Chef/Owners Zoe Hackett, Levi Hackett and Kat Liebman, Cocotte
Posts Tagged ‘portraits’
Chef/Owner Aaron Woo, Natural Selection
I guess you wouldn’t know it since what you mostly witness on leek soup are my food photos, but I absolutely love making portraits. As a photographer for Eater, I get to collect portraits of local chefs and restaurant general managers and I would be remiss if I didn’t reveal that these are some of the shoots I most look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the work I do for Eater. I mean, I get to photograph chefs in their natural habitat. I get to photograph chefs as they make a dish especially for Eater readers (which I almost always get to nibble on. Post shoot, of course). I get to photograph new restaurants before anyone else has even had a glimpse. I am a lucky gal, to be sure. But there’s something so intimate about portraits. Especially portraits of these public (or not so public) figures. No lights, no assistant with giant reflector. Just me and my chef, or GM, and a bit of beautiful light. Perfect.
This may be a bit of a new series on leek soup. Along the lines of “photograph of the day” but perhaps we’ll call it “portrait of the day”. What do you think?
This is Bobby, also known as Robert. He’s the only person in my world where I use his two names interchangeably for the only reason that it happens to fall out of my mouth one way or the other. Odd.
I’ve known Bobby for about 3 or so years now and he’s become one of my dearest friends. Soon to be graduating from PSU with a Computer Science degree (Bobby is my Mac guru) he asked if I would be willing to do his graduation portraits. Twist my arm.
Aside from photographing food, portraits are one of most favorite things to shoot. I love capturing someone’s personality in that ever so slight twinkle in their eye. Soon, I’ll have a website devoted to my portrait work and, as I’m still building that end of my portfolio, if any of my lovely readers out there would like a killer deal on a portrait session (I do babies and doggies too!), do send me a note.
Half the time, I swear we were just playing. There was a lot of “yeah, baby, yeah!” being shouted from both sides of the camera because, for some reason, that never gets old. I promise, if you hire me, I will do my darnedest to not let those words pass my lips :)
I wanted to share a handful of my favorite shots with you, but if you’re curious, you can view the whole wacky session here.
Some days you’re just lucky. The cutest little girls walk into your studio (ok, not my studio. Joni Kabana generously let me rent her studio for this shoot) and it all comes together. You do the math: Akasha (4, going on 15) and Keyara (2), fairy costumes, spring dresses and overflowing beauty.
Nothing like chasing little rainbow fairies around Joni’s beautiful studio with my camera. What fun!
For all its wonderfulness, Portland is everything but diverse. Named (somewhere) the whitest city in the United States, there still stands an ugly symbol of segregation in North Portland. I haven’t seen it, and, frankly, I don’t want to, but I’m told the old “white side, black side” sign continues to rear its ugly head as a reminder of how bad things used to be. Sometimes I wonder if that sign is still obeyed.
I grew up in the Bay Area and, although it’s been eleven years since I’ve lived there, I find I still long for a city where you pass all shades of brown while walking down the street. Don’t get me wrong, there are people of color here (and there), but in pockets. Head deep into north Portland, and you’ll come across black neighborhoods. Head deeper into southeast, and you’ll find the Latino community. I know there are Greek, Italian and Indian (native and country) neighborhoods in Portland, I just don’t know where they are. Yeah, it makes me a little sad.
Surprisingly, there is a culture in Portland that very much has a presence. And all you have to do is wander into any Whole Foods, take a look around and you’ll find the beautiful faces of Tibet. I won’t pretend to know that much about Tibetans. I probably know about as much as you. What I do know, that you may not, is that their traditions are very much alive in Portland and the community here is very tightly knit. I also know a little bit of what it took some of them to get here and away from Chinese violent oppression. Stories that will make your stomach cramp up and your heart weep. Stories that I wish I could share with you, and although I am privy to some of them, it would be wrong for me to share without proper consent. Know this however, it is as bad as you imagine it to be.
Then there’s our friend Lopsang. A beautiful Tibetan who grew up in India with a British education, and who is one interesting guy.
We’re just getting to know Lopsang and his stories air more on the side of naughty British schoolboy than trekking the Himalayas for 40 days without food or water, but interesting nonetheless. He recently dreaded his hair and it reminded me of a personal project I started about a year ago: portraits of people in their environment. I’ve been so deep into food photography that this project sort of fell by the wayside, you can see where I left off here. But what better way to pick it up again than with such and interesting face such as Lopsang’s?
If anyone else in Portland is interested in less traditional portraits, send me a note!
Some days you’re just lucky. Beauty falls in your lap and it asks you to make some pictures of it. That’s how I felt when Celeste and Estelle approached me for a few portraits they wanted made for their
Grandmother. Oops, the pictures are for their Mom!
Office ladies by day, ballerinas by night, their unique beauty made it easy. We were blessed with a grey but dry morning, and a little tromping in the mud in the beautiful park across the street from their flat gave us backdrops to spare.
I’ve never spent much time with twins. Honestly, they’ve always weirded me out a little. I’m not sure why. I’ve never even had a Diane Arbus curiosity about them, which surprises even me. But spending time with Celeste and Estelle has changed everything. I find I’m curious about twins now, but not in a freak-show sort of way. They have their own language, and, I found, their own individual beauty. I knew Celeste first, and I when I first met Estelle I thought I was talking to Celeste. I truly couldn’t tell them apart, and frankly, that made me a tiny bit uncomfortable. Mostly, I think, it was because I didn’t want to offend one by mistaking her for the other. Social faux pas, as it were. It’s funny what a little education can change.
My interest in twins has grown into a desire to explore not just their similarities, but their differences as well. The way Estelle’s mouth tenses a little more the Celeste’s when she talks. Or how Celeste’s eyes has a subtle street-smarts gaze that I didn’t notice in Estelle’s. At the same time, their postures and willowy bodies are mirrored in each other.
I hope my photography did them justice.
PS If there are any twins out there interested in exploring the more unique backdrops of Portland, please send me a note!
One of the cool things about Portland is that you just need to drive a little ways out of the city to find neighborhoods that all seem to have their own vibe. Be it hipster (Southeast), nouveau riche (Pearl), homey (Deep southeast), diverse (NoPo), or St. John’s, which is working class. When I drove through St. John’s on my way to meet a friend and his kids for some photo’s, there was something familiar and grounding about the neighborhoods. I grew up in a working class town surrounded by refineries that employed half the town. I hated it then, but I appreciate it now. St John’s is like that town. People working to make a living. No pretensions, not a lot of money, lot’s of family, and folks just being folks.
I met Ryan and his brood under the strikingly majestic St. John’s Bridge. Will, as Ryan puts it, never turns off adorable. I would agree. And Marilyn is just plain cool. She’s a seven-year old skateboarder who rides at the skate park with all the big boys. She runs, fishes and messes with her little brother just enough to keep him on his toes.
Here are some of my favorites from the shoot.