How did you get access to photograph all this?
I think that because I was honest, followed the rules, and asked appropriate questions, Mapu eventually opened up. Every day Lynn was allowed to grant me a little more access. Each day another barrier came down – especially as they all began to understand the story I was trying to tell.
What were some of the other surprises?
Well, the big wake up that Hawaii is very much its own nation. The island locals are embracing their culture and traditional ways more than ever, and this event reflects that movement. It’s beautiful. People come from all over the world. Hotels sell out. The event is a big deal. It even employs the island’s local motorcycle club (KOA) for security. They wore leather jackets. They had tattoos. It was quite a contrast to see all these girls and their flowery dresses next to these hardcore security guards, who were actually quite nice.