Japan definitely has a yen (pun intended) for Portland. Lucky for me that means lots of photos of the fair city, most recently for SotoKoto, a Japanese lifestyle magazine that offers tips on leading a comfortable, sustainable and fashionable life. The goal of this lifestyle is balancing the coexistence of individual comfort with the sustainability of the entire society, so very Japanese. Plus, it is also an in-flight magazine of Japanese Airlines. Spent a week with a fabulous editorial crew hitting hot spots like Powell's City of Books, Mississippi records, Stumptown Coffee, Spin Laundry Lounge, and the universe that is McMenamins. Always interesting to see how Portland is viewed by other countries and always fun to see my pics in an international publication, never gets old.
Rocked out all over North Portland with the band Alameda for 1859 Magazine. Band photography is no easy thing, it usually involves a lot of brick walls, train tracks and matching outfits. But Alameda were good sports and indulged us by rolling in the grass and posing in front of half constructed houses. Thanks guys, for playing along.
Nothing more spectacular than the Portland Waterfront when the cherry blossoms are out. OnTrak Magazine seemed to agreed and we teamed up with PDX Pedicab to do a little off roading at the park for their cover. At 8am we just managed to fight our way through the swarm of other photographers also bent on capturing all the pink glory.
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.
USA Today reached out to us to do video and stills for a story on Bailey Sheehan. This sunny 7-year-old was paralyzed in her right leg and has trouble with her neck and arms due to a polio-like illness called the Enterovirus. And though she is regaining her strength and learning to walk again, the truly terrifying thing is that the cause and the treatment of the virus remain unknown. The whole Sheehan family opened their lives to us in the middle of this craziness, letting us tag along to physical therapy, then home where we interviewed Bailey's mother, Mikell. Mikell is doing anything and everything she can to help her daughter and get the word out about the virus.
Photographed an amazing story about early onset Schizophrenia that ended up on the cover of the Washington Post. Basically the Behavior Health Services at the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center are trying to figure out ways to help teens with signs of Schizophrenia way before they ever have a psychotic episode. The program involves a two-year course of socialization, family therapy, job and school assistance, and sometimes medication. Now some of this may sound super fancy, but what it actually, literally can turn out to be is taking a kid to the music store and talking to him about his day. Crazy, right? The counselor I photographed used his love of music and comic books to connect with his teenage male patients, and as a way to get them out of house and interacting with the world around them. As someone with a psychology degree, I was pretty blown away by the simplistic brilliance of this. It made me realize two things. One, that you can never underestimate the power of human connection, and two, that so many of us just aren't getting enough of it.
Got to spend a few days with the wonderful Pete Brook who writes quite thoughtfully about Prison Photography and photography in general for Wired Magazine. He acted as the Portland tour guide for the Russian travel and lifestyle magazine, AFISHA-MIR (mir means freedom, also the same name as their space station, get it?) while I documented the trip. The theme was "above and below ground," so clever that Peter Brook. So we traipsed about, taking lots of instagrams of each other and the lovely writer too. Our adventures included the Japanese Gardens, Frank's Noodle House, Voodoo Doughnuts (no line!), Tasty and Sons, Biwa, the Burnside skatepark (where for once, no one tried to beat me up), The Fresh Pot, the Portland Museum of Modern Art, the Portland Aerial Tram, Powell's Books, Noble Rot, Departure Restaurant and Lounge and the unforeseen highlight, Pioneer Courthouse. Whew, now I need a nap.
The Wall Street Journal asked me to photograph local business owner and motorcycle enthusiast Tom Daly for a series called Faces of the Affordable Care Act. Tom represents The 'Young Invincible,' who is interested in health insurance, but decided it was too expensive. However, his new motorcycle habit, impending marriage and recent status as homeowner have made him rethink this opinion. Adulthood will do that to you I guess.
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.
Photographed spitfire Jenny Wendt for a Mother Jones Magazine story on statute of limitations for sexual assaults. Jenny, who was raped in 2005, has begun a campaign to change Indiana's laws, addressing rallies and meeting with legislators and is now working with lawmakers in Oregon. A serious topic calls for some serious images, but Jenny's personality is one of joy, warmth and humor. Well that and a will of steel.
Joan Rideout Ayala has a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction. Now an addiction counselor herself, has learned coping skills to help end her addiction and cope with her mental illness. We spent some time with Joan at home and at work for an editorial video and photo assignment for a USA Today for a project called The Cost of Not CarIng, a series that explores the human and financial costs the country pays for not caring more about the nearly 10 million Americans with serious mental illness. Powerful stuff.
You can find just about anything you would want and nothing you would need on Mississippi Street in Portland. But New York Times writer Julie Lasky says it so much better than we ever could, "North Mississippi Avenue in Portland delivers a hipster experience as reliably as the rain. The street’s commercial district, which runs five blocks from North Fremont Street up to North Skidmore Street, has coffee-roasting equipment, saltwater aquariums, chandeliers made with recycled wine bottles, jewelry cast from animal sex organs and possibly the best corned beef hash ever fried."
Thanks to all the businesses that contributed their design sensibilities: Sunlan (who was ironic before it was cool), Mr. Green Beans, Land Gallery, Flutter, Gravy, Paxton Gate, Mississippi Avenue Lofts, Silver Moon Creperie, The Big Egg, Prost!, and The John Palmer House. One thing's for certain, it's not easy being hip, but you do it with aplomb. And a beard.
Spent the day with Todd Bedrick and the fam for a New York Times Story about Paternity Leave. Todd works at Ernst & Young LLP, so got to spend a little time in the 9 to 5 (though no suit and tie- this is Portland, after all). Then home for some adorable father and daughterness. Todd and his wife Sarah, who is a teacher, were a pretty picture perfect family; there was dinner, playtime, bath time, then a little purple-polka-dot-story-time and finally bed. After that he washed his wife's breast pump accouterment and showed me his engagement photo album. What a champ. In the article Todd mentions how much his time at home with his new baby really helped him bond with her. Which only makes sense. Sweden has figured it out. Close to 90% of Swedish fathers take paternity leave. Why does it take us so long?
Spent a fabulous day filled with gorgeous light at the Portland home of Hisham Mayet for Brownbook Magazine, which they call "An Urban Guide to the Middle East." Mayet is the co-founder of the cult record label, Sublime Frequencies, and is responsible for unleashing Iraqi Choubi, Palestinian psyche-rock and Omar Souleyman on the world. He spends several months of every year traveling the globe (when we met he had just gotten back from Burkina Faso and Niger) recording music, documenting, looking for bands. Not a bad gig. As a result his home is filled with treasures; books, art, records, you name it. I had a blast playing show-and-tell with Mayet, listening to music as we went through his book collection or he showed me paintings hidden in his basement before taking smoke breaks in the backyard. The print version is below, but the super photo charged online story is here.
Had the chance to shoot another interesting assignment for Scholastic this month, a cover photo for their story on football injuries that ran in Scope. Met Isaiah, who quit football to run track after sustaining a severe concussion his freshman year. You would never know it, but it was about 5 degrees out when this was shot but Isaiah handled it like a pro, even after he changed into his track outfit. I, myself, was in a very long puffy coat.
Feature Shoot, the fab photo website that showcases photography from all over the world just posted the winners of their State Fair Group Show. And who just happened to win a one-year subscription to Squarespace? That's right, moi. The photos were for a project I did a few years ago for 1859 Magazine about, you guessed it, Fairs. Over the course of July and August I hit the Oregon Country Fair, the Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo and the Oregon State Fair, all weird and wonderful in their own way. It was a hell of a summer and the magazine asked be to write the text to accompany the essay, which after some arm-twisting, I did.
Oregon Fair Nostalgia
"Nothing says summer like the classic american fair. Nostalgia pervades the air with the smell of dust and cotton candy. last july and august, I road-tripped down the state, documenting fairs along the way, trying to hold on to summer for an eternity.
My first stop was Veneta, home of the Oregon Country Fair. Now in its forty-fourth year, this fair is more spiritual journey than 4-H and is set in woods along the banks of the long tom River. Highlights include handcrafted wares, live music around every corner and hippie culture on shameless parade.
Next, to Canby for the Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo, where the focus is small-town america, livestock, cowboys and blue ribbons. Here rodeo queens are royalty, and rooster crowing is a prize-winning endeavor.
My tour wouldn't have been complete without a trip to the Oregon state Fair in salem. think steel mechanical rides covered in neon, fried foods and life-sized stuffed animals.
These transient worlds give us a chance to be a kid again. screaming in the air as we ride the Kamikaze, working caramel corn out of our teeth or dancing in our bare feet as local bands wail. For who can be anything but nine years old as you head home at the end of the day—sleepy, face sticky and sunburned?
In the end, the summer fair is a mirage of community emerging from thin air to embrace a few days of revelry and celebration that returns to its nostalgic nothingness when the lights go out."
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.
Those wacky folks over at Artslandia came up with the brilliant idea of inviting the who's who of the holiday stage for one big photo Xmas mashup. And we got to join in. We mixed cocktails for Crumpet from the Santaland Diaries at Portland Center Stage, tempted The Oregon Ballet's Sugar Plum Fairy with cookies (heck no she didn't eat any), helped Lucy string up poor old Charlie Brown from Stumptown Stages and put George Bailey, Scrooge and Kris Kringle through the holiday wringer. Then we just added a little fake snow and blasted the Pandora Holiday station to get everyone in the mood. Talk about a holiday Cornucopia. Someone brought their toddler to the set and I sure that child will never look at Christmas the same way. That's right, changing people's lives with the power of photography. Here's wishing all of you a happy non-secular December and a fabulous 2015.