Spent the day playing with vials, beakers and all things science for our Cover Shoot for EdTech Magazine with 2013 National Teacher of the year, Jeffrey Charbonneau. The Science and Engineering teacher graces the halls of Zillah High School, the very same school he graduated from. Talk about your high school flashbacks. At least he knows all the good make out spots. Seriously though, as we roamed the halls with Jeff, he got a greeting or a hug from almost every student we passed. Coming from a family of teachers, I know they don’t always get their due. Glad in the case of Jeffrey, someone noticed.
Last fall Christopher Onstott, Jan Sonnenmair and I all banded together to shoot a little NW soccer action for the New York Times Travel Section. Those Timbers Fans are not messing around. Many of them slept in line overnight to be the first ones in the stands. Not to mentions the costumes, the Timbers Army, the green smoke and those ubiquitous scarves. In some ways the fans are way more interesting to watch than the soccer itself (and way more fun to photograph). The game we shot they ended up beating the Sounders 1 to 0, which means the green smoke was flying. In a city with not a ton of professional sports options (and the Blazers will break our hearts every time) and not a ton of what I would call your typical sports fan, it is so amazing to see Portland rally around soccer.
Love the bounty of good eating that is Portland. Roe, Catagna, Ava Gene’s are all vying for most buzz in the city these days (case in point, I have photographed all of them at least twice). But there are a plethora of others out there for those of us that hate waiting in line. So many choices in fact that it is nice that Willamette Week’s Restaurant Guide helps narrow things down (or maybe simply make you aware of all the possibilities). Now go forth and chew.
With just 10 stools and a rented kitchen, Will Preisch presents a pop-up vision of high-end eating: casual, personal, and thrilling. Want to make it to one of these amazing feasts? Called holdfast dinners, Will describes them as such, “holdfast is a “pop-up” restaurant operating out of kitchencru, a commissary kitchen and culinary incubator in nw portland. holdfast is a refined dining concept – not refinement in the sense of luxury – just pared down to what we consider to be the essentials of a wonderful meal; great food and drink, with excellent and unobtrusive service in a casual atmosphere. this is our opportunity to cook and feed people outside of the trappings of a traditional restaurant. clean. thoughtful. primitive. modern.” Looked pretty delightful to me, and Portland Monthly.
Spend a rainy day a few months back chasing down steelhead in the Deschutes River. My partners were fly fishing devotees, Chris Santella, author of 50 Places to Fly Fish Before you Die (guess I can cross one of them off my list) and environmental lawyer Dave Moskowitz, the Executive Director for the Deschutes River Alliance. These gentlemen spend 40 to 50 days on the river each season, knee deep in the rushing water, waiting for the fish to get irritated enough to make their move. For steelhead rarely feed once they are in the river, rather they seem to take a fly as an act of aggression. Even if they are present where you are fishing, they have to be in the mood (presumably, a bad mood) to bite. For these reasons days will sometimes pass with not a single acknowledgement of even their presence, making their elusivity all the more attractive to those that seek a challenge. This was much of the case on our day in the water, broken up by beer and a variety of fish tales from both men. As the sky grew dark, and I grew cold, Chris got the solitary respite of the day, a sharp tug on his line. He lifted his rod, exactly the wrong thing to do, and the fish was gone, never even seen. As we headed home, both men planned their next trip out. For myself, thwarted from even a single glimpse during an assignment where that was the only goal, I declined, and tried not to curse the fish. You can read the full story of our adventures, here in the New York Times.
Spent four gray days in Grand Coulee waiting for the clouds to part. If you are a lover of dams and amazing feats of concrete, then I highly recommend the trip. However, I would say go in summer, when the place might actually be open and they put on (or so I was told, having not seen it myself) a laser light show! I got the call around early November and so saw mostly rain and shops that said ‘closed.’ The story was for the New York Times travel section, all about Wood Guthrie. At the time I didn’t realize that his Columbia River Collection, which contains many of his most well known tunes, including ‘Grand Coulee Dam,’ was actually commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration as propaganda! So he and I were both creative types working for the man when we made the trip to the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’ Him to write songs and me to document the town and his memory, immortalized in a rather off putting statue.
Cruised the town, making friends and crashing pancake breakfasts and finally, on the fourth day, the clouds parted and the light got nice and somewhere, Woody Guthrie chuckled a bit at both of us.
Did a fascinating and crazy story awhile back for the Wall Street Journal about the Oregon Zoo. In seems the zoo anesthetizes its tigers every few years to do check ups. Well someone had the idea to add a bunch of visually impaired children to this scenario. I can just imagine the conversation where someone pitches this idea. But somebody pitched and somebody agreed and the result was both amazing and surreal. Swarms of people touching the paws, whiskers, even the tongue, of a 235-pound Siberian named Nikki. Meanwhile the big cat is being shaved, having blood drawn, getting its temperature taken (and yes, you are correct about where the thermometer was placed). Really a once in a lifetime experience not only for the children, but for myself. Oh, and the tiger.
A funny sort of twist of fate that I ended up on two section fronts for the Sunday New York Times last week. One was the Travel Cover, which ran a story I shot last year about backcountry skiing in Oregon. This involved me learning to backcountry on the job, while attempting not to kill my cameras (this is a mission I failed). Huge thanks to Three Sisters Backcountry for ensuring I didn’t die.
Two very different projects, both ones that pushed me as a photographer. Which is what I love about working for The Grey Lady. Plus, I’m not gonna lie, seeing your pictures printed huge is kinda cool too.
Just love working for Education Week, maybe because I come from a family of educators? I can only imagine keeping a room full of teenagers occupied for hours on end, plus you’ve got to make them learn something! That is tough work people, with not a ton of acknowledgement. So it is nice to make the teachers feel a bit like rockstars when we take their picture, let them know that someone is paying attention. And to all my old profs at Richard Montgomery High School, (especially Julie Newcomer, my photography teacher, who taught me how to bulk load my first roll of Tri-X film ) just wanted to say, “Don’t ever doubt that you make a difference.”
Spent a full 12 hours at the Legacy Emanuel ED (because it’s a whole department of emergency, not just a room) for Portland Monthly’s Photo Essay: Trauma Night. Having grown up on Eugene Richard’sKnife and Gun Club, I had visions of what awaited me and so approached the assignment with a mix of anticipation and fear. His days of roaming the hospitals are long gone because of HIPPA, but the access I did get was almost unprecedented and a deal-with-the-devil was made that no one but the staff could be recognizable in the images.
From 3pm to 3am on an atmospheric Friday evening I follow around the very pregnant and badass trauma nurse, Jennifer Parker. I scribble notes as she says things like, “Her leg might never be the same,” during a three-hour surgery of a gunshot-wound victim. I stand in the corner documenting as more than 10 hospital staff dash around a patient unfortunate enough to have shot herself. ”Do you want to see the bullet?” asks one of the many players, “How about a piece of her small intestine we had to remove?” I agree to both, always unsqueamish when in photographer mode.
That is just a taste of what I see over the course of the evening, which also includes car crashes, stitches, vomit, cat scans, and full ensembles of blue. Jennifer is hardly phased, for her this is a typical night, and a relatively uneventful one at that. At one point she has to restrain a woman who is clearly intoxicated “NOW STOP THAT. Stop acting like a child. You want this to look pretty don’t you?” Intermediately gruff and soothing, Parker contends with the female patient who requires stitches after suffering a facial laceration from being hit by a car. “It took three of us to do a repair a 3-year-old should have been able to handle,” Parker says. In one year the hospital’s emergency department treats about 40,000 patients—around 110 per day. Only two Oregon hospitals, Emanuel and OHSU, are designated Level 1 trauma centers, equipped and staffed to provide the highest level of care to acutely sick and badly injured people. These two hospitals take in patients from across the state via ambulance and helicopter.
After 3am, I remove my scrubs and ask Jenn if I can walk to her car to document the end of her evening. She demurs, having a few more things to make right and a few more people to tend to, unable just yet to let go.
There is nothing like spending a few days back in high school to make you take a little stock in your life. As I creep up on my 20 (unbelievable) year reunion, I think back to that time, fondly I guess. But I am also struck by how much cooler kids today seem. Do I blame the internet? Cable TV? Back then couldn’t see and didn’t know too much past my own town and these kids can access the world in their pocket. Does that make them happier? More worldly? Or more weighted down? Things definitely seem a lot more complicated now then they did back in 1993. If you are feeling the need for a little teenage angst revisited, check out a slideshow of Lincoln, Catlin Gabel and Century High Schools, which I shot last year for Portland Monthly Magazine. And you can read the whole story here.
Photographed the charming Jack Falk for the New York Times for a story on traveling cantors. Congregations that are too small to have their own will bring him in for the High Holidays. Jack kept me entertained with jokes and even sang for me a bit. I was basically loving life until I was dive bombed by wasps. Clearly camera shy, they were not interested in having their picture taken. My hand blew up to about hulk size. Fortunately, Jack’s wife was nice enough to give me a poultice to take the swelling down and I was able to carry on. It’s rough out their sometimes, even for God’s chosen people.
Perfect weather, perfect subjects, not so well-behaved piglets. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I spent the day at Worden Hill Farm with the uber photogenic Ortloff Family, Susan and Wolfgang, and their three bewitching daughters; Kate, Hadley and Mia for the cover of 1859 Magazine. They bought the land from Susan’s parents back in 2007 and left an urban lifestyle in Germany for mud-splattered days in Dundee, OR. I was wooed by the multitude of pig sizes, varying from holdable to rideable. I was also wooed by the family, who shared some of their cured pork and promised to invite me to their next bonfire. After a day of mucking around, dodging porkers who thought my feet looked like apples (note to self: do not wear red boots when photographing pigs) Susan waved good-bye and said cheerfully, “You don’t think you smell, but you do.”
Joe Sacco let me invade his home for a recent portrait for the NYTimes.com. Pretty amazing to say that your job is a cartoonist, I mean, who actually has that job besides him and maybe Charles Schulz. Love that light cutting across his face from the blinds and it is always tickles me how many different images you can take from the same room. Joe just smiled indulgently and told me stories of his father while I circled him. Joe started in journalism, which, as a recovering newspaper photographer, is near and dear to my heart. Just recently crashed his house again for a holiday party, where Joe was DJing and making a mean hot toddy. What a renaissance man.