Photo archive (partial)

Buy prints, downloads, or license images from our archives:

Pierced navel? Thursday, July 30, 2009

For the past couple of weeks, workers have been refurbishing the brickwork on the apartment building across the street from mine. The 5-story, 1931 building is covered with brick on the two sides visible from the street, and decorated with about eight 10-foot tall sculptures I call the "pharaohs." (You might remember that I wrote about them last fall.)

The brickwork looked fine to my untrained eye, but apparently it needed a lot of work. After setting up a working platform, they started by pressure washing the brick and the pharaohs. I thought they were tarnished white, but it turns out they're more a yellowish-brown sandstone. They then started re-mortaring sections of the brick.

Today they drilled four holes into each pharaoh (one of which looks like a bellybutton). They injected resin and set a threaded bolt into the holes. I'm curious to see what's next.

I don't envy the workers, though, having to stand in the sun next to a brick wall all day in record-breaking heat.

New template Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As you can probably see I changed the template for this blog. The content is the same, but it's a fresher look. It might change a bit more in the next few days—there are a few things I have to clean up, add or restore, but I don't have time to do that right now. Maybe tomorrow. Anyway, let me know what you think. —ed.

Photographing bSide6 Monday, July 27, 2009

I got up before dawn Sunday morning to photograph bSide6, a new, seven-story building designed by Works Partnership, at the corner of East Burnside and SE Sixth (hence the name). The building has retail space on the bottom floor, but most of the space is designated as studio space for the city's creative community. bSide6 is brand new but, no thanks to the economy, I'm sure, it is about 2/3 vacant.

Unfortunately, the vacancies meant there were "For Lease" signs in the windows, and to my dismay a Jeep had parked in front of the building overnight. But the weather cooperated, as did the local crazies wandering the streets in the early morning hours.

One gentleman in particular stood out. Dressed in jeans and a tired white t-shirt and drinking God-knows-what from a reused Gatorade bottle, he paced around the intersection where I was working—thankfully not in front of the building—and up and down the surrounding streets. All the while, the overweight, 40-something, balding-with-a-ponytail guy kept saying in a character voice something to the effect of "Getthatcameraoutofhere" in such a hurry that he could hardly enunciate it, followed by some kind of surprised response: "What?" like he was having some kind of conflicted scenario playing over and over in his head.

It was loud enough that I could hear it across the street. Naturally, I ignored him and kept working while the light was good.

There were a handful of other people who passed through, most hanging around the bus shelter kitty-corner to my subject. Apart from the white t-shirt guy, though, none made any comment or asked me any questions other than what time it was. Meanwhile, the monologic call-and-answer continued:
Finally, as I was packing up to leave, he approached me and, in a perfectly sane voice, asked "Excuse me, do you know what time it is?"

Come to think of it, I had my back to him the whole time this bipolar discussion was going on. Maybe it was just voices in my head.

RAA photos on Northwest CanCon Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nils Edenloff of the Rural Alberta Advantage belts out a tune July 7 at Backspace in Portland.

Today I posted a slide show of photos from the Rural Alberta Advantage concert on Northwest CanCon. You can check it out here. At left is one of the photos that didn't make the cut.

The travails of travel Monday, July 13, 2009

A bartender mixes drinks July 11 at Brewery City Pizza Co. in Lacey, Wash. The picture has nothing to do with this blog post.

First of all, let me say that I enjoy traveling. That is to say, I like seeing new places and discovering different cities/states/countries, meeting people from NotHere. As far as I'm concerned, last weekend's trip to Lacey, Wash., barely counts as travel as my hotel was a straight shot up I-5, less than 120 miles from home. However, it proved to be more challenging than one might expect.

I was up there to shoot the 30th annual Seattle-to-Portland Bike Ride, in which 10,000 riders make a 204-mile journey from the Emerald City to the Rose City in their choice of one or two days. Two people have completed all 30 rides. Over the weekend, I saw more bikes than I've ever seen in one place before, and just about every conceivable configuration. Well, I didn't see a penny-farthing, but there were racing bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, tandems, recumbents and more. There was one three-person tandem. One kid rode by on a skate board. One guy did it on a unicycle. But I digress.

In the Portland area there are only two bridges across the Columbia River, and they are notorious choke points during rush hour. I left home around 6:30 on Friday evening, figuring that the afternoon commute would be well finished. After quick stops at the grocery store and gas station, I entered the freeway around 7.

And just about stopped right there. In spite of the late hour, the freeway was still packed with traffic. Seven miles and 45 minutes later, it finally eased up as I crossed the Columbia. Right after the first exit in Vancouver, Wash., there was a sign warning motorists of "event traffic" about 7 miles ahead.

[left] Ken Leon, Scott Campbell and Bhaskar Amancharla toast after a long day of shooting the Seattle-to-Portland Bike Ride June 11 in Lacey, Wash.

I knew immediately that the sign referred to the Clark County Amphitheater. Built in 2003, the 18,000-seat facility is quite nice but perennially loses money, in large part due to the challenge of getting to the venue. (See this recent Oregonian article for more details on that.) It turns out that my trip to Lacey coincided with a sold-out Coldplay concert. Sure enough, after about seven miles of smooth travel I could see traffic backed up again. I hadn't eaten yet, so I pulled off at the next exit for dinner.

Once I resumed my trip things went smoother, and the remaining 100 miles passed by at about the expected pace. I pulled into my hotel in Lacey (on the outskirts of Olympia) just before 10 p.m., anxious to check in to use the facilities and get some rest before my 5:30 wakeup call.

When I entered the lobby, there were two or three uniformed Marines checking into the hotel so I lined up behind them and admired their close-cut hairstyles. A couple more arrived as I waited. When my turn came I gave my name to the harried-looking clerk, who couldn't find my name on her list. Given my non-conforming hairstyle and lack of uniform I never expected to be confused for a Marine, but when I explained that I wasn't with that group she asked me to wait while she checked in the rest of their group. Fair enough. I stepped aside as she continued to deal with the rest of them.

Meanwhile, men (and a couple of women) in uniform kept piling into the lobby. And I'm stuck waiting. I can't go up to my room because I don't have one yet. So I wait. Some of the Marines aren't on the list. Some of the ones that are on the list aren't here yet, but their roommates are. I check my email with the lobby computer. I read the local newspaper. I watch a bit of the too-loud TV in the lobby. I wait.

Finally, all of the Marines except the man in charge have disappeared, and he's trying to sort out something with the desk clerk. He suggests that she check me in because I've been waiting so long. I give her my name again ... I'm not on her list and asks if I'm supposed to be checking in at the hotel on the other side of the parking lot. I'm not. I explain that I'm with the photography group and perhaps I'm listed under my roommate, whom I've never met and has a long, unusual Indian name that I can't remember. And I left those details in the car.

So I run out to the car, grab the information package and return to the desk where she's working with the Marine guy again. Once they finish, I give her the name of my roommate, she looks him up and says that it doesn't have my name there. So she calls him and hands me the phone. Sensibly, he was asleep.

"Uh, hi, I'm Matthew ... I guess I'm supposed to be your roommate this weekend."

"If you say so."

"Well, I guess the desk clerk doesn't have my name, so she phoned you for me."

"Uh, ok."

"Um, yeah."

I handed the receiver back to the clerk who hung it up without speaking to Bhaskar. She gave me a key, and finally my journey was over. First seven miles, 45 minutes. Last seven yards, 35 minutes. Ugh.

Ken Leon lines up a shot at O'Blarney's Irish Pub in Lacey, Wash.

RAA rocks Rose City in record release recital Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Rural Alberta Advantage (from left, Amy Cole, Paul Banwatt and Nils Edenloff) perform July 7 at Backspace. The Toronto-based trio drew about 100 to the show, their first visit to Portland.

OK, so maybe "recital" isn't quite the right word, but the show wasn't exactly a "revue" nor a "rendezvous"—any better suggestions?

Anyway, I had the opportunity to interview and photograph the Rural Alberta Advantage (say that three times, quickly) last night at Backspace in Portland. It was really just a normal show for them, but it coincided with the official release of their debut full-length record, Hometowns, so they called it a record release party.

Look for the interview and concert photos on Northwest CanCon in a week or two.

At left is one of the outtakes from the quick portrait session we did. I'm not sure if I like it or not—Paul looks really cool with no fill light, but a lot different from the other two. What do you think?

Recent portraits

As mentioned, it's blog catch-up day. A week or so ago I did a portrait session with Perrie at her lab in OHSU. Here's one of my favourites from the session (right). After shooting in the lab, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and gorgeous view from her building (below).

The art of construction

I've been a bad blogger of late, but that doesn't mean I haven't been shooting. Among other things, I am in the midst of shooting a construction project in the Pearl District (yes, there still is some of that going on). Here are a couple of "arty" images from the Broadstone Enso Apartments (Yorke & Curtis, General Contractors).

In the photo at right, you will notice that the floor joists are not 2x8 or 2x10 or even 2x12 that you might expect. They are engineered wood joists: essentially wooden I-beams. The flanges are made of laminated veneer lumber and the webs are oriented strand board. Apparently it was invented in 1969, but I don't think it was in common use until the last 10 years or so.

It's a pretty good idea, though: it's lighter and stronger than dimensional lumber, more consistent, can be made to any length, and comes with pre-cut holes in the web for wiring and such. You can see a better view in the photo at right.

Below is a photo from the basement of the building (it may be a garage). It doesn't really go with the rest of this blog post, but I like it.