By SARAH KREMEN-HICKS
Writers do tend to go on a bit, don’t we? Maybe we ought to step back now and then, put the pens down, and let the pictures tell the story. In the following photo essays from 2018, ArtsWatch’s photographers serve up visual treats by the baker’s dozen.
Jan. 2: K. B. Dixon finds the face of Portland in eleven photos of men who have helped shape its cultural milieu. “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.”
March 17: “The one of the Point Reyes boat is sentimental. I’ve photographed that boat so many times that it’s become almost a living person. I’m making a record of the winter of its life. I’m interested in how things change. I’m interested in time. What is photography about if not time?” Austin Granger talks with Angela Allen about photography and his favorite subjects: a boat and his daughter.
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April 20: Friderike Heuer attends a rehearsal of the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland where visiting composer Jake Runestad directs: “What struck me most, during the first night of shared rehearsal – composer and choir new to each other, soloists having to step up and out, string quartet finding their best resonance – was how easy he made it for everyone. The man might be a choral rock star as some or another applauding review has pegged him, but he is surely a gifted teacher. Demanding and detail-oriented, he nonetheless managed to nurture the confidence of a group of musicians who at times approached the truly tricky material somewhat tentatively. The fluidity of his physical movements matched that of his music, and the pure joy he expressed when vocalizing, humming, and almost dancing along, was surely infectious.”
April 22: Joe Cantrell photographs the student choreography concert at Beaverton’s Arts & Communication Magnet Academy: “The program was inventive and exhilarating. There were solo dances, small-group dances, guest choreography from faculty member Kemba Shannon and ACMA alum Nick Jurica, now a student at The Juilliard School in New York. Some of the action whirled on and around a giant box, in one piece as several dancer/artists painted scenes on it.”
May 11: “In a series of performances focused on disability, access and inclusion, Touretteshero’s brilliant performance invites us to rethink our stereotypes of neurological conditions and explores what it means to live with disabilities of all kinds in an environment ignorant at best and hostile at worst to many forms of diversity. You will laugh so hard that there is no time for the tears brimming beneath the surface, tears from realizing the extent of harm caused by prejudice and ableism.” – Friderike Heuer documents a production that centers the people usually pushed out of frame.
May 10: Friderike Heuer takes a trip to the East Eoast and sends back dispatches from the museum halls and the city streets. “The Barnes is an exuberant place with a wild history. North Philly is a wild place with a desolate future. I’ve decided to contrast those two today, motivated by the fact that artistic expression, jubilant or despairing, can be found in both places. The desire to depict wills out, regardless of geography, historical time, and fame – or lack thereof – of the painters.”
- May 6: Art on the Road: Becoming modern. Exhibits at Harvard and in Philadelphia take stock of the past to inform the present.
- May 8: Art on the Road: Boston’s MFA. Heuer leaps into the art and architecture of the Museum of Fine Arts.
May 15: “We are, whether we embrace it or not, just moving parts of a temporary assembly of gas and stardust that was once unimaginably dispersed, as metaphorically related as a grain of sand on Cannon Beach and one on a planet in the Orion Nebula. But the bits of stardust and gas molecules that would become Earth and us, coincidentally formed us and became everything we know and don’t know.” – Joe Cantrell’s photographs reveal the microscopic world around us, and he considers the matter of scale.
June 4: Pride parades may conjure images of rainbows – a riot of color to recall the Stonewall Riot – but K.B. Dixon captures moments of the hubbub in black and white. “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.”
July 3: Six months after Eleven men, K.B. Dixon follows up with eleven women: “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.”
July 5-8: “How to characterize the last day of this year’s Waterfront Blues Festival? Traditionally the festival has ended with the fireworks, late night on the 4th of July, but this year we began with Wednesday, the 4th. Thursday sustained, Friday found new energy. Saturday the 6th, still full of people palpably happy to be there, but more laid back, as though this year’s festivities had proven themselves, reached the peak of their oak barrel fermentation, didn’t need to prove nuthin’ to nobody.” – Joe Cantrell spends four days encountering performers and fans at the Waterfront Blues Festival.
- Day 1: Photo First: glorious blue Fourth.
- Day 2: Waterfront Blues Festival.
- Day 3: Waterfront Blues Festival.
- Day 4: Waterfront Blues Festival: The End.
Aug. 17: “Saturday Market is not just arts, crafts, and food—it is people to watch. With more than a million visitors every year, it is a phrenologist’s playground, a subject-rich environment that encourages you to produce your very own ‘handcrafted’ opinion of the general body politic.” – K.B. Dixon visits Saturday Market and comes away with images of something uniquely Portland.
Sept. 8: “Having originally served the purpose of providing a creative outlet, fun, and guaranteed glowing feedback for its participants, PHAME changed direction about eight years ago with forward-looking board members and leadership at its helm. It was decided to push for participants’ real potential, respecting them through challenge rather than automatic approval, encouraging them to take risks that inherently have their own rewards.” – Friderike Heuer presents the faces of PHAME, a school of arts and performance for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Sept. 24: “The museum 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.” – K. B. Dixon visits the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River.