Sunday, April 21, 2013

R.I.P. Ruby

Ruby & Lissa Margetts for National Geographic Magazine 1997
Melissa Margetts & Ruby

In 1996-97 I worked with Lissa and Ruby in Telluride Colorado.
Ruby was a cat she worked with to teach people about Mt Lion safety.
We spent a few days learning about Ruby and it was my privilege to have time to do so.
This was not an ordinary job for me.  It was a large assignment from the Director of NGS; Thomas Kennedy.  I was to tell a story about all cats and little did I know that the images I was about to take would have a twist of fate for either me or Ruby.
I had an editor that pushed both Lissa and me into taking pictures that would render domestication of large cats...encourage normal folks to acquire what seemed to be a cute cuddly cat, when in fact it is a large predator that can take a human down in one swipe.
Women in general are less afraid of cats.  I went in to her pen fearless, my assistant a male stood way back.  I have always been open to animals more so than people.
Lissa was there so maybe that was my licence to wander.
In the coarse of a few days we took many images during typical snow stormy weather.
The shot we took of Lissa and Ruby inside was one hanging out like a small domestic cat by the fire.  Not a normal site but an image like this can make a huge statement to the public. 
 Hindsight is everything right?
Again speculation but predictable.
Well I took many photographs that could say to the viewer...hey go domesticate a wild animal.  
Still I  regretted it.
Lissa was promised to have final say!
As I viewed the walls at NGS I asked my editor if she got permission from Lissa to use that shot!  Puzzled she said no!  This was not a comfortable moment for me.  It was the very moment that buried my career with NGS alive.
I was now the bad guy for taking that image.
I contacted the powers that be and Lissa. 
She did not want it to go in the magazine.
It was pulled for I had to honor her and it was not a good moment for the editor or myself.
DON'T take images that can render harm to the subjects.
DON'T get talked into it and DON'T talk them into it either.
Today Lissa recalled that memory and sent this story.
I honored her and the future of cats best I could.
The cost was any future work with that regime at NGS.
Many photographers internally reached out to me and stating how horrible it was that I was scape coated.   It took some time to recover from that project.
I did the right thing end of day and maybe in time I can get back in the door there to do good works.  I hope so.  I could sure use a big break to work on more substantial stories globally.  My eyes are still strong and my heart yearns to make a difference.
Lissa, sorry for your loss, Ruby had a great home. 
Today I am reminded that I was inspired to tattoo Ruby upon my back in the tarot cared of strength.
Life is so precious and I have never looked at wild animals in captivity the same.
I am not a fan of zoos at all.  Humans have a way of putting their essence on everything.
Wild creatures need our concern and support.
Were all connected.
Now Lissa moves on to work with lions in Africa.
As journalist it is important to tell the real story.
It's also important to realize the results that it can inspire good and bad.
Wild animals as house pets is just a bad idea in general.
The what if's are so possible and you can easily be the cause of one getting put to death.
Just say no.
The responsibility is HUGE. 
Like a marriage forever and ever and we know how that story often shadows fate!   
Everyone and everything is connected.
I posted about The Cove and Lissa writes to me.
So small this world and to take you time and do something really worth while can render a better life for all.
Thank you for that experience.
R.I.P. Ruby
(link above a great read)

Friday, April 19, 2013


photo by karen kuehn

I met Louie in 1986. He was working a lot for National Geographic. He was doing the most creative work for the magazine.  I loved his mind and how he processed ideas.  The photography was always a technical solution.  The ideas were personal and sensible.
I liked his mind it was expanse.  So I had to meet him and I did.
We always had a light friendship, supportive and sweet.
I could identify with all the concepting he brought to the final picture.
For this my respect grew and in time he and his family left NYC.
Our worlds far apart.
2008, years later I decide I want to do something to save the Dolphins in Japan.
  I contacted a director; Garry Basin who works in Japan and the US. Felt he would be a good source to help me with this project.
   He said their was a guy doing this already.  His name was Louie Pysihoyos.  Damit.  I can' t out Louie...Louie.
I have to admit I was so happy to know it was him.  Who better to tell the story.
I followed it on line and felt the world would be a better place for his efforts.
He was on a mission.  Soon the movie; The Cove would be public.
Winning an Academy award and they he was changing the world before my eyes.
Shot from my TV The Cove Winning.
These sorts of things are huge and I am awe struck by his gifts and ability to do the things big.  
He doesn't mess around and I love that kind of thinking.
I had not seen Louie since he left NYC
Well this weekend I was near his home and called to connect.
It was great to see him and Viki, even thou brief.
Louie hooked me and my pal Tess up with copies of the COVE.
I watched it again and sobbed again!
Movies like this should make you out raged for sure.
Why?  So you can become the solution to help out and better align the world for its own good. 
 After watching it I dreamed in red and I could see blood and I imagined Japanese and Norway children bathed in it. do you make the humans feel more.
Put them in the place of the abused being.
Dolphins in this case.
I could imagine the art of Julian Schnabel; large red canvas.
Louies movie is for me of such value to push me to make a difference.
I am feeling that we all can help.
Do what you do and make it count.
Little or large any bit helps.
Louie has some links on his website so you can write to Japan and help stop the remaining murdering of mammals.
  It is a brutality I wouldn't wish on any creature.
Here's some of his links. Be inspired to be the change you want to see and feel.
Think big care about the PLANET & THE CREATURES...we are all connected.
He's making a new film right now and it will be equally as important.
And need I mention he's one hell of a photographer.
Thanks Louie you always inspire me to be better.

xoxo kk