May 19, 2012 marked the first ever ASMP Portland Squared event. Forty-nine Oregon photographers documented one square mile in Portland, the epicenter being the Willamette River and the Burnside Bridge. I first came up with the idea when I was drunk at an ASMP holiday party. ASMP stands for the American Society of Media Photographers, basically a professional organization of photographers with the goal of advocacy, education, community, and beer drinking (ok I added the last one).
I join the Board of ASMP Oregon last year when they were in dire need of vaginas, ahem, women, to be on it. ASMP Oregon does a great job of getting amazing speakers to their events (though I am requesting a moratorium on baby photos, I don’t care how famous you are). However, being the touchy-feely kind of girl I am, I wanted an event that was a little more community oriented. One where I get to look at, admire and be jealous of pictures taken by my peers, rather than spending hours in front of the computer in my leopard print robe, like I normally do.
Since I knew I would be crazy the day of the event, and wouldn’t have much time to shoot, I decided to portraits and go with a theme. Around 3am the night before, stumbling home from another assignment, I had a flash of inspiration (I always have my best ideas when sleep deprived)….mustaches! Who doesn’t love a mustache? And since one of the categories for the event was Portlandia, I thought it was perfect. This town is filled to the brim with mustaches, and those that don’t have them, I’ll give them one or will make one. And viola, art is born.
I spent the day wandering around and attacking people who either had facial hair or who looked damn cool. I got turn down only once, God bless this wacky town where people are up for anything, including wierdos asking them to to pose with green mustaches. I shot the whole thing with my trusty 50mm 1.4 which allows/makes me get in all nice and tight to my subject. One guy even said to me, “Uh, I didn’t realize you’d be so close…” as he pressed closer to the wall.
Thanks to all the good sports who took part in the project and thanks to all the fab shooters who took part in the inaugural experiment that was PDXSQ. Good thing the body forgets pain or there would be no chance of a 2013 version. Not that it wasn’t an amazing event, but man, organizing those things is work, and I’ve already got a full time job that doesn’t pay much.
You can see all the winners and read more about the event here plus, you can read another article about it in The Portland Tribune. Ken Hawkins put together an amazing video that summed up the day so well, that really you should just go there now. Really, right now. Oh, and here I am below with a little mustache action myself.