Hawthorne Blvd, a photographic stroll

Posted in Photography, Portraiture, Travel by daybf on March 16, 2011

Portland is divided north to south by Burnside St and the Willamette river divides east and west. I primarily stayed on the west side, since my hotel was in the northwest and the transportation via the streetcar and the MAX get you everywhere on the west side. You have to take buses to get over the river (except for the airport and IKEA where the MAX goes). I knew I had to make my way over to the Hawthorne District in the southeast where all the hipsters hangout (supposedly). Kind of like the Mission District in San Francisco. I also heard Hawthorne Blvd. in particular be called the Haight-Ashbury of Portland. In any case, I took a bus over and got off at 30th and Hawthorne and walked down to about 41st where there seemed to be less to walk to and see.

The vibe was instantly different. A little grungier (in a normal city kind of way) and reminded me of my hometown Santa Cruz’s downtown.  Neat old buildings housed coffee shops, diners, boutiques. Unique privately owned stores promised one-of-a-kind finds, such as vintage clothing and vinyls. On this day I decided I would conquer my fear of photographing strangers. So, I made a promise to myself that I would ask at least one stranger if I could take their picture. It turns out I asked many  more and none of them said no! However, I also carefully chose who to ask.

I initially wanted to photograph some hipsters, since Shannon’s mom Sarah was still unsure of what a hipster was. But, it was 38 degrees and I think the hipsters were hiding (indoors). Or, were not simply roaming the streets on a Sunday like I was. I got to photograph super nice and interesting people, don’t get me wrong, but I was expecting more over-the-top hipsters. In any case, I’ll let my pictures speak for themselves now.

My first subjects were these teenagers in ghillie suits hiding in bushes and scaring pedestrians.

This violinist was super talented and taken aback when I asked if I could take his picture. He thanked me and said that most people don’t ask.
Doesn’t he have a great smile?
Another musician, who was very serious for someone who seemed to be a young teenager. But I’m bad with ages…

This man had a booth for PGE (Portland General Electric, too similar to PG&E) and I stopped and talked to him for awhile about this new thing you could sign up for to save energy, etc. Then he graciously let me take his photograph. Love the hat and beard, and check out those eyes of his!
I went into this herb shop to buy some loose leaf tea, and photographed the employee who had impressively long dreads. She was sweet and timid, but didn’t even flinch at the idea of having her photograph taken.

Most of the dogs I saw wore little coats to keep them warm, but this little guy had a furry parka!
I stopped at The Fresh Pot coffee shop inside of Powell’s Books on Hawthorne. When I asked this woman for her picture and gave her my spiel she just said “I used to do that.”

Caught a Powell’s Books employee on a smoke break. “Uh, sure you can take my picture…what should I do?” “Oh, you can just keep smoking.” But then he continued to look right at me, which was what I really wanted.
It was a nerve-racking day full of firsts and I was constantly amazed at how kind everyone I ran into was. I gave all of my subjects my business card and told them to contact me if they wanted to see/have their photographs. About 4 of them got back to me, which I was pleased with.

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91 Responses

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  1. Mikalee Byerman said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Fun pix…thanks for sharing! Those guys in ghillie suits would sure scare me…

    😉

  2. beckyyk said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:34 am

    This looks like an awesome place…I love the pictures you took of the people that you didn’t even know. It shows great character. I want to go to this place immediately! Although I am in New York.

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Thanks for the props! You should definitely try to make it out to Portland for a visit at some point. There’s a little bit of everything for anyone there.

  3. palmtreelifestyle said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:36 am

    cool pictures…. I love looking at pictures …. thanks for sharing. http://allansjourney.wordpress.com/

  4. enjoibeing said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

    very dope pictures. i like how you collaged some of them, i never really seen collaged photos on a blog before, very very cool. nice post and congrats on freshly pressed!

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Thank you! Now that I think about it I haven’t seen collaged photos on blogs before either, but for some reason I’m compelled to organize them that way a lot. Sure is more time consuming, but makes for good presentation.

  5. k8peterson said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I went to college near Portland, and you did a great job of capturing the vibe of the city! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kathryn McCullough said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:48 am

    What great shots! Congrats on being FP-ed! Hang on for the ride—————-
    Kathy

  7. Eva McCane said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:54 am

    love it! you captured the things that make people want to visit spots like that.

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

      That’s what I was going for! When I explored each district in the city I tried my best to pull out the bits and pieces that made it unique from the other areas.

  8. Alfrodull said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Great shots, thanks for sharing… I love looking at “street photography” (or whatever this kind of photos are supposed to be called 🙂 )

  9. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:17 am

    That city always seems so cool. Great shots. I can’t wait to take my wife there.

  10. Lakia Gordon said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Nice pics!

  11. […] But it’s not Portland. It’s invariably the really weird parts of town. Where everyone has dreadlocks (WHY IS THIS A THING NOW!), there are strange works of art over every cafe (and there are a million cafes), everyone’s smoking and wearing their hipster clothes from American Apparel and whatever (to see the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, look here, and you will see EXACTLY what I mean: Hawthorne) […]

    • skybenz57 said, on April 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      To: Get Off My Lawn; In Restrospect, to you its your back yard. To out-of-towners, its the other side of the fence. You should know as well as I do that people admire places that are foreign to them. I would be so bold as to say that those wearing the hipster clothes and smoking probably see you in a different light also. Thats what makes us all special. Our uniqueness.

    • jacilynh said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      As another local, I think that this post has captured one of the most important aspects of Portland; the open perspectives and friendly attitudes of Portlanders. There really is something for everyone. If people want to have dreads, they are welcome to do so. If one chooses to wear American Apparel in imitation of more authentic styles, that’s ok too. Hey, isn’t it a complement if stores start selling a fashion en masse? Also, I think that only one person in these photos was smoking.
      Portland is friendly, doesn’t mind having a photo taken, and people are welcome to make whatever statement they want. Thanks for capturing that!

      • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:56 pm

        All of what you just said is the exact vibe I got from visiting there. Everyone is very friendly and open-minded.

  12. beckyspringer said, on April 26, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Wow, great pictures! You don’t see to many people photographing these aspects of cities. I find it funny that those kids in the ghillie suits scare people… i’d scream and probably pee myself hahaha. nice post 🙂

  13. postcardlocker said, on April 26, 2011 at 9:25 am

    A magnificent post keep up the good work hey and congratulation on being Freshly Pressed we are hoping that our blog http://postcardlocker.wordpress.com/ will be Freshly Pressed someday unfortunate (:) we don’t have any good writer ……………yet but someday we hope to Smile

  14. […] Si usted también, como yo, se está preguntando qué es un scenester, vea esta página. ¡Ah, cómo abundan y uno sin saber cómo llamarlos! Y ya que estamos recomendando, le recomiendo este post fotográfico. […]

  15. myblogject said, on April 26, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Fabulous post!
    I was thinking about doing something similar to this when I was walking to work this morning!
    Great post, love it!

  16. Mackenzie | Red Roan Chronicles said, on April 26, 2011 at 10:05 am

    That’s awesome. Photographing people is something I’ve always been pretty timid about and I’m not great about just talking to folks I don’t know, but asking to take a photograph has made me a little braver, too. (I got lucky in San Francisco with a guy who saw me photographing a dog on the sidewalk and came over and said, “Why aren’t you taking my picture?!” :D) You got great shots, I really enjoyed looking at them… thanks for taking us along on the trip. 🙂

  17. abhishek said, on April 26, 2011 at 10:06 am

    amazing pics

  18. Afdal Lismen said, on April 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

    a great day huh,

  19. Gabi Crowley said, on April 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

    EPIC set of pictures…well done!!!

  20. ournote2self said, on April 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Leah said, on April 26, 2011 at 10:43 am

    You really caught the feel of Hawthorne, even though you didn’t spot any hipsters. Great job on all the people photography- I’m always too afraid to ask.

  22. charlie nitric said, on April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Hello. I really like the bush suit photos. In fact, all these great pics are down home and natural. Nice snapshots! Have a good Tuesday. 🙂

  23. Alive aLwaYs said, on April 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Nice, and congrats, you got over your fear of photographing strangers.

  24. Olivia K said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    My sister used to live in an apartment above a yarn store on Hawthorne. I (living just south of Portland) loved driving up to stay with her. You captured the street perfectly!

  25. R Clark 2 U said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    What a great way to spend the day! I really enjoyed the shots.

  26. christinelaennec said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Really enjoyed that – I grew up in Portland but left years ago and now live in Scotland. I was back in PDX a few weeks ago, and my main impression was that there are a lot of tattooed ladies, but I couldn’t tell if that was an American thing more generally, or part of the “Keep Portland Weird” movement!

  27. knottywood said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Noice… a slice of Portlandia all right… the place where twenty-somethings go to retire.

  28. srqpix said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    This is one of the best photo blog post I’ve read in a long time. I really like what you did with the people you photograph…so cool!

  29. CrystalSpins said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I love that you actually laid your photos out! I’m a page designer for a newspaper and I’m a total geek for that sort of thing! Awesome!

    Crystal

  30. firemel2001 said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    You are a genious! I love that you went out and talked to people and took thier pics. And I love the pics of random things, buildings, what-nots. Great post!! Care if I do something similar in my hometown of Moab, UT?

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm

      I don’t care at all! Please share if you do do something similar in Moab. I have yet to do this sort of project in my own home town. I need to get on it!

  31. inwiththenewimports said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Great shots!
    Thanks for sharing, I remember getting a warm and fuzzy feeling in Portland aswell!
    And yes Mission Street in San Fran is another great ‘hipster/latino’ district!

  32. poindextr said, on April 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    fabulous photos. I like your style for approaching people and getting their pictures. I also like the way you assembled them for posting. This post rocks!

  33. […] Portland is divided north to south by Burnside St and the Willamette river divides east and west. I primarily stayed on the west side, since my hotel was in the northwest and the transportation via the streetcar and the MAX get you everywhere on the west side. You have to take buses to get over the river (except for the airport and IKEA where the MAX goes). I knew I had to make my way over to the Hawthorne District in the southeast where all the … Read More […]

  34. Geoff said, on April 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    This appears to be a great place for photography and you have made the most of it. I love the people images.

  35. […] Blvd, a photographic stroll – https://daybf.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/hawthorne-blvd-a-photographic-stroll/ This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Hello world! […]

  36. Rike said, on April 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Conrats on being Freshly Pressed, but with those amazing photos you really made my day! I´m still to afraid to ask strangers for a photo, but it turns out that you get much more interesting photos! Thanks for sharing, I loved them!

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      I’m happy to have made your day! Asking strangers to pose really isn’t as scary as it seems. You just need to ask the right people. I definitely chose wisely! And remember, if worst comes to worst, they’ll just say no.

  37. My Camera, My Friend said, on April 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Nice shots. Good for you overcomming your fear, I’m not sure I could do it so quickly.

  38. Steve said, on April 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Cool. The American Experience your style!

  39. call guy said, on April 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Really like the way you capture the spirit of the area. I think the photos of people make a huge difference so well done for plucking up the courage. I also like the way you intersperse these pics with shots of the area.. Brilliant!!!!

  40. Sanderm said, on April 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Wao, these pictures are just amazing!

  41. Louise Smithers said, on April 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I love the shots of the violin player. Beautiful photos.

  42. ladyberrington said, on April 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    bravo!

    is Portland your city?

    I just finished a university class called “Composing My Winnipeg” (that is my city). It was a Rhetoric Writing and Communication class and was excellent. By the looks of your work I think you would really enjoy the train of thought that my prof encouraged us to take.
    If you would like a few more thoughts on this – let me know.

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      I saw that you realized I am from Santa Cruz, not Portland, but I am still interested in the train of thought you mentioned.

  43. jordoncloud said, on April 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Awesome photos. I am an Oregon resident myself! Next time you are in Oregon make sure and visit Eugene.

    Similar to Santa Cruz, which you mentioned, Eugene and Portland are full of art and creativity. I don’t think I could ever live in a city without it!

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Oh yes, I have heard great things about Eugene as well! I’ll try to get there next time 😉

  44. Erica said, on April 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    This caught my eye because it was A. Freshly Pressed, B. of the Hawthorne Neighborhood of which I am quite familiar, and C. very beautifully photographed. Well done!

  45. Jailson Rainer said, on April 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    cool

  46. sunshineandstarlight said, on April 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Oh, dear sweet lovely Portland! I’m a Texas girl with a crush on the northwest and try to make it out to PDX about four times a year. Lovely city, great personality, beautiful people, inspiring vibe….great post to sum up Hawthorne. Did you see the Candy Bus? It’s pretty cute. Hope you enjoyed your time there!! It will leave an impression, that’s for sure. xo!

    • daybf said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      I did not see the Candy Bus 😦 I LOVED my time there!

  47. April said, on April 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I visit there often and I haven’t had the nerve to do what you did… but have always wanted to. You’ve inspired me to give it another try! Great pictures!

  48. Jules said, on April 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Really LOVE your blog! I have just returned to Portland after a long time away and it is great to see your perspective. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  49. thegradualday said, on April 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Ah, the Hawthorne! My favorite neighborhood in Portland. Ah, Powell’s! My favorite bookstore in Portland. Haven’t been there for many moons. Thx for the visit and to WP for pressing your post. (+1 on Eugene, btw)

  50. Omar El-Cherbini said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Really sweet pics and a good story of 1sts to go with it. I think you captured part of what Hawthorne is for sure.

  51. thegradualday said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Sadly, the institution you missed is the wonderful Coffee People shops, which, I’m told, succumbed to sbux some while back. The Hawthorne just isn’t the same without them…

  52. The Grecian said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Nice pics. Love the portraits!

  53. […] Portland is divided north to south by Burnside St and the Willamette river divides east and west. I primarily stayed on the west side, since my hotel was in the northwest and the transportation via the streetcar and the MAX get you everywhere on the west side. You have to take buses to get over the river (except for the airport and IKEA where the MAX goes). I knew I had to make my way over to the Hawthorne District in the southeast where all the … Read More […]

  54. soaringdragons said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Hey, thanks for the pics of Portland. I’m glad I found your sight (with about a million other people) because I’ve been stuck in China for 10 years but will someday make it home–to Portland. Cheers!

  55. Eric Chuhao Chan said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I like how you put the pics together! Nice job done!

  56. Erica Leigh said, on April 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I love this. It describes Portland perfectly! Good work 🙂

  57. 4mycoachjourney said, on April 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Wow I haven’t seen the Bagdad for about 15 years – what a cool place to hang out eat pizza, grab a beer and watch a flick! Nothing like it!

  58. Marissa Jean said, on April 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Wow, these are great. Loved the houses 🙂

  59. Jay said, on April 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Cool! As a social experiment.. that’s something I’d really like to try. I’ve always been shy to take people’s pictures from an artistic point of view. Just came back from doing a silent hitch-hike and blogged about that. I’d be interested to hear about your experience. Beautiful shots.

  60. Jordan Sage said, on April 27, 2011 at 12:02 am

    This is great stuff. I used to live and work in PDX.

  61. John said, on April 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

    good choice of pics lovely

  62. thor27 said, on April 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

    An interesting little piece of Americana. Unique blog !

  63. zookyshirts said, on April 27, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Way cool photographic journey along this piece of Portland. I’ve never been to that city, so it was neat to see your photos and get a feel of the scene you saw. Great job! And it’s really nice of you to ask strangers to take their picture, rather than just photograph away. Awesome that people were nice to you back, and let you take their picture. Awesome post.

  64. I so enjoyed this. I felt as if I’d been to Portland! more than if I’d just seen pix of the skyline or something. Makes me want to go there. I love quirky places. Many congrats on being Freshly Pressed :=)

  65. mnenakrizisnaplevat said, on April 27, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Really nice pics! Thx!

  66. mollyscafeistanbul said, on April 27, 2011 at 4:50 am

    great photos. i used to live in the hawthorne district but now live in istanbul, so it was a bit of nostalgia to see these. it hasn’t changed that much 🙂

  67. rtcrita said, on April 27, 2011 at 5:00 am

    I love this grouping of pics. So natural. How brave you were to ask strangers. I bookmarked an article a while back about this very subject–how to get the courage to photograph strangers. Isn’t that funny? But, yet, exactly what some of us would like to be able to do because of the wonderful images we could capture, just like yours.

    Great job! You’ve inspired me. 🙂

  68. creativeconfessions said, on April 27, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Wow, that is wonderful! I admire your courage to walk up and photograph strangers. I couldn’t do it… 🙂 Nice photos!

  69. broadsideblog said, on April 27, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Well done! These photos told me more about Portland than all the articles I’ve read. I’ve never been there (yet.)

    Hawthorne reminds of me Queen Street West (or East), two fun, funky neighborhoods in my native Toronto. I now live in a gorgeous little town north of NYC and this has inspired me to make a series of portraits of it as well.

  70. Brown Road Chronicles said, on April 27, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Cool pics, looks like a cool place. I have always wanted to visit there. Someday!

  71. Little Colombia Observationist said, on April 27, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Great photos. I love wandering around and taking pictures of strangers. Looks like an interesting area to explore. Congrats on Freshly Pressed 🙂

  72. Jess Witkins said, on April 27, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Very awesome post! I visited Portland 2 years ago and LOVED the Hawthorne district! Indeed, it is where the hipsters hang out, and I went in summer, so they were all over! I loved how everyone had tattoos, and most the bars had cute outdoor seating. If you’re still in the area, Laurelhurst Park is walking distance from Hawthorne, and it has amazingly large trees and a big duck pond, and there’s quite the variety of people passing through cause the park is big. Maybe you could do another photography adventure. Beautiful photos and I loved the post! Thanks for sharing!

  73. artfashionandhim said, on April 27, 2011 at 7:11 am

    These people are so cultured! Love Portland and its hippy dippy people!!! Amazing photos

  74. Sci Fi the News said, on April 27, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I really felt like I was there. The photos you chose communicated the character of the place perfectly. Awesome!

    http://www.scifithenews.wordpress.com

  75. dennisfinocchiaro said, on April 27, 2011 at 8:31 am

    These photographs are outstanding! You really made me want to go to Portland. They remind me of characters in the stories I write…you’re making me think I should go there for inspiration!

  76. Maria said, on April 27, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Ah yes, Portland is unique and your photo essay definitely hits that nail on the head. Thnx!

  77. Brian said, on April 28, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Hi, Day.

    These are great shots, especially all the strangers. I have been trying to get over my fear of photographing strangers too, but I have not had the success you’ve had. One older gentleman let me take his picture, but the last several people I’ve spoken to have all said no.

    What’s your secret (if you don’t mind sharing it)?

    Thanks,
    Brian

  78. Richard Anthony Morris said, on May 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Wow, some stunning shots. I’m trying to get better at street photography. I’ve got a few that I’m happy with in my latest post. But I can’t seem to get the technique of photography complete strangers down right. It’s not that I’m shy either. Anyways, great post and great photos. (:

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