If you know anything about my work, you probably know that I’m a sucker for photos of kids at weddings. This past weekend’s wedding was no exception. Brian Howley and Sybil Weatherman were married at a family estate in Yamhill County. The light that day was awe-inspiring. There were probably about as many children as adults at the affair. Here are a few of them….
England, Kenya, Israel. Three continents, three cultures, three weeks.
While my work in these places was to photograph those I was there to serve (a medical relief team), my eye was constantly drawn to the local faces and façades.
Whether in Kenya, where the mud structures that have been built for millenia may begin to crumble in a few years; or London, where history crowds each street with magnificent stonework; or Israel, where rubble and ruins signify over 5000 years of culture; wherever you turn you see the texture of civilization.
In among these vestiges of the past, faces reveal themselves: at Hell’s Gate, in Ceasarea Philippi, the adolescent children of a kibbutz giggle and run rampant. In the slums of Eldoret, a woman caring for poor children speaks softly of her endeavors as she shows me her tiny schoolhouse. In Covington Garden, a young girl peers through the crowd at a street performer’s shtick.
While this is a disparate collection of images, there is the common element of the present interacting with the past: my feet on the Roman mosaic of Bet She’an, or a Kalingen elder draped in furs, or a Jewish man at the Wailing Wall with tallit and phylacteries talking on his cell phone. Past and present, stone and flesh, young and old, faces and façades.
Leslie and David are getting married in Astoria this summer. I’ll be there. She said that when she was researching northwest wedding photographers online, that my photographs made her cry. So she hired me. I like that.
Non-traditional engagement portraits. What more can I say? Beth and Willie are a hoot, and Oaks Park was the right place for some fun portraits. I won’t tell you what Congressman Willie works for. Partly because I can’t remember. But he’s really famous.
Did you know that Portland, Oregon, has an official flag? Do you know who designed it? I didn’t until now. The answer is: Douglas Lynch.
You may have seen his work around. He was commissioned, in the 1930s, to create mural panels for the Works Project Administration (WPA) at Timberline Lodge.
Some of his work is incorporated into Lynda Wysong’s installation at the Delta Park/Vanport Max Station.
And his flag, designed in 1969 (and revamped in 2002), flies at Portland City Hall, the Portland Building, Pioneer Courthouse Square and other locations.
And he still designs labels for a local vintner, updating annually a label he first designed several decades ago.
Douglas and his sweet wife Alix still live in the same house they’ve had for fifty years, sitting inconspicuously right off busy NW 23rd. It’s filled with their collections of books, folk art, and music–more LPs than I’ve ever seen in one person’s collection.
Over his 94 years, Douglas has worked as a commercial artist (back before the term ‘graphic arts’ even existed), taught for 30 years at the Museum Art School (having graduated from there in the 1930s…he has some interesting stories to tell about it’s history…), was the president of the Portland Art Commission, and more.
At 90 years old, Portland artist Eunice Parsons has more spunk than many 60 year olds I know. She also has one of the finest handshakes of any woman I’ve met; her fingers, curved with age, fit my hand like a glove. Like most of the senior Portland artists I’ve photographed in this series, she has a lot of stories, knows a lot of people, and has produced a lot of work.
Eunice is a well-known collage artist; you can see some of her work here, at the 12×16 Gallery. (She also has a show and lecture this month at the Helzer Gallery at PCC Rock Creek.) She is known and adored by her many students, from her many years teaching at the Museum Art School (now PNCA) and PSU, many of whom still visit her in her West Hills home and studio. This year, she is being honored, along with a select few others, as a Faculty Emeritus at PNCA.
Up in her attic studio, Eunice seems to melt right into the floor. She kneels to work on collages she constructs from boxes and boxes of collected and sorted materials, setting antique irons atop them to help them dry flat. As she talks, her face is animated, and as she makes a point, her face lights up and her eyes sparkle.
I could have stayed several more hours, talking and photographing, if I weren’t so allergic to her dogs and cats….
My seat-mate Ela. We talked at length about Israel, her life there, her family, the Arab-Israeli conflict, her 2 years in the IDF, school, safety, etc. It was helpful to get an idea of regular life in Israel. A sweet girl with a lovely accent. Of all the places I’ve taken portraits, this was the first on an airplane at twenty-some-thousand feet….
We’ve been in Jerusalem for several days, and while the city is overwhelming, it’s also fascinating. As with most of Israel, literally layers up on layers of history are beneath every step you take here.
The Temple Mount is a far more massive space than I’d ever imagined. It is quite disappointing to have Muslim mosques on top of a spot that has such significance for Jews (and Christians). Such tension is apparent in much of Israel. The above photo was taken there. I think it’s kind of a bizarre picture, but I guess that’s fitting.
As is the case in most of the world, one thing tends to diffuse tension and unite cultures: playing children. I caught these kids talking and playing near the exit from the Temple Mount into the Muslim Quarter.
Perhaps the most well-known and well-loved places in Jerusalem: the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall, for the Jews who pray loudly there). Many people–Jew and Gentile alike–come here to pray, hope, and stuff written prayers into the cracks of this 2000 year old edifice. The wall is the western portion of the incredible Temple Mount built by Herod; each one of these hand-hewn stones weighs multiple tons a piece. (We were shown one that weighs as much as a fully-loaded Boeing 747….)
Not only is the Western Wall courtyard a place for prayers, it is a popular place for Bar Mitzvahs. At any given time 5 or 8 were in process. Here you see women (on the women’s side of the courtyard) watching and participating in the Bar Mitzvahs on the men’s side.
And then you have the Sukh. Throughout the Old City (the castle-walled portion of Jerusalem framed in during the Crusades) are narrow streets of narrow shops selling all kinds of goods: spices, candies, jewelry, electronics, shoes, fresh juices, etc. etc. Above: a shopkeeper opening his shop door; below, a woman purchasing candies.
While I’m taking an afternoon to ‘rest’ here in Jerusalem, I’m still editing photographs taken in Kenya last week. Here is a selection of images I am enjoying:
A little still life from Pastor Esther’s church building.
For the most part, Kenyans walk, bike, or bus everywhere. Like so much of the world, they display an amazing ingenuity in their ability to pack great quantities of goods on the back of very small vehicles….
Want to see some exceptional photos of wild animals in their native habitat? Go to the library and check out a National Geographic book. This, above, is among the best offered to me at the Nairobi game park in the middle of the day with my heavy-lidded eyes. Actually, I did get a handful of fine images from this safari.