There are some assignments that make me love my job. This one, about Postpartum Depression for the New York Times, was one of those. It was a project that really stayed with me, mostly because of my subject. Jeanne Marie Johnson was so open with me and the writer about something so incredibly personal and difficult. And I clearly wasn't the only one that she moved with her bravery, BuzzFeed listed it as one of their top 9 stories of the week, and the NYT Opinion Page for the NYT was hopping. One of those days when I feel like I may have made a tiny bit of difference in this great big world.
Did a tour of tasty, tasty places for simply scrumptious Australian Food and Travel Magazine, Feast. This required some intense research, i.e. eating everything I could get my camera on. The adventure included, but was not limited to:
Bollywood Theater - Ace Hotel - Portland Saturday Market - Mediterranean Exploration Company - Clay Pigeon Winery - House Spirits - Olympic Provisions - Portland Airport -Tasty n' Alder - Raven and Rose - Pepe Le Moko - Pok Pok - Tidbit Food Farm - Tilt - Yard House - Ace Hotel - Saturday Market
Now go forth and feast.
Spent the day with Janet Martinez and family for a story for AARP. The story is about the "sandwich generation" adults bringing up young children while also overseeing the care of their aging parents. Janet, a TV producer, was a joy; funny, honest and open about the balancing act of shuttling her daughter and mother through their daily activities. After shooting she entertained me with a beer and stories of working on Lifetime Channel Movies.
Travelled to the wilds of Vancouver, Washington to photograph Recreational Marijuana Mecca New Vansterdam for a Wall Street Journal story about Pot Taxes. At at New Vansterdam, an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) of marijuana was going for $87 to $128, two or three times what it costs on the black market! Still, there was a steady stream of customers coming through the store, many who were tourists or who liked the convenience. Located in a strip mall alongside Safeway, RadioShack and Weight Watchers, the space used to be a check cashing spot and felt like it, though the art and the ipad displays helped. It will be interesting to see how taxes play out in Oregon now that weed has been legalized, with Oregon's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council estimating $637 million in taxes and fees for the first five years. That's a lot of overpriced joints.
Photographed Jenn Louis, Chef-Owner of the Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern (love me some frozen margarita) for the New York Times Dining Guide United States of Thanksgiving. Okay, I guess I didn't actual photograph her, but rather her cranberries. Cranberry sauce with Pinot Noir to be exact...because it is a plain simple fact that everything tastes better with Pinot Noir. Turns out after doing some serious research that the best way to photograph cranberry sauce is when it is backlit. Otherwise things could go horribly wrong.
Via Magazine recently did a story on Carmen Peirano, the badass heir apparent to Nick's Italian Cafe in McMinnville. Pretty easy to take a good picture when your subject is a gorgeous chef, a cool apron always helps too. Question: How many photos can one take of the same space, using different angles? My answer appears to be at least 4.
As a side note, I am a big fan of downtown McMinnville, it really has that small town, quaint feel, not to mention some great places to eat and shop. Though maybe I'm biased. Carmen also runs a salumeria next door called Fino in Fondo, making Oregon a burgeoning meat empire. I personally just like to say the word salumeria.
I guess it shouldn't come as any surprise that a town bursting with creativity should have such a plethora of performing arts. Singing, acting, dancing, Portland is well, bursting, with it. And for this year's Artslandia Performing Arts Guide, NashCO got up close and personal with quite a few of them. We decided it would be cool to craft behind-the-scenes looks for each of the groups we photographed. Which sounds so easy, right? Notice I said craft, not capture. Turns out, creating images that look happened upon is a hell of a lot harder than just happening upon them. But then again they are lit a lot better too. I think I could literally feel my brain working at each assignment: location scouting, art directing, people directing, and then of course, actually pushing the shutter. Let's just say this project taught us a lot about how to bring an editorial vision to life. Turns out the answer is gesticulating, lots of gesticulating. And duct tape. And bourbon.
Did you know that Southern Oregon is a wine mecca? Yea, me neither until I got a call from the New York Times to spend a few days trolling around Ashland, OR hitting the Rogue, Applegate and Umpqua Valleys. Lots of warm and wine filled welcomes at Kriselle Cellars, Cowhorn WIne, Quady North, and Troon Vineyards. Liz Wan at Serra Vineyards, even left the gates open so we could sneak in after hours to get a little sunset action. And for all those "Glampers" out there (glamping is luxury camping, fyi), Willow-Witt Ranch is a wild, wonderful off-the-grid mountaintop farm with three canvas tent and some quite photogenic goats. Dancin Vineyards has an amazing menu, chickens, and even a fish pond where carp as big as your head will eat from your hand. We were even lucky enough to hit some riverside music and picnicking at Red Lily. People always joke that my job is like going on vacation. Well, sort of. It's actually just like photographing other people on vacation. Which is still work, but work to feel grateful to have. Especially when there's a delicious bottle of pinot at the end of it.
Spent a day with Kevin Atchley, co-owner of Portland’s Pine State Biscuits and his lovely gal Laleña Dolby, communications director at Zenger Farm, photographing their adorable pad for Oregon Home Magazine. At only 690-square-foot the duo worked wonders making the place magazine worthy (literally). Think reclaimed wood and thrift stores finds plus a knack for putting pieces together in a way that is both beautiful and original (now why didn't I think of that...). We finished off the day with a little bourbon and gossip and voila, we now feel lucky to call the couple friends.
We recently photographed Portland investor Stan Rosenfeld for Charles Schwab's high end investor magazine Onward. Stan is amazing, he still does everything the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. For the shoot we purchased a large piece of 1/8 inch clear plastic and hung it with C-stands inside the studio to get the handwritten "script" for the story headline. We opted to do this in camera, rather than in post to make it look more authentic. We redid it so many times I felt like I was back in cursive writing class. We also had Stan write some equations and stock lingo on the board to fill in the negative space and give it a bit more personality. No stock tips though.....
Somewhere along the line I have become the de facto, "Portland food, lifestyle and travel" photographer for the New York Times. And if you've read the NYT lately, you realize that is a job that keeps me rather busy. People in Portland now joke about it, when I mention who I'm working for, "Oh, man, they are doing another story about us?" is the response I get. And I understand that. Sometimes I feel that living the good life Portland is a secret I'd rather not share. Unfortunately, I think the cat may be out of the bag. Damn you, Fred and Carrie. Below are some outtakes from a recent Urban Wineries shoot I did for the paper which included stalking the tannin soaked halls of the Southeast Wine Collective, Clay Pigeon Winery, ENSO Urban Winery and Tasting Lounge, and Sauvage at Fausse Piste. Gotta love that urban terroir.
Did you know Idaho was a hot destination spot? Me neither, but clearly the New York Times, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ernest Hemingway beg to differ. Challenged with shooting a travel story on wildfires, we hopped a plane, rented a car with a sunroof (always a sunroof) and started cruising. We hit the "Highway to Heaven" trail, also known as Highway 21, where areas are still scarred by lightning storms which ignited 335 fires in the Boise National Forest over the course of eight days in 1989, eventually burning 46,000 acres of land. Now new growth mixes with burned remains, creating a visual mosaic. We hit places with backcountry names like Beaver Creek and Big Woods River which we off-roaded through at Sunset, trying to avoid gangs of Elk. Then after days with no cell reception we touched down in Sun Valley, an oasis that housed Hemingway through the last of his years and now provides skiing, tennis, chocolate shops, and outdoor ice skating to the world weary. But the luxury seemed suspect after days of rolling in black forest fire ash, and once we showered off and imbibed a cocktail or two, we were back on the road. Next stop was The Wrangler Drive-In to suck down blackberry milkshakes and gape at the Jackalope, a burger not for the timid which weighs in at 2 pounds. Completing our Idaho loop we paused at The Silver Creek Preserve to quietly stalk the fly fisherman as they did a little stalking of their own, both of us trying not to disturb our prey. From there it was a straight shot to Boise with the music cranked and the sunroof open as we both admired our tans and picked the tall grass out of our socks.
Spent the first weekend of August how we always do, photographing the amazingness that is Pickathon, a four-day music festival located on the 80-acre Pendarvis farm in Happy Valley, just about 30 minutes outside of Portland. Now in its 16th year with six, count them...six, different music venues, the festival focuses on sustainability and the best part is they have eliminated single use cups, bottles, dishes and utensils and been plastic free since 2010! This year, the New York Times decided to stop by and get in on the West Coast love and being so gracious, we decided to join them.
Ate some great food, did a little dancing, saw more incredible acts then we could mention, though here is a feeble attempt....The Sadies, Nickel Creek, Mac DeMarco, Diarrhea Planet, Possessed By Paul James, Valerie June, The War On Drugs, Blind Pilot and even managed to take a photo or two.
Had the opportunity to photograph for The Trust for Public Land this year. TPL is a U.S. national, nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, natural areas and open space. And who doesn't think that is pretty awesome? We were tasked with documenting Colwood Park, a golf course that it reinventing itself, and Nadaka Nature Park, a former Camp Fire Girl spot. So we gathered a group of intrepid volunteers and let them run free, literally.
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.
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.
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. The second was for Sunday Business, a profile of intel's director of user experience research, Dr. Genevieve Bell. Not everyday you get to a bond with a robot and roam the halls of Intel.
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.
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's Knife 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.