Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tequila Morning

Back in 1998, I won a fellowship, which allowed me to travel to Mexico to research a play I was working on. It wasn't a photographic deal, but I certainly didn't want to go there without a camera, so I bought a neat little Nikon point and shoot...I forget the model. As a lifelong Canon user, it's the only Nikon I ever owned, and it was a sweet little bugger. This was taken on a bright, hazy morning in Cuernavaca and then toned in PhotoShop to give it a kind of amber feel...much like the color of a very popular Mexican beverage...given that the subject was a cantina. I meant to return and partake of said when the sun got over the yardarm, but I never made it back to this very Old Mexico establishment. A couple years later, impulsively, my sister-in-law gave me her medium-format Yashica twin-lens reflex, and I insisted she take the Nikon. Hate to admit it, but it was a damn good camera.

Monday, April 21, 2008

On the Boulevard*

This was a grab shot, just a candid on the street, but I was struck by the contrast between the young couple and the older man. It seemed to spark stories. Why was he turning away? What was he thinking? Was he remembering? Was it pleasant or painful? Or was he even noticing at all? Maybe he was just trying to hear on his cell phone. Perhaps he was in his own world and never even noticed them. They certainly seem to be in their own universe. Sometimes, on the street, we seem to be ghosts to one another; if we're even noticed, strangers become vessels into which we pour projections rather than actual people.

Tech: Canon PowerShot IS S3.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Painted Wall

More of my fascination with textures and form, I suppose. What was it Ezra Pound said? "Make it new." He was talking about writing, of course, but that idea of looking at something you've seen a million times and seeing it in a new way. Very difficult. Very, very difficult. Once in a great while, you stumble onto something, which is why you keep shooting, writing, working. Because you don't get there if you don't try. Most of the time, you fail. I didn't do it here, but it's still an image that pleases me. Guess because it means you're in the game.

Tech: Canon T-90, Fuji Velvia.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Portland Dawn*

Just a simple street scene. Construction was being done nearby, hence the dust in the air, and warm light of morning turned it to gold.

Tech: Canon PowerShot IS S3

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blue Bell Tobacco*

This sink and sign are in a small Portland pub that specializes in cigars and port wines. This was an early summer afternoon, the light very soft and nice, and it felt like being transported to some Southern roadhouse. "Have me some Blue Bell, thank you." "That'll be two bits." "Damn. Prices goin' up like corn." "Not my corn." "No, not like your corn. Buy this boy a drink." And so on....

Tech: Canon PowerShot IS S3.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The gunnera has huge, leathery leaves up to three feet across and has been nicknamed "dinosaur food." When it blooms, it sends up an arm-thick stalk with something like a pinecone on top. A very weird plant. A walk through a patch of gunneras feels like a page from "The Lost World." This one was shot in overcast light at Portland's Crystal Springs Rhodedendron Gardens, one of my favorite places to shoot.

Tech: Leica M3, Ilford Delta 100, souped in DDX, printed on Ilford Cooltone.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Velvet Lounge*

A slightly foggy morning, a slightly foggy feel: welcome to the Velvet Lounge.

Tech: Canon Powershot IS S3.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Overcast days (of which we have many in the Northwest) bring out detail, particularly in black & white. This was shot at Crystal Springs Rhodedendron Gardens in Portland.

Tech: Leica M3, Ilford Delta 100, developed in DDX, printed on Ilford Cooltone paper.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Japanese Maple in Rain

On a foggy, rainy morning in spring, this was shot at Portland's Japanese Gardens. The light was filtered due to the fog. I kept having to wipe the camera lens because it would mist over. This reminds me of Hemingway's line about gardens in Paris during the winter when "the trees turned to sculpture."

Tech: Leica M3, Ilford Delta 100, developed in DDX, printed on Ilford Warmtone and selenium toned.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Old Portland

A taste of the city's old style, the Guild's been around for years and has been the site of the Portland International Fringe Theatre Festival. I remember seeing "Do the Right Thing" here one steaming hot summer afternoon just after I'd moved back from New York/New Orleans, and I couldn't decide whether I was in agony over leaving the Apple or relieved to be out of the pressure cooker. I love the Northwest Noir feel of these older buildings, even though everything on the West Coast was built fifteen minutes ago compared to Europe or even Gotham.

Tech: Leica M3, Kodak Tri-X developed in DDX and printed on Ilford Warmtone paper.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Flowers have been done and done and done in photography, from Cunningham to Mapplethorpe, and done well, so it's a challenge to try and see them in a new way. I'm a rabid (beyond avid) gardener, and I have plenty of subjects to choose from once the yard wakes up from winter, but I've always had an affinity to poppies: their flowers are here then gone, crepe paper that leads to pods full of hundreds of tiny seeds (the ones gracing your scone come from the infamous opium poppy, though they have but a trace of the alkaloids that made that poppy notorious). The Shirley poppies are a sport of Papaver rhoeas, the common field poppy, that was collected by a vicar in England. He gathered the seed, planted it, and continued to collect it as the variations became more bizarre and outrageous. Now, there are untold oddball Shirley poppies out there in all different colors and with unusual patterns. A single packet of seeds provides more unusual flowers than you can imagine. And the flowers last but two days. I spent a fair amount of time last summer shooting Shirley poppies, and it's hard to believe they spring from the same plant sometimes. This is one of the better images, I think. This year, I'm sure I'll be out in garden again, manuevering my tripod and exposing for maximum detail.

Tech: Canon IS S3.

*Note: I've yet to set prices, but images denoted with an asterisk will be available for purchase, probably as unmounted inkjet prints.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Fan*

A co-worker of mine kept this fan in the window of her office, and one clear morning, the light was shining through it in a way I liked. I notice more and more, I'm photographically drawn to geometric shapes and textures..."surfaces" if you the point where I'm thinking about putting together a series on "surfaces." A photographer friend and I were talking about influences, and I realized that I've been partially influenced by painters like Mondrian, Pollock, and Hopper. God, do I love Hopper's light.

Tech: Canon Powershot IS S3.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Blue Weather*

An appropriate image for today's weather. Not much to say about it except I'd just been handed my coffee, turned around, and there it was. As Northwest Noir as it gets.

Tech: Canon PowerShot S3.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Brugmansia Blossoms

Brugmansias and daturas are tropical plants with spectacular, funnel-shaped flowers as much as a foot long and eight-inches across, ranging from scarlets to pale purples to brilliant whites (like these). These flowers were about eight-inches long and five inches across, taken on a shaded patio with the light behind them. This particular image won a photo contest in the Portland Oregonian and was published, and a collector contacted me and bought a print. To my mind, I think one of the things that gives this plant an unusual mystique is that all parts of it are powerfully hallucinogenic and, in too high a dose, deadly. Of course, you can't see that in a photograph, but the plants have a weird kind of energy about them and a peculiar musty odor that, depending on the person's taste, is disagreeable or fascinating. The blossoms themselves give off quite a sweet scent at night.

Tech: Canon T-90, Ilford Delta 400 film, DDX developer, printed on Ilford RC Warmtone and selenium toned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Peace Rally

This was shot five long years ago, at a Portland peace rally protesting the beginning of the Iraq War. To me, the reporter in the foreground and the guy looking over his shoulder makes the shot; weren't we all kind of looking over our shoulders at that time, in the Kingdom of Fear?

Tech: Shot with a Canon T-90, Ilford Delta 400 film, probably souped in Ilford DDX. Scanned from a selenium-toned print on Ilford Warmtone.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I took this when I was sixteen. In many ways, I feel like it's my first real photograph. I took some others at the time that were technically proficient, but this is the first one I can remember that felt like a whole image. I can still feel the rush in my throat when I uncurled the negatives from the developing reel and saw this held to the light, the ranges of tones and the strong diagonal. The light's a little blown out on the center rock, and there's a scratch on the negative because I didn't take care of images the way I try to do now, and, of course, it has the influence of Edward Weston and Ansel Adams splattered all over it, but it's still an image I look upon fondly. The location is Deer Creek in Southern Oregon; the time looks to be spring; in summer, the creek goes dry. In winter, it's a river.

Tech: Shot with a Canon TX (about the most basic SLR you can imagine) on Tri-X, which was my film of choice for years. No idea what it was developed with. Scanned from a print on Ilford Cooltone paper.