Shawn Kahoʻolemana Naone is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and Leeward Community College (Hālau ʻIke O Puʻuloa.) He is currently studying Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is considering social work or teaching.
A photographer for several years, Kahoʻolemana says he tries not to hide behind the camera. Completely self-taught through trial and error, his photographs have been described as “arresting” and “soulful” (Fox Native Voices Project) for their distinct Hawaiian world view.
Kahoʻolemana explains that the word “kiʻi” means image or photograph. But it also means to take, and so he tries to take a photo without taking, to live in the moment. He takes his Canon everywhere with him and has become well-known for his portraits and wedding photography. “Iʻm not business-minded,” he says. “Iʻm just a guy with a camera, sharing the ʻike (knowledge.)” His wife, Hoku, takes care of the business aspects, and his year-old twin daughters keep him grounded.
As a Hawaiian activist and scholar, Kahoʻolemanaʻs philosophy is a simple one: Activism is the rent we pay for living on this planet. He encourages others who want to make art this way:
Mai hilahila – donʻt be shame. Thereʻs so much beauty out there.
Pūpū A ʻO ʻEwa is proud to feature the photographs and manaʻo of Kahoʻolemana Naone, including Moku O Keawe, Ka Pō, Hula: the Heartbeat of the Hawaiian People, Olowalu: the Power of Many Voices, Makawalu, Naue i Ke Aloha ʻAina, and Maui Lassos the Sun.
Credits: All photos courtesy of Kahoʻolemana Naone.