Here’s what we’ve been up to…

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.

Portland Maker Harlan Whitman

Portland Makers Photographer

I get to meet some very interesting, very talented people as a photographer/videographer.  While photographing for the Portland Makers series at ADX Portland, I met metalsmith Harlan Whitman, grinding away in his booth.

Actually, he’s more than a metalsmith.  His main work is as a fabricator for Universal Studios in LA.

Harlan has a degree in Industrial Design, and you can find him making custom knives at ADX, fabricating sets for Universal Studios in LA, or racing his custom-built SinCycle gravity bikes around the US.  (He’s broken several downhill speed records with his innovative cycles.)  Harlan continues to fabricate weaponry, bicycles, and puppetry, and is enthusiastic about tackling any design project his creative clients can dream up.

Portland Makers photos

Check out his beautiful knives, slingshots, and other beautiful items on his website Ooake Forge, and see for yourself!

Portraits of Portland makers

The Comeback Kid: Award-Winning Advertising

Portland magazine advertising photographer

Kya Blake was struck by a sneaker wave, buried under a log…and lived to tell about it.

Here’s what my client, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, had to say about Kya’s story:

Nothing stops Kya Blake. When she was seven, an ordinary trip to the beach almost killed her. A sneaker wave buried her under a log. Kya’s skull was fractured, her heart stopped and her lungs filled with sand. First responders described her as lifeless.

But nothing stops OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital either. When Kya arrived by life flight, a world-class team of doctors and nurses flew into action. After ten days, the 7-year-old girl who wouldn’t quit opened her eyes, beginning the road to recovery.

See more of Kya’s story at the OHSU/Doernbecher website.

Telling stories that inspire others to give…this is what we live for.

May 2018 Update: I’m honored to have received 2 Gold awards for this advertising campaign, from the Aster Awards and the Healthcare Ad Awards.  Many thanks to Gard Communications, ad agency for this project, for submitting to these awards, and congratulations to the entire team for the recognition of the hard work put into it!

Authentic portraits real peopleAuthentic Portrait Photographer Oregon

This’ll get your heart going: OHSU, LifeFlight, and ECMO

Healthcare video OHSU Life Flight

Did you know there’s a portable machine that can perform the function of both your heart and your lungs, and that it’s about the size of a breadbox?  And that it costs about as much as a Mercedez?  And that very few hospitals have them?

Let’s say you have life-threatening heart and lung problems, and you’re at a small hospital in Alaska.  And you’re not going to make it.  What do you do?

Well, you hope your doctor has watched our video.  In it, he’ll discover that an OHSU doctor and nurse will fly to Alaska on LifeFlight, hook you up to their ECMO machine, and fly you back to OHSU in Portland, where they’ll give you the treatment that you need.  It’s that simple.

I love telling stories like this.  Being able to help save lives, and work with incredible people, to create a video and stills is super rewarding.  Especially when it involves working in an airplane.

Watch the video here:

Photo of hospital patient on ECMOPhoto of patient with LifeFlight crewPhotograph of patient in LifeFlight airplanePhoto of recovering patient in hospital

China & Tibet Photography Tour

Portrait of Chinese princess

How would you like to spend 10 days photographing in Tibet and China with me? Wake up in luxury lodgings every day, and enjoy amazing vistas, real people, behind-the-scenes access to traditional Tibetan artisans, delicious food, and one-on-one photo mentoring.

My fine art and commercial photography have taken me around the world, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.  I love mentoring photographers and artists right where they are in their journey. All skill levels and types of photography are welcome.  It’s a chance to travel, make friends, and learn to see in new ways.

Want to come? Consider this your personal invitation. I’d love to have you.

It’s Jun. 5 – 15, 2018, and it’s surprisingly affordable. Learn more at the link below, and take advantage of the limited-time discount if you book early!

Authentic travel portrait photography


Our Scars Don’t Define Us

Black and white portrait of burn victim

Many of you know that I spent about 10 years working on a series called Skeleton in the Closet, telling the stories of people with eating disorders.  I also spent another several years working on Astra Velum, exploring how women often feel that their freckles are flaws.  I wanted to show them as something beautiful.

So it seemed a natural fit for me to work with Indira on her project Blissful13.  When she called me up, she explained that she’d experienced severe burns on her body as a toddler in Bosnia, and has lived with the consequences ever since.  She tells her story like this:

Friday the 13th, April 1984 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Exactly 6 months from my birthday. My mother made every day’s usual – turkish coffee and had intentions to enjoy spring sunny morning. She set the coffee on the table and walked towards the balcony to direct a delivery person what to do with the big truck full of crap – yes literally it was some kind of garden soil. She saw me follow her in a walking stroller but since I couldn’t make it past the door I turned around and decided to flip the tray of hot coffee onto myself instead. My mother immediately put me under the cold running water, took my baby clothes off and called for help to be taken to the hospital. At the local hospital they have given her pediatric IV to feed me with a spoon and sent her to another hospital in Croatia where I was hospitalized for two months.

Intimage portrait of burn victimArtistic portrait of burn victim

After a lifetime of hiding her scars, Indira wanted to go public.  To reveal them.  And in doing so, to help others.

This is me being raw with you, at 33 years old, and for the first time publicly revealing my scars and sharing my journey in hopes to inspire and encourage others. Or simply to say that life doesn’t end here nor do our scars define us. It took time and hard work to come to this point in my life, I finally came to terms with the label – Burn Survivor. I have learned to accept my 3rd degree burns, I don’t love them. However, if this second chapter of my journey provides some comfort to you, I am very certain that I will eventually learn to love them. It is time we look beyond our scars and start truly living and showing the world our worth and what we have to offer.

Photo portrait of burn victimVibrant portrait of burn victim

I was so honored to be able to spend several hours with her in the studio, creating something beautiful out of something many would want to hide.  I have so much respect for Indira and her courage and beauty, and am really proud to have my photographs featured on her new website,    You’ve got to check it out.  It’s beautiful.

Portrait of runner in Portland OregonPortrait of runner stretching in Portland, Oregon

Portland Razor Company: Handmade in Oregon

Location Portrait photography of Portland Maker at Portland Razor Co

As part of my Portland Makers portrait series, I recently visited the very cool offices of Portland Razor Company.  I wanted to see firsthand how they handmake their straight razors and strops, and to capture the process on film.

To me, Portland Razor exemplifies the spirit of the Portland ‘Maker’: locally handcrafted items, made at the highest level, resurrecting an age-old craft in the modern era.  And marketed really smartly.  To quote their tagline, they truly are “On the cutting edge of antiquity.”

Environmental portraits of Portland Makers at Portland Razor Co

Scott Miyako and Alex Pletcher started Portland Razor Co together, and have grown it into a very respectable little company.   To quote them:

Portland Razor Co. handcrafts modern straight razors and shaving supplies in Portland, OR using high quality materials and traditional manufacturing techniques. We are here to supply all of the essential tools and knowledge you need to never throw another razor into the trash again. We believe that straight razors can enrich your life beyond providing a terrific shave.  The straight razor demands respect and responsibility: treat the blade well and it will treat you well.  Carry this same responsibility with you into the world and wonderful things can happen.

Photography of Portland Makers at Portland Razor Co

Hunter Lea (shown here working on a walnut scale) is their lead bladesmith.  He showed me the process of making a blade and scale, from raw steel to shipping to their loyal customers.  It’s a fascinating process, to take raw materials and finish them into exquisitely beautiful and superbly functional objects.

Photography of making a razor at Portland Razor CoPhotography of making a razor at Portland Razor Co

The day I was at the shop in SW Portland, they were just finishing up their very cool Portland Shave Shop.  Set up in the front of their shop, you can schedule a shave with some of the best barbers in town, in a classic barber shop setting, using PRC’s razors.

Be sure to check out their website (artfully designed and maintained by Alex herself): Portland Razor Co.

And then be sure to contact me about telling the story of your beautiful business.

The Superhero Bride

Bridal Fashion Photography PortlandHaving been a professional photographer for nearly 2 decades, I’ve picked up a lot of wisdom along the way.  A few times a year, I have the opportunity to share this wisdom with students wanting to learn about portrait photography, location lighting, and the ins-and-outs of being a professional photographer.  And I absolutely love it.  I love the teaching, but I also love the images we get to create in each class.  With no particular assignment from a client, I have the freedom to concoct whatever scenario I want, and use it as a teaching opportunity.  So I try to come up with some fun location portrait photography ‘assignment’ for the class, and run with it.

In one of my classes at Pacific Northwest College of Art, one of my students was the director of Portland’s Japanese Garden.  One day, he generously offered to let us photograph in the Garden, after hours, as a class.  Now, this is a big deal, because you can’t just take 15 people into the Japanese Garden and start setting up a bunch of lights and gear and models and props.  You can’t even walk in and take portraits.  Unless the Director is a student of yours, and is generous.  And he was.

So we had a couple hours before dark to photograph in this beautiful space.  And I thought: why not pair an elegant bride (with some references to Japanese style in the dress and hair) with a goofy superhero wannabe?  And that’s exactly what we did.  The lovely Lauren Gilbertson modeled for us, and here are a couple of the resulting images.

Belinda, Louis, Zenzo, and HIV

editorial portrait photographer portland

Belinda Beresford with a keepsake from South Africa

Belinda Beresford tells the story of sitting for two days with a woman in Zimbabe, dying of AIDS: “…We sat with her, and her family, cleaning her, trying to moisten her mouth, and bleakly aware that the only thing we could give was human contact to a traumatized family. The dead woman’t youngest children cried openly, the eldest ones tried to hide their tears.”

She went on to write about her experience in The Guardian, which led, in time, to more HIV/AIDS activism. And to adoption.

“I was approached by a woman who ran a refuge for HIV-positive women and their children in Johannesburg. I asked about a child I had seen previously while doing a story. ‘His parents are dead, he needs a home, will you take him?’ she asked. I wasn’t looking for another child, I had a young son of my own. But here was something else I could do. Help one child, even as I hadn’t been able to help the many other children I had seen.”

That child is her son Zenzo. Zenzo was lucky: he did not contract HIV because his biological mother had the foresight to use what was then a controversial antiretroviral therapy. He is now a senior in high school, who lives with his mom and her husband, HIV-vaccine all-star Louis Picker.  I had the privilege of photographing their family recently, at their home in Portland, for the current issue of Onward magazine. Read more of Belinda and Louis’s stories to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis here.

editorial portrait photographer portland

Belinda and Zenzo in the magazine Onward.

portland editorial portrait photographer

Louis Picker relaxes at home with his dog