are the best sunglasses ever – and their vibe, which is very Maui, and then figure out how to combine those two in a way that is fresh. Especially in the social media age, you have to stay on your toes and work your hardest to challenge yourself and find the inspiration that lets you do something new.
We have to ask: what’s your favorite pair of Maui Jim sunglasses?
I’m lucky because I get to check them all out and try them on, but my definite go-tos are the Ho’okipa frames. I live right near Ho’okipa beach park where I got my start so it’s a special name to me, but additionally I love the style and how light they are. I’m a big fan of the bronze and grey lenses since I have to drive over the hill from Oahu to Honolulu for work a lot and when it gets cloudy on that drive they still keep everything bright and nice.
Dana Edmunds is a perfect example of someone living aloha because he embraces the natural rhythm of life. He sees color and captures it with every shot, and allows people to live vicariously through his subjects as they enjoy nature, action, and the bright beauty of life on the island. We, and everyone at Maui Jim, are proud to call him one of our brand ambassadors.
With so many great stories to tell, we hope to share more in the future…