When I heard our editor Anthony Pignataro rambling on about the Maui Island Plan, I tried to boil the idea down to something simpler and stupider that I could express with one picture for the cover. Images of cityscapes rising higher then Haleakala, beaches buried under cement and coastal water thick with the byproducts of urban decay filled my mind like some apocalyptic Planet of the Apes fanboy.
Then I took a breath and tried to find a friendlier way to say that the story is about us trying to turn Maui into what we want it to be. I pictured kids building a sand castle kingdom out of lava dust, sea shells and coral bones.
Then I took my son to Airport Beach in Kaanapali and made a four-story building out of sand. As I was taking pictures of it, some snorkling tourist walked right into frame and stood there as though I’d asked her to model. My son waited patiently out of frame until I said “Go for it!” Then he demolished my little building within seconds. After he had leveled everything out, he stuck the flag back in the sand as if to say, “Don’t worry, it’s still here in spirit.”
Your friendly neighborhood art director,