You never exactly know how it is going to go with celebrities. Perhaps spending your life with people that never tell you no can have a warping effect. Thankfully this diva mentality was delightfully absent from Fred Armisen, of Portlandia fame. I can never decide if that show is funny or not and if audiences from Mid-Western states would want to hug me or shoot if we were ever to meet. Fred showed up as his alter ego, 70s-era punk rocker Ian Rubbish, for the shoot. At first I was afraid that he was going to talk in a British accent for the duration. In which case I’m afraid I would have had a hard time keeping it together, persistent giggles making it difficult to push the shutter. But no, though dressed as Ian, Fred played himself, a very sweet, laid back guy, who was game for whatever wacky things I could think of.
Back in May I got a call from Mandala Magazine requesting I photograph the Dalai Lama during his visit to Portland. My response was, “Dalai Who?” No, of course not. My response was pretty much the response I give when any amazing, awesome, and life altering assignment comes my way, which is, “That sounds cool. When do I start?”
My job was to photograph His Holiness, who for those in the know is referred to as HHDL, as he visited the Mandala offices and gave a talk after. He reminds me a bit of Yoda; incredibly wise, a bit cheeky, very curious, and incredibly fast. I basically felt like I was chasing him around the office, climbing on furniture and stalking him as he blessed things and people. He has such a way about him, full of joy and compassion, people are overwhelmed just to be in his presence. Plus, you’ve got to admire someone who laughs with their whole being. No wonder thousands turned out to hear him speak the next day.
Pretty stoked to see my photo grace the cover of the New York Times Science Section, even if I did get a C in Chemistry. Can you imagine flying in a glider? No engine, no fuel, just you and the wind currents to move you along.
Now imagine doing that at 90,000 feet, that’s 17 miles, in the air and basically kissing the ozone layer? The glider, the Perlan II will have a wingspan of 84 feet and weigh just 1,700 pounds, including the crew, and cost over $7.5 million.
Ok, now imagine doing it at 81 years old.
That’s the plan for Einar K. Enevoldson, a guy who has been flying gliders since 1947. And why not? What a way to go.
Willamette Week asked me to shoot not one, but two covers for their 2013 Bar Guide issue, and several billion bars around town (ok, I exaggerate…). Needless to say, it was a blurry week.
Victory Bar was the place to beat this year, christened Bar of the Year. I dig Victory, and their laid back, easy drinking feel, but runner up, Hale Pele has a special place in my heart (and the cover). Maybe it is the thunder, rain and smoke that randoms emits from the walls, or that fact that it is located in a strip mall next to a nail salon. However, if you are looking for a place to take your Dad (if your Dad had his Kerouac phase) then I recommend runner up #2, the Blue Diamond, where folks from age 22 to 72 can be found shaking what their momma gave ‘em.
The New York Times published our video today along with a front page photo. With the help of my awesome and amazing partner Christopher Onstott we told an inspiring story about the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, a 26-acre farm 90 miles east of Seattle WA, is home to 7 chimps that were all once used in biomedical research. One of the favorites is Jody, a 38 year female primarily used for breeding and hepatitis vaccine research research who now spends her days making nests. The National Institute of Health just announced that more than 300 of their 360 chimps would be retired to sanctuaries over the next few years, and that a very high bar be placed on approval of any future biomedical research. This announcement came on the heels of a proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Service to list all chimpanzees, including those in captivity, as endangered. Jennifer Whitaker, Executive Director of the sanctuary, and others in her generation, have been a big part of the surge of recent activism that prodded both the NIH and the Fish and Wildlife Service to make their changes. Inspired by Jane Goodall, Whitaker feels particularly connected to Jody, “looking into her eyes, and seeing them as the windows of her soul. I felt something really deep, something that connected me to her.” Thanks so much to the folks at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest for the tour.
So many people I have talked to rave about surfing the Oregon Coast. Not too crowded, nice waves, quaint little towns. All I can think about is the cold. Even dipping my toes in that icy water makes me dream about senior beach week in Ocean City, Maryland. But I digress.
I appear to be the only one who has those issues though, as the go-to-spot, Short Sands, is littered with very hip looking crowds, swathed in neoprene. And I was more than game when long time friend and writer Lucy Burningham told me she needed a picture taker for her very first adventure into the waves.
Oh, and did I mention the Wall Street Journal wanted to hear all about it? We grabbed Christopher to shoot video and our merry band of journalists headed West.
As typical of the coast, we were blessed with perpetually changing weather, but after a lesson with Lexie Hallahan of Northwest Women’s Surf Camps we witnessed Ms. Burningham ride her very first wave. Almost made me want to jump in. I said almost.
If you are feeling like you may want to take a dip and a trip yourself, read the article.
Lucy and I first worked together for Imbibe Magazine in Croatia, where we found ourselves racing around the country chasing down truffle hunters and infused liquors. If that doesn’t make for permanent bonding, I don’t know what does. Check out another one of our adventures involving sauerkraut here. And if you are someone who like to bike and drink beer (this perhaps maybe everyone I know), then be sure to grab Lucy’s fab book, Hop in the Saddle.
Mark Scott, professional skateboarder and owner of Dreamland Skateparks, stood still long enough (1/250th of a second) for me to take his picture. 1859 Magazine’s Into the Soul profile. Mark was a good sport, performing tricks for me over and over again, while still managing to keep a pencil tucked behind his ear. He also managed not to laugh outright as I slide up and down the sides of the skate park, trying not to kill myself with my lights. Was feeling rather proud of myself until I realized when I got home that I had sacrificed a sandbag to the skatepark gods of Lincoln City. D’oh.
Artist Chris Johanson posed at home for me, and the New York Times. Chris is low key but is making big waves with a monograph out this year on his work out from Phaidon. Such an interesting guy, sweet, quirky, with a knack for saying things unlike anyone I’d ever heard. Example. Instead of saying, “Should I smile?” he says, “I’m feeling happiness now, would you like me to show it?” Perfect.
His home was crammed with art (a man after my own) most of which he had swapped with his fellow countrymen, all of which had a story. Spent about 45 minutes with him and then an extra 30 with that cookie cutter, figuring out the best way to shoot the damn thing (note: kitchen background most successful). When I finished and am out the door, Chris peeks his head out of his front door and says, “You have a nice way about you. I had fun.”
Both Feature Shoot and Hunger.TV recently featured a profile of some work I did about AIDs in India. Done for my Master’s Project and supported by a Fulbright Grant, I lived in India for six months, documenting their epidemic and drinking heavily. It was a topic I feel fortunate to have brought to life, in however small a way, but it was often hard to sleep at night. And that’s probably enough about that, read the interview for more.
If you don’t know, Feature Shoot is a great place to see new and fresh work and if you ask, they will deliver it all quite tidily to your inbox everyday. HungerTV is this edgy British web site and magazine that had the brillant idea of combining Art & Culture, Fashion, Music, Film and most importantly, photography….but not just celeb or fashion photography. They have a whole section devoted to documentary work, which features not only upstarts like myself, but also Martin Parr, and Magnum photographer Rene Burri. Not a bad crowd to run with.
Pulled out all of the stops and all of the speed lights (well, all four) to light a portrait of Eleek co-owner Sattie Clark for Oregon Business Magazine.
Sattie was gracious and fun and Eleek is a pretty amazing green company and is considered a pioneer in the design and manufacture of energy-efficient lighting. While I was there the place was humming as they worked on a huge project to recreate lighting fixtures for Seattle’s 1906 King Street train station, based solely on historic photos. The monumental fixtures differ from the originals only in their durability and that LEDs are replacing gaslight. Eric Kaster, her hubby and co-owner took a brief moment from production to pose for a few pics as well.
Plus no toxic substances are used in manufacturing, and local scrap metal and other recycled materials are first choices, as well as products that come from sustainable businesses and from within a 50-mile radius, in order to help reduce their carbon footprint. I also found out that Eleek hires from the neighborhood, pays full benefits, offers flexible scheduling and pays bonuses to employees who walk, bike or bus to work.
All things that add up to an amazingly cool and progressive Portland business. Oh, and did I mention that Sattie and Eric met while both performing at Berbati’s Pan some years ago? Yep, I know. It’s like the perfect Portland love story.
A good friend of mine Mickey, who is the party planner guru at Saraveza in North Portland asked me to photograph their fabulous event space, Bad Habit, for their new website. My partner in crime, Christopher Onstott and I photographed the space empty and then again for an engagement party. And since we ended up falling in love with the place, stay tuned for our upcoming party there! Maybe we’ll put you on the list…
Back in January NPR asked me to drive up to Longview, Washington to photograph Maria Peyer, Mike Bixby and their family for a story about interfaith couples with the lovely print and radio journalist, Deena Prichep. They were such a wonderful and thoughtful family, makes you realize you don’t have to have the same type of relationship with God (or even one at all) to love and respect each other. (Listen to the story here)