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In the Frame: Eleven Women


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.



Sarah Kwak


Violinist and Concertmaster with the Oregon Symphony.



Nancy Davis


Founder and Artistic Director of The Portland Ballet.



Lucinda Parker


One of Oregon’s most important painters.



Anna Brown


U.S District Court Senior Judge who presided over cases involving the National No-Fly List and the takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.



Nancy Stueber


President and CEO of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).



Miriam Sontz


CEO of Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.



Monica Drake


Novelist, essayist, and short story writer; the author of Clown Girl and, most recently, The Folly of Loving Life.



Trudy Toliver


Executive Director of Portland Farmers Market.



Martha Lee


Owner of the Russo Lee Gallery, a revered and essential part of the local art world.



Vailey Oehlke


Director of Libraries for Multnomah County and past President of the Public Library Association.

Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival Portland Oregon




K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and journals. 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.


2 Responses

  1. Great choices, amazing women, thanks for your focus on Portland. Is there a statewide version (or other cities) in the works? After all, the “O” in “OPB” stands for “Oregon.”

    1. Hi Kristen, yes — Oregon ArtsWatch concentrates on metropolitan Portland, but we’re expanding. We’ve recently added regular correspondents in Yamhill County and on the Coast, and we often cover Eugene, Ashland, Salem, and other places. One of our prime goals is to become a cultural voice for the entire state.

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