K.B. Dixon

 

NW amble: high style in the Gorge

At Hood River's little-known Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum, three and a half acres of classic cars, trucks, and planes shine

Essay and Photographs by K.B. Dixon

The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (which has branded itself with the stuttering acronym WAAAM) sits right next door to the Hood River Airport. It is one of the Columbia Gorge’s newer treasures. Housed in a hangar complex behind a distinctly unpretentious facade, the museum has one of the largest collections of antique aeroplanes and cars in the country. Most have been beautifully restored. Most are in working order.

Founded in 2006 by Terry Brandt as a home for his personal collection of cars and planes (a collection that took more than 50 years to build), the museum opened to the public in 2007. It continues to grow gathering additional exhibits for preservation and display from other collectors.

WAAM from the outside: hidden gem in Hood River.

The museum—which also contains work and event spaces—is huge. It covers more than 3.5 acres. It is packed with mechanical wonders. In addition to the hundreds of antique cars and planes, you will find tractors, gliders, motorcycles, military vehicles, memorabilia, and more. It is managed by its preternaturally affable staff and its director, Judy Newman, with an informal, small-town friendliness that seems itself from another era. The primary focus everywhere is on functional machinery. As the various volunteers responsible for the day-to-day operation of the place are inordinately fond of saying, “The items on display…are not only full of history, they’re full of LIFE!” (Caps and exclamation point obligatory.)

Continues…

Photo First: Saturday Market

Portland's iconic open-air market, the largest of its kind in the nation, is a bustling village of arts and crafts and people-watching in the city

Portland Saturday Market (which is, of course, open on Sundays as well) is a sort of curated street fair. Founded in 1974 by Sheri Teasdale and Andrea Scharf as a support for local artisans, it has grown over the years into the largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market in the United States. This is its 45th season, and it’s open most of the year, from March through Christmas Eve.

Incorporated as a special class of institution, the market (nonprofit) is governed by its members (for profit). At present there are about 250 booth spaces available every weekend. With more than 400 members, a steady stream of newcomers, and occasional participants, the mix of vendors is never quite the same on any given day. These vendors offer an amazing array of items—audio recordings, earrings, coffee mugs, sculptures, drawings, musical instruments, leatherwork, cat toys, curious cabinetry, jams and jellies, walking sticks, and more.

  Saturday Market is a bustling village inside the city.

Everything for sale at the market, which sprawls along Southwest Naito Parkway in Old Town south of the Steel Bridge, has been handmade by the people selling it. Each individual vendor has gone through a rigorous vetting process to assure compliance with market standards that focus heavily on artistic involvement and quality of craftsmanship.

Continues…

Photo First: The Albany Carousel

In the Willamette Valley, a small city gets a new central attraction and a thing of beauty to keep nostalgic visitors going round and round

ALBANY — Every small town wants something to put it on the map. Now, after fifteen years of hard work, Albany has that something—a remarkable new carousel.

This project, which is called the Albany Carousel over its entrance and is officially named the Historic Carousel & Museum, is the brainchild of Wendy Kirby. She has shepherded it from inspiration to installation in a perfectly designed new building at the center of the city. It is destined to be exactly what it was hoped it would be—the anchor of a downtown revitalization.

The carousel is built on a 1909 mechanical base that was donated to the project by the Dentzel family (famous in the carousel world) and was meticulously restored over a period of ten years. It is populated by a menagerie of stunning animals, both real and imagined—horses, of course, but also lions, tigers, elephants, hippocampus, and dragons. Each has been hand-carved and hand-painted by local volunteers.

In addition to the carousel the building houses a gift shop, various meeting spaces, and a café, but it is downstairs in the carving studio where the visitor is offered a unique experience, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of these fantasies—a chance to gain insight into the processes whereby a tree trunk becomes a unicorn. A single figure takes about 1,500 hours to carve and another 700 hours to paint. There are thirty animals on the carousel at the moment, with room for twenty-some more.

Peter Daulton, a special-effects artist with Industrial Light & Magic (think Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc., etc.) has completed a documentary about the project, Ride, that has been airing on PBS stations across the country.

For the cost of a token ($2) you can revisit your childhood.

Continues…

In the Frame: Eleven Women

In photographic portraits, K.B. Dixon captures the essence in black and white of eleven people who've helped shape Portland's creative soul

Not too long ago I published a piece titled In the Frame: Eleven Men, which included portraits of eleven men. This is the second part of that In the Frame project: eleven women. As with the first installment, the faces here are those of talented and dedicated people who have contributed in significant ways to the character and culture of Portland, people who make this city what it is, people whose legacies are destined to be part of our cultural history.

Why eleven? I originally answered this question jokingly, saying “why not—it was the atomic number of sodium, the number of players on a football team, the number of thumb keys on a bassoon.” I suggested this capricious choice was some sort of salutary exercise, a confrontation with a personal bias in favor of symmetry. It was, in fact, the product of capitulation—of surrender to a troublesome temperament. The return to the number eleven here is simply a nod to this serendipitous template and to equity.

As with the previous set of portraits, I have tried to produce first a decent photograph—a truthful record, one that honors the unique strength of the medium. I have tried also to produce one that is more than just a simple statement of fact, one that preserves for myself and others a brief glimpse of the being behind the image. These are not formal portraits, but casual ones—portraits that offer, I hope, some of the authentic intimacy that only a guileless reality affords.

 


Barbara Roberts

 

First woman to be elected Governor of Oregon; Associate Director at Portland State University’s School of Government Executive Leadership, and Member of Portland’s Metro Council.

Continues…

Photo First: The Pride Parade

The Portland Pride Parade is just around the corner, and K.B. Dixon's had his lens on the annual march for years. A portrait in photographs.

The Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade is coming up on Saturday, June 9, which means summer in Portland can’t be far behind—but more importantly, it means the Portland Pride Parade can’t be far behind. An extravagant, glitter-dusted celebration of LGBTQ culture, it offers a little something for everyone—horses, motorcycles, bands, drill teams, and drag queens.

Evolving from a small march of 200 intrepid souls back in 1977 to a parade with more than 8,000 participants last year, this flashy pageant has become the centerpiece of a Pride Week that includes a two-day Waterfront Festival. With the increasing acceptance come sponsors, and with sponsors come dollars, and with dollars come more floats and feathered boas. A list of this year’s guarantors (Intel, Alaska Airlines, Fed Ex, U.S. Bank, etc., etc.) will give you a good idea of the progress that has been made over the years. Being on the right side of history, it seems, is just good business.

The fight against discrimination in all of its myriad forms is a founding principle. It is more important now than ever given the creeping cretinism of contemporary times.

However serious the underlying message, organizers have never let it get in the way of the fun. A gaudy and grandiose homage to civil rights, the parade is basically a moving party. It’s about looking spectacular and having a good time—about kinetic energy and saturated color. It is a character-building challenge to the black-and-white photographer.

This year’s Portland Pride Parade will be on Sunday, June 17, beginning at 11 a.m. Below, several scenes from past Pride Parades:

“Thumbs Up,” 2013

“Motorcycle,” 2013

Continues…