Linda Ching captures the beauty and tradition of Waimea in "Waimea: A Big Island Treasure." Above, a fashionable cowgirl jazzes it up with pink rhinestones.
The Aloha Festivals theme revives a volume on the paniolo
Photographer Linda Ching's book "Waimea, A Big Island Treasure" is enjoying a second life, thanks to Aloha Festivals, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary by honoring the Hawaiian paniolo. "I had finished the book, gotten it out in a limited-edition run last year, and I was very happy with it. I thought that was that, so I was nicely surprised when I heard Aloha Festivals was honoring the paniolo and wanted to use one of my photos."
Her photograph of a statue of renowned paniolo Ikua Purdy was selected to grace Aloha Festivals programs, and her book is being released to the general public for the first time in softcover.
"Waimea, A Big Island Treasure"
Author: Linda Ching
Publisher: Hawaiian Goddesses
Details: Softcover, 111 pages
» Sept. 12: Outrigger Reef on the Beach, 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.
» Sept. 14: Outrigger Waikiki On the Beach, 3 to 5 p.m.
» Sept. 15: Macy's Ala Moana, noon to 3 p.m., Island Home department
» Sept. 23: Parker Ranch Store, Parker Ranch Center, Waimea, 2 to 4 p.m.
The book started as a labor of love.
"I had been to Waimea many times and had even thought of moving there," Ching said. "I knew the area well, but I had never been to the rodeo.
"As a city girl, I always thought of paniolo culture as a thing of the past, something that needed protection, that needed to be preserved, but when I saw the kids, I saw that it is a culture that is very much alive. Everything became really clear to me.
"I photographed the kids over the weekend, and I fell in love with them, and I wanted to get the collection out. I wanted people to see those pictures."
The resulting work, also showing the grounds and interiors of Parker Ranch with a history written by Lynn Cook, marked a departure from Ching's previous books. Titles such as "Story of the Stone" and "Hawaiian Goddesses" called for costuming and casting, all the production values of a feature film in bringing to life the myths and legends of Hawaii and China.
This time, she wanted to capture the young paniolo in their natural element.
"Some of the kids start riding as 1-year-olds being carried by their parents, almost before they can walk, so they're fearless. That's the spirit of Waimea."
Like her other book projects, she said, "I don't seem to pick them. I went there with a different purpose in mind, to shoot for my stock library, and it just grabbed me."
Paniolo kids keep the tradition alive in Waimea on the Big Island.
The peaceful green setting of a Kamuela pasture.
A cowgirl who means business.
Cows complete a picturesque scene at sunset.