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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James and B.D. Miller [circus shoot #1]

Posted in Photography, Portraiture by daybf on December 20, 2010

Travis-an old friend of mine from high school-has put together a circus group in Santa Cruz and asked me to takes photos of everyone for publicity and such. I am really excited for the project, because I’m always looking for fun, interesting people to photograph. And who’s better than a circus group? Hair and make-up? done. Wardrobe? taken care of.

Here is the first shoot of Travis and Cameron, aka James and B.D. Miller. James is essentially the ring leader in a non-traditional sense. B.D. Miller is the musician and played guitar for the duration of the shoot. Wish I could hire him to play background music at all my shoots! Each “character” in the group has a certain vice, and both James and B.D. Miller are heavy drinkers. In addition, James smokes and loves attention, while B.D. Miller habitually plays too-long guitar solos. I hope this helps make sense of the whiskey-filled photos.

I realize I posted a ton of photos, but we did such a variety of poses and concepts, I wanted to highlight them all. Thoughts? Favorites? Feedback?

Oh and check out his page on Facebook: James “On The Rocks”




























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