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McMenamins Edgefield Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A guest at McMenamins Edgefield appears to be a ghostly blur in this long exposure photograph of the Troutdale winery.

The final assignment I did for Portrait 2007 was the most challenging, and not just because I wanted to do it at dusk and they neede
d the photos first thing the next morning.

No, the challenge here was that I had to make a portrait of a ghost. Or at least something like that.

Back in 1990, the McMenamins brothers bought the Edgefield property in Troutdale. Built in 1911, it began as the Multnomah County Poor Farm, home to tuberculosis patients and inmates, as well as the area's poor.

In 1964 it was converted into a nursing home, but that closed in 1982. Between that time and the McMenamins purchase, the property was abandoned, though numerous squatters resided there.

McMenamins converted the facility into a hotel, winery, and bar. But a number of the hotel's guests have experienced supernatural phenomena. Which brings us back to my atte
mpt to photograph ghosts.

The main photo that the Outlook wanted was a "haunted house" image of the front. That's fairly straightforward—use a wide angle lens and look up at it. Make the photo at dusk, for that dark and gloomy feeling. However, by the time dusk comes around, all of the haunted rooms are booked for the night, so getting a photo of them was out of the question.

Still, night manager Sam Fortner was kind enough to show me around the property and let me take pictures of some of the doors and hallways (which are decorated completely with commissioned art, some of which references the reported specters). And better yet, he was cool enough to play along for the photo below. I don't think it's quite like the ghostly apparitions that haunt Edgefield, and it only warranted a thumbnail in the publication, but I think it's my favourite image from the assignment. It definitely makes a nice guy look pretty creepy!