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It is often remarked that there are two Hawaiis the one visited by the tourists, and the one known to those who make Hawaii their home. For the outsider, Hawaii is all too often beaches, swaying palms, hula girls; for many who come to visit the islands, 'Hawaii' means Waikiki and its justly famous beach. Each year millions of visitors come to these islands, seeking a few days of warmth, a sunny beach, escape; for many of these millions, reared in a world of seasons, cold, city, and removed from nature, Hawaii is an exotic land, a paradise dare I say it a kind of Disneyland, created just for them, for their relaxation; a place without a history, without a "real" people; an artifici- ality.
For the kamaaina, as Hawaii's residents are known, the islands' physical beauty is just one part of their appeal; of equal, if not greater, importance is the spirit that pervades life in the islands. It is not a quality easy to express in a few words, although more often that not it is encapsulated as 'the Aloha Spirit.' I came to see it as a gentleness in the approach to life, a generosity toward others.
This is primarily a photographic book, and of course it con- tains many pictures of the Hawaii which visitors come to see, for Hawaii is richly endowed with scenic beauty. But Hawaii is also much more: a chain of islands with a wealth of history and culture, a multi-racial society unlike any other within the United States, or perhaps the world . . ..
On my arrival in Hawaii two years ago I was as ignorant of this history and culture as are most malihini, as newcomers are known. I was not sure which island Honolulu was on; I was con- fused by the name of 'Hawaii' the island, and 'Hawaii' the islands; I did not know that Diamond Head is a crater, rather than a mountain ridge. The months I spent traveling the islands, photographing, interviewing, and researching were a journey, a journey in which I got to know this island State as well, per- haps, as an outsider could in a reasonably short length of time. The result is what you will see here.
Hawaiian World, Hawaiian Heart is my sixth in a series of photographic-essay books on various places, all with a similar theme. I explained that theme in an earlier work about Barbados, and I will use the same thought here, for I find that I can not improve upon it now: '. . . As with my previous books, this one is an attempt to capture the essence of a place and its people, primarily for the person who has had only a relatively brief time to spend there.
. . . ever since I first lived abroad, well over a decade ago, I have been aware of the particular perspective and fresh insight a foreigner's eye can provide in looking at a country. Like a child, a newcomer is blessed with the ignorance that can lead to curiosity; from curiosity, to investigation; and from investigation, to understanding. It is that somewhat childlike curiosity, illuminated by understanding, that I have always tried to bring to my portrayal of a country, and in that respect this book has much in common with its predecessors . . ..
It must be recognized that that special perspective does not come bias-free: an outsider necessarily carries with him a set of values shaped by his own culture. Even were it remotely possible, I would not attempt to define all those values, but I feel I should comment on one: coming as I do from a place where much is new, big, and impersonal, I am greatly captivated by those aspects of a country which are traditional, small and personal.'
Thus, the reader should not be surprised to see a considerable emphasis in this book on the people, culture, and history of Hawaii. While such a bias necessarily means slighting certain other aspects (there are relatively few photographs of Hawaii's beaches, for example), I hope that this deficiency will be understood and accepted--especially in view of the ample coverage given those aspects by already-existing books about the islands.
As I have said, I came to Hawaii with a great deal of igno- rance about the islands--sharing, perhaps, the limited perception about the State common to many new arrivals. In the course of my journey through Hawaii I began to grasp the fullness and complex- ity of its history and culture; it is my hope that this book will impart to the visitor a glimmer of that 'other' Hawaii, and that it may lead him to further exploration and understanding of the Hawaiians' world. Excerpt from the Foreword to Hawaiian World, Hawaiian Heart
Table of Contents
- A World Emerges
- Worlds Collide
- World Transformed
- Today's World
- Hawaiian Worlds:
- Worlds Collide
- Molokai and Lanai