Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Photographing the First Covid Vaccinations

I was holding back tears in December while photographing the first Covid vaccinations in Oregon. Whatever your views on vaccines, it was still a watershed moment, and I was honored to be part of it.  OHSU hired me to be part of this live-stream telecast, celebrating the arrival of the vaccines to our state and its beleaguered healthcare staff.

Speaking of vaccines and Covid, many of my photography clients are still hesitant to schedule photo shoots during the pandemic. While I understand (and share) the caution, there are also very good protocols for creating safe photo shoots. Whether you need images for a new ad, or portraits of your team, or a story told for your publication, we remain ready to create a safe and enjoyable experience for you.

 

Keeping a Culture Alive

Just two weeks before the pandemic hit, I was photographing the Tibetan New Year festival in NE Portland.

I met Tsering Choephel through The Immigrant Story, a volunteer organization telling the stories of American immigrants. They were writing about her amazing life: she fled Tibet on foot, walking the mountain passes into Nepal just as the Chinese army was taking over her village.

After growing up in the mountains of Nepal, she emigrated to the US in 1976, and has built a life and family here. In Texas she promoted Tibetan culture via a food cart serving her special hot sauce and dumplings. She went back to school in her fifties to get a degree in Childhood Education. Today she continues to promote Tibetan culture through her work at Portland’s Tibetan Cultural Center, caring for her community of Tibetans living in exile.

She’s also coordinated three visits to Portland by the Dalai Lama.

“We never thought we would be in exile for so long. It has been 61 years,” says Choephel. “But we have survived as Tibetans and our language and culture are very precious to keep alive.”

“This is my duty. If I keep our culture alive, then my grandchildren will know what they need to know. If we keep our beliefs and customs, we will prevail in the end and be able to return to live in our traditional way again.”

The above image is included in the current exhibit Our Diversity is Our Strength, on display at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland.

 

Photographing for Oregon…Even in Arkansas

Loggers

I have a chainsaw that I use on my property, and while it’s made by Greenworks, the bar has the Oregon logo on it.  So I was familiar with their product when Jason, from Oregon, contacted me about doing a shoot for them.

Oregon is an Oregon-based company that produces blades, bars, and chains for chainsaws, mowers, harvesters, and other outdoor equipment.  Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been familiar with their products for years.  But it wasn’t until I met with Jason that I understood much about this international company.

We scheduled two photo shoots, working with real loggers on-site in Washington and Arkansas.  In SW Washington, we worked with a logging crew on a huge site.  While we usually think of loggers tromping around with chainsaws, the reality is that most work is done inside of huge, powerful machines.  I felt like I was photographing in a Transformers movie.

Arkansas?  Yep, they log in Arkansas.  More than half the state is forested, with primarily hardwood forests, but also pine.  So logging is big business there.  We spent a couple of days south of Little Rock, working with a local logging outfit, and a local supplier.  In spite of the rain (or perhaps because of it), we were able to capture these guys hard at work.  It was an enjoyable assignment, made all the better by the experience of southern hospitality, barbecue, and some beautiful scenery.

In Remembrance of Gert Boyle

It was with real sadness that I learned of the passing of Gert Boyle this week.  Not only has she been an Oregon icon as the owner (and public face) of Columbia Sportswear, but she was a feisty and generous woman that I had the privilege of working with on a couple of occasions.

Several years ago, during the Knight Cancer Challenge, I photographed Gert for OHSU’s fundraising campaign.  Not only was she fun to work with, but right in the middle of our photo shoot, she handed an envelope to Cancer Center director Brian Druker.  While I was standing there (actually, kneeling on the concrete…), she made a huge donation to the fundraiser to beat cancer.  It was a special moment I’ll never forget.

We were privileged to have Gert in Portland, and we’ll be reaping the benefits of her generosity for generations to come.

Gert Boyle OHSU

As part of the campaign, the art director had me recreate Gert’s famous “One Tough Mother” ad, but with the addition of Brian Druker, head of OHSU’s cancer research.  The main challenge: Gert was short and Brian is tall….

Forces of Change: Women in Cancer Research

I recently had the privilege of photographing 9 brilliant women in the studio.  They are doctors, surgeons, researchers, mentors, program directors, all of whom work in the field of cancer research.  And each one has a fascinating story to tell about how they came to be scientists, what new discoveries they’re making, and how it may affect the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the future.

As Mary Stenzel-Poore, chief of research operations at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, says, “Having a diverse workforce that includes these very strong, really brilliant women truly makes us better as an organization, and increases the odds of making significant breakthroughs that can and will stop cancer in its tracks.”

Read their stories and be inspired: https://www.onwardohsu.org/blog/detail/forces-change

 

Inspiring Kids, Inspiring Stories

Commercial photographer Portland baseball player

Telling people’s stories through powerful photographs: that’s what I love to do.  Especially when the stories are about kids who defy the odds…and win.  These stories are about more than the kids, of course.  The doctors, nurses, parents, friends, and family all work together to beat the odds for these kids.  It’s a privilege to work with all of these amazing people, and to tell their stories.

Want to know more?  View the stories of Bennett, Jordan, Penelope, and Lola here: www.onwardohsu.org/kids

 

Children photograph Portland

We were pleasantly surprised to see one of the images from this series of ads featured in New York City’s Times Square.  At seven stories tall, I’m pretty sure it’s the largest use of one of our images yet.

We’d love to tell your story.  Contact us today and see how our team of photography and video experts can help you defy the odds, too.

Jefferson Dancers 2019

Portland Dance Photography

Every year I have the privilege of working with the talented artists at the Jefferson Dancers to create their spring show poster. It’s always a fun collaboration, with a lot of creative freedom.  This year I wanted to capture someone upside down, to show the energy and strength of the amazing dancers.  So we did, and here is this year’s poster.

Their big shows at the Newmark Theater in downtown Portland are always pretty amazing.  If you’d like to get tickets, get them here!  https://www.portland5.com/newmark-theatre/events/jefferson-dancers

Here are a few images from past projects with the Jefferson Dancers:

Dancers on Portland waterfrontJefferson Dancers

Viva Las Vegas!

Editorial portrait of barista in Las Vegas

This past month I flew to Vegas to photograph for a political campaign client.  They focus on Latino voters in markets across the West Coast, which suits me well.  I’ve spent a lot of time in Latin America and can get by comfortably in Spanish.

These campaigns always focus on real people (not actors or models), usually in their businesses or homes.  It’s fast-paced editorial shooting, and I have to be quick on my feet to come up with good shots in short periods of time.  I flew down early on a Thursday, shot 4 setups, ate a fabulous dinner at Zuma on the Strip, photographed 3 more locations the next day, and flew home that evening.  Whew!

Some of the highlights of this photo assignment:

Photographing at the Havana Grill.  This Cuban-owned restaurant (we also photographed the owner at their sister restaurant on the Strip) is a venue for both food and fun.  When we arrived, the manager we were supposed to photograph didn’t show up.  So we pivoted.  We asked the hostess if we could work with her, and she agreed.  After hair and makeup touchups, I started working with her at the bar, and discovered quickly that this girl, unlike most of the folks on this assignment, was very comfortable in front of the camera.  I discovered that she’d modeled in Miami since the age of 7.  It was my lucky day.  Her presence in front of the camera, along with the bar scene and window light, created one of the stronger images of the assignment.

Editorial photo of Latino business in Las Vegas

The Llantera. Every time I photograph for this client, we end up shooting stills or video (or both) at a Llantera (a tire shop).  It seems to be an integral part of Latin culture.  While these guys at Michuacan Tires look gruff, they were actually very hospitable, as we worked around the shop in 100-degree weather.

Editorial photo of Latino couple in Las Vegas

The Family.  Family is also a hugely important part of Latin culture.  I had the privilege of working with this hard-working couple and their kids in their neighborhood in Las Vegas.  In one direction, over the roofs of the homes, we could see the towering casinos of the Las Vegas Strip, and in the other direction, the hills in the distance.  Working during the golden hour, we crafted some lovely portraits of them.  And I loved working in the dryer climate with its different hues and textures that are so very different from Oregon.

Editorial photo of Latino family in Las Vegas

View more of my editorial and portrait work on the website, and on my Instagram feed!

Two Gold Awards!

Healthcare photography

We were excited to hear that an ad campaign we photographed (above) received 2 Gold Awards this spring! Both the Aster Awards and the Healthcare Ad Awards awarded it a Gold medal.

Thanks to our friends at Gard Communications for excellent art direction, and for submitting the project! And thanks to our friends at the Doernbecher/OHSU Foundation for the chance to work on important projects like this. It’s an honor and privilege.

Read more about Kya’s fight for survival on our blog.

Up-and-Comer Dr Julie Graff

Portrait of Dr Julie Graff at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute

On the cover of OHSU’s magazine Onward, Dr Julie Graff.  She treats patients and leads a research study that has provided the first-ever evidence that immunotherapy can slow life-threatening prostate cancer.

We photographed Dr Graff in the infusion room at the Knight Cancer Institute, where her patients receive their treatment.  She had this to say about her clinical trial and its results:

When we started the study, we had no idea if this treatment would work at all. So it was exhilarating when our first patient went from having PSA levels of 80 to undetectable. (PSA stands for prostate-specific antigens, which become elevated in men with cancer.) We thought, this is a fluke. And then it happened four more times. It’s been amazing and the patients are extremely appreciative. I am grateful to the men who agreed to take a chance and participate in our clinical trial.

Read more about Dr Graff’s groundbreaking work with cancer and immunotherapy here and here.