All Classical Radio James Depreist

Photo First: It’s beginning to look a lot like …

Photographer K.B. Dixon takes a tour of Portland's neighborhoods and discovers an impromptu people's garden of inflatable statues celebrating the holiday season.

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K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Santa figure in a Portland neighborhood. EIGHT DAYS LEFT, 2022
EIGHT DAYS LEFT, 2022

Amble about Portland’s neighborhoods in the next couple of weeks and you’ll notice the impromptu winter blossoming of a temporary sculpture garden scattered among the front porches and lawns of the city’s bungalows, four-squares, midcentury moderns and other usually more discreetly domesticated homes.

That’s what photographer K.B. Dixon‘s been doing: capturing the fleeting joy of this seasonal people’s art form while it’s in full flower. It’s a traditional art style, really, banking on people’s deep familiarity with seasonal images and stories, but it also has an almost Surrealistic edge — a whimsical, not-real sort of reality. The statues in this jaunty community garden tend to be of the inflatable variety: Sometime shortly after Halloween you take ’em out of storage, blow ’em up, and proudly put ’em on display. Then, around about New Year’s Day, you let the air out again, flatten ’em and fold ’em, and put ’em back in storage for another ten or eleven months until their time comes ’round again.

Dixon is an inveterate recorder of of the happy idiosyncracies of everyday life, and this celebration of the city’s celebration of the Christmas season follows by just six weeks Photo First: an amble through Scare City, his photographic ode to the shuddering pleasures of Halloween. Below you’ll find three hands-full of images of Portland in its holiday glory. Enjoy ’em before the sculpture garden disappears again.

— The Editors

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Scary Snowman, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of a scary Santa scene in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Nutcracker, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Nutcracker figure in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Santa et al, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Santa scene with a reindeer, penguin, and unicorn in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Snowman & Penguins, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable snowman scene with penguins  in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Santa’s Workshop, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of a Santa's workshop scene with Santa, elves, and a dinosaur in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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PCS Clyde’s

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Monkey, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable monkey with an inflatable candy cane  in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Xmas Dragon, 2022

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Christmas dragon scene with penguins  in a Portland neighborhood. 2022

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Santa & Rex, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Santa riding a T-Rex in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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St. Bernard, 2022

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable St. Bernard dog with an inflateble snowman, candy cane, and other inflatable lawn decorations  in a Portland neighborhood. 2022

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Reindeer, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable reindeer in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Marshmallow Roast, 2022

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Santa, reindeer, and penguins having a marshmallow roast in a Portland neighborhood. 2022

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Snowman, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable snowman  in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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WESTAF Shoebox Arts

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Tiger & Tree, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Tigger and Christmas tree in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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Santa & Teddy, 2023

K.B. Dixon photo of an inflatable Santa with glasses holding a teddy bear in a Portland neighborhood. 2023

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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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