Essay and photographs by K.B. DIXON
A good picture tells a story, and nothing tells a story better—more eloquently, more efficiently—than the human face. The story these eleven faces tell, in part, is Portland’s. These are talented and dedicated people who have contributed in significant ways to the character and culture of this city, people whose legacies are destined to be part of our cultural history.
Why eleven? Why not? It is the atomic number of sodium, the number of players on a football team, the number of thumb keys on a bassoon. I am a retentive sort with a bias in favor of symmetry who prefers numbers that divide evenly by two. I thought I would challenge myself. If the helping professions are to be believed, it is a way for one to grow.
With each portrait it has been my hope to produce first a decent photograph—a truthful record, one that honors the unique strength of the medium; but I have also sought to produce a photograph 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, one that presents a feeling as well as a form.
Soon I hope to be doing portraits of eleven Portland women. I have written to the President & CEO of one of our major cultural institutions, but she has not gotten back to me. Ms X, if you’re listening…. The portraits will be black & white, casual, available light, and done, ideally, in your office or work space. (My style is pretty straightforward as you can see—a nondenominational mix of street, fine art, and documentary photography.) Time, I know, is always an issue so I try to keep the intrusion to a minimum—30 minutes or so. Please let me know if you would be interested. We could set up a shoot at your convenience.
Oscar-winning filmmaker. Vinton was a pioneer in stop-action animation. He is the head of Vinton Entertainment.
Executive Director of Hollywood Theatre, a historic Portland landmark showing classic and contemporary films.
Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for Willamette Week.
Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum.
Legendary jazz drummer. Brown has played with Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and many more. He is known as the face of jazz in Portland.
Owner of Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.
Eccentric mayor of Portland from 1985 to 1992 and owner of the Goose Hollow Inn.
Owner of Music Millennium, Portland’s oldest record store and for decades now the backbone of the local music scene.
Owner of Froelick Gallery and one of the central figures in the Portland arts community.
Executive Director of Literary Arts—the home of Portland Arts and Lectures, the Oregon Book Award, Wordstock, and more.
Walter Cole aka Darcelle
Owner of Darcelle XV. Cole (Darcelle) is the oldest performing female impersonator in America.
Novelist and photographer K.B. Dixon’s most recent contribution to ArtsWatch was Portland’s Grand Central Station, a suite of photographs from inside Powell’s City of Books.