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In the Frame 3: Lens on artists

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Text and Photographs by K.B. Dixon

Photography essentially began as the art of portraiture. With the daguerreotype the portrait—previously painted and available only to an aristocratic few—became relatively inexpensive and available to everyone. John Szarkowski, the legendary director, curator, and poohbah-emeritus at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, noted in Looking at Photographs (his survey of the museum’s extensive collection) that “of the countless thousands of daguerreotypes that survive, not one in a hundred shows a building or a waterfall or a street scene.” What they show is “an endless parade of ancestors.”

The portraits here are part of an ongoing project titled In the Frame—a parade not of ancestors, but of the talented and dedicated people who have made significant contributions to the art, character, and culture of this city and state.

As with the previous portraits in this series, I have tried to produce a decent photograph—a photograph that acknowledges the medium’s allegiance to reality; that preserves for myself and others a unique and honest sense of the subject; that provides the viewer additional context that enriches, however infinitesimally, the viewer’s experience, understanding, and appreciation of the work these people have done and are doing.

Taken in situ—that is, in the subject’s natural habitat—these are not formal portraits but casual ones, portraits that rely on a mystical synthesis of time, light, form, and feeling. No assistants, studio lights, make-up artists, hair stylists, set designers, costumers, animal handlers, or Photoshop retouchers were involved.

 


 

Kim Stafford

Sponsor

PCS Clyde’s

Oregon’s Poet Laureate. Director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College.

 


 

Sherrie Wolf

Nationally known artist. Painter of complex, historically referenced still lifes.

 


 

LaRhonda Steele

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

Portland’s First Lady of the Blues.

 


 

Kerry Tymchuk

Executive Director of the Oregon Historical Society.

 


 

José Gonzalez

Executive Director and Co-Founder with his wife, Dañel Malan, of the Miracle Theatre Group aka Milagro.

 


 

Sponsor

WESTAF Shoebox Arts

Curtis Salgado

Musician, singer, and songwriter.

 


 

Carrie Strickland

Founding Principal Architect of Works Progress Architecture, designers of the Slate building, the Flatiron building, and many others.

 


 

Paul King and Walter Jaffe

Sponsor

WESTAF Shoebox Arts

Founders of White Bird, a nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in dance.

 


 

John Helmer III

Third-generation owner of John Helmer Haberdasher aka “the hat store.” Established in 1921, it is a sanctuary for classic fashion.

 


 

Laura Hadden

Executive Producer of Live Wire, OPB’s radio variety show. Independently produced in Portland, it can be heard around the country.

 

Sponsor

WESTAF Shoebox Arts


 

Kevin Sampsell

Author, Editor, and Publisher of Future Tense Books.

 


 

Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson

Co-Founder with Tres Shannon of the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts.

 


 

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

Previously in the series:

  • IN THE FRAME: ELEVEN MEN. Portraits of leading figures ranging from the late Claymation master Will Vinton to the Hollywood Theatre’s Doug Whyte and jazz drummer Mel Brown. 
  • IN THE FRAME: ELEVEN WOMEN. Portraits of leading figures ranging from Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak to abstract painter Lucinda Parker and novelist Monica Drake. 

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Photo Joe Cantrell

K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and journals. His most recent collection of stories, Artifacts: Irregular Stories (Small, Medium, and Large), was published in Summer 2022. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the winner of both the Next Generation Indie Book Award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award. He is the author of seven novels: The Sum of His SyndromesAndrew (A to Z)A Painter’s LifeThe Ingram InterviewThe Photo AlbumNovel Ideas, and Notes as well as the essay collection Too True, Essays on Photography, and the short story collection, My Desk and I. Examples of his photographic work may be found in private collections, juried exhibitions, online galleries, and at K.B. Dixon Images.

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