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California Dreamin’

Mar 03, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Two photojournalists will visit, photograph, and exhaustively document the idea, reality, and dream that is California–past, present and future. Armed with a car, two pc’s and cameras, plus assorted photographic paraphernalia, we’ll take our burning passion and share our visual, written, artistic, and emotional connection–and interpretation–of California.

California is one of the top international destinations in the world, with approximately 5.2 million visitors in 2007. To complete our Dream Job, our mission, will be to visit and document—in writing and photos—between 100 – 200 destinations from which we’ll have completed a body of work— a myriad of perspectives for everyone from around the world, entitled California Dreamin’.


Measured in trade and output, California is the 8th largest “nation” in the world. Its economic value aside, the foremost reason that makes California one of the premier areas of the world is partly because of both its temperate climate and physical beauty—land, ocean, lakes, mountains, gardens, 458 cities, deserts, vineyards, spas, nightlife, campgrounds, and historical heritage; and its profound cultural esthetic, impact, and variety– social, ethnic, economic, cinematic, anthropological, artistic, and architectural. This physical and cultural beauty coupled with its restless people and the “Goin’ West” endless imagination, vitality, invincibility, and sense of conquering, have all provided the powerful elixir that has made California a larger than life place, dream, and ethos, that has placed its people and its name firmly in history, as one of the most attention-grabbing places in the world.


California encompasses a huge variety of American life within its borders. Indeed, the cultural and economic lifestyles of more than 38 million residents vary enormously from city to city, area to area, and neighborhood to neighborhood.

Pivotal Places, Things, Industries, and Facts

California, perhaps more than any other place on earth, is preceded by its reputation. If its soul is superficial, flighty, and playful—California is indeed the entertainment and new technology capital of the world. It’s a metropolis teeming with sunny beaches, opulent mansions, hundreds of miles of seashore; sheering mountains, vast lakes, epicurean wine and food production, eco friendly vineyards and farmers markets, world famous restaurants, and such internationally recognized metropolitan cities as San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Indeed it’s a place without a geographic “central” heart but a place with guts and glory combined with a lot of soul and energy.

Gettin’ Around

Within hours, you can travel to–and be transfixed by the beauty of—San Francisco’s hills, architecture, and Golden Gate Bridge, to the picturesque ocean town of Monterey, to the new and world renowned restaurants and vineyards of Sonoma County, to the heart of “Tinseltown” Hollywood—which is more of an idea than a place, to the home of the rich and famous–Beverly Hills, to south toward the glitzy and new Orange County, and further down to the gorgeous, world’s smallest big town, and self-proclaimed title of America’s “Most beautiful City”—San Diego. The mountains of Mammoth , Big Bear, and the grandeur of the giant Sequoia Redwood are just hours apart from desert oases of Palm Desert and Palm Springs which provide an opportunity to get out of the city to get away from it all.

Urban and Ethnic Enclaves

Of course, you can opt for the “global” by touring and enjoying all of California’s enormous ethnic landscapes. Spanning the entirety of the Golden State, it includes immigrants and the communities they’ve created from Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Little Ethiopia, Little Saigon, Watts, Little Persia, the Armenian areas of Glendale, the U.S.-Mexican border town of San Ysidro, to name but a few. In most of California’s cities, there are more than a few enclaves with their distinctive cultures intact and thriving.

Why Now, Why this Assignment?

Without a doubt, we are a state in flux, with enormous challenges, problems, hopes and fears.

What is “change” if nobody knows what’s going on? Such as California’s new initiatives for climate change, affordable housing, new bike paths, the homeless, our kids; and those things that are for us, by us and for ourselves—vox populi–a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people.

The Purpose of “Our Dream Job”

California Dreamin’ is our passion, our life, and our work—this is our world, and the life that we choose to spend and live here. And to be frank, we wouldn’t have it in any other way or live anywhere else.

It would not only be our lifelong dream come true,-to be sponsored for this photographic dream assignment, it would also serve as a permanent and timeless reminder of what’s happening “right here right now.”

The idea of our urban communities as something to be regarded as solid and fixed is misleading. They are continually being refined, as is our “open spaces” and “natural wonders” by Californians who live here, to suit their particular needs, preoccupations, desires, and wants.

Cities and Industries in Flux

Also, the public realm of cities is no longer only defined as institutions such as the church, the legislature, the market or the agora, but can and often is the restaurant, the bar, the coffee shop, and the concert or music venue. Traditional locations need no longer apply anywhere in the world—the choices of communications and traditional structures have changed. For many, the Internet, a computer, a book, a DVD, and a house, is more than enough—it’s from there that the gem of an idea that springs forth and from that emerges captains of industry, finance, and arts and science.

And in the alternatives now being formed—the car versus the metro and “going green,” old communication and travel versus renewable energy, the Internet and mobile technologies, the digital revolution verses traditional industries, the new and evolving set of standards to conduct ourselves, our careers, and our lives, all are affecting the areas and people here.

Our collective “fortune” lies in both exterior and internal beauty–old and new, real and imagined, city and rural, northern and southern, lake and river, business and culture.

California’s Place in the Sun

Los Angeles is a leading cosmopolitan city in the world, one of the 5 or 6 great cities that can claim that distinction which includes London, Tokyo, Paris, and New York.

With its art galleries and museums, emerging new media and interactive publishing industry niches, music production and distribution, finance, fashion district, medical and biotechnology research and development, leadership, law schools, world class universities, ports of call and commerce, its restaurants, night life, moviemaking, wineries, and fun, California has emerged and evolved as the destination of many from around the world—from the “jet set” to the “migrant farm worker,” to the bright eyed and bushy tailed young women and men from the Mid-West and East determined to be a movie star or entertainment mogul.

California’s Agriculture and Farming

Agriculture is a major industry for the Golden State. With 88,000 farms and ranches, California agriculture is nearly a $36.6 billion dollar industry that generates $100 billion in related economic activity. This enormous achievement is possible through a combination of tradition and innovation that has secured California’s status as the most productive agricultural state for more than 50 years.

Land of Ideas and Innovation

California is the place of ideas and remains so as we expect that the innovations surrounding the 21st century will start and stop with us: we’re the vast acid test of ideas and people who will help to mold, shape and define our futures for us and generations to come afterward. As the saying goes, “So goes California, so goes the Nation.”

What’s the next new new new thing from Silicon Valley?

Enthusiasm & Passion

We’ll travel with our eyes to the front, wind at our backs, and feet to the ground, to find the beauty in the good and not so good–that we know. We can barely hide our enthusiasm and excitement, as we exude our strength and ability to deftly perform our “Dream Job.”

Documenting the Golden State

We want to show it “like it is” and what and how our citizens in various situations are coping. That defines who and what we are and what we can document—as a place is nothing without its people. Our people, our kids, are our dreams, and California Dreamin’ is to photograph and write about how and what we’re doing to compete in the 21st century.

The Ends Justify the Means

Our goal is simple; to show and share the beautiful in everything, celebrate a sense of joie de vivre, and as a boy to his dog, a woman to man, a person to a higher power, the idea that the city and state is a work of art is deeply ingrained into the design and psyche of people in the west—where California has been the “laboratory of ideas” and of all things “new and beautiful.”

Bringing in the New, Celebrating the Old

The Golden State is as much about selfishness and fear as it is about community and civic life, physical and urban beauty and decay, business, commerce, science, art and architecture, open space and urban sprawl, the renewable and clean industry and the crumbling oil based energy sector with its depleting power grids and aging infrastructure, going eco and pollution that continues unchecked, the new information highway and the old way of manually doing things, and the new transportation systems and rapid transit in battle with the automobile and petroleum economy and institutions of old.


From the cherished halls of education and medicine to the inner city and to the less fortunate; from the working man to the rich and famous, from the policeman to the teacher, from the businessman to the local farmer, from northern Eureka to southern San Diego, we’re in this together.


We have it all–our desire is to dream, and to do. With your help we want to make our passion yours by:

California Dreamin’

Dream the dream with us by voting for us. It only takes a few minutes to register. Thank you for your support!!

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13 Responses to “California Dreamin’”

  1. David says:

    Lisa, your thoughtful and well thought out story about how you would document California for your Dream Job, was nothing short of inspiring. You’re a gifted artist and wordsmith with a deep understanding of the importance of showing us both how the mixture of art imitates nature, and the way things are.

    Kudos and good luck.


  2. LisaNewton says:

    @David Thank you for your support. I have a dream, and I’m working to get to where I want to go.


  3. Lisa's Chaos says:

    Cool! Sounds like great fun! Kinda funny, just yesterday I told my husband that I want to start a series for Sundays and call it my Sunday Drive Series and highlight someplace I’ve been in that week. :) Funny!

    You taught me quite a bit about CA that I did not know. I’ve only been to 29 Palms. :)

    Lisa’s Chaos’s last blog post..The Rocking Chair Room


  4. LisaNewton says:

    @Lisa I think it will be lots of fun. If you’d like to help, please take a few minutes and vote for us. There’s a link at the top of the homepage…………..:)


  5. Diane C. says:

    Hi Lisa, I voted for your dream assignment, California Dreamin’ because I feel you’ll do a fabulous job based on your passion, experience and talents. Good luck!

    Diane C.’s last blog post..Cottontails in the Canyon


  6. Lance says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Wow! California Dreamin’ – how cool this project sounds! You’ve got my vote Lisa, you’re awesome with a camera – and the words you put to your photos! Dream big! I think you are, my friend!!

    Lance’s last blog post..Lessons From The Mountain


  7. LisaNewton says:

    @Diane C. Thank you for voting for California Dreamin’ and the nice words.

    @Lance Thanks for your vote, and it’s funny you mention “Dream big.” That’s exactly what my key chain says.


  8. Mark Salinas says:

    Absolutely amazing! Do you realize that during my next visit to California I will have a much deeper level of appreciation thanks to you! Wonderful post!


  9. LisaNewton says:

    @Mark I’m happy you liked the post, and hey, what can I say, I love CA……………..:)


  10. 7 Ways to Check … Is Blogging Your Dream? - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas … You’re only a stranger once. says:

    [...] looked at it, and of course — California Dreamin’ was my submission. I entered the contest, aware that I don’t yet know as many people online as I [...]

  11. Henie says:

    You definitely have my vote, Lisa! Is this where I vote?


  12. LisaNewton says:

    @ Henie Thank you so much.


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