Thursday, January 31, 2002

» A friend needed sentences whose words started with letters in the following sequence. It was a super fun creative exercise, and I came up with:

Like War, though for children.
Lately, we've tried frosting cupcakes.
Lastly, we think for cutlery.
Letting weather threaten, few challenge.
Living well, tried for centuries.
Laughter wafts through forest chambers.

My favorite is the first one, though the last has a Rilke-ian quality to it, I think. Any other suggestions?

04:58 PM PST

» This is just another stupid story about the clash between snowboarders and the Olympics, but the first page is worth it just to see that they mention the band Fifteen. I only listen to them sporadically now, but their first album (Swain's First Bike Ride) is my favorite album ever.

12:05 PM PST

Wednesday, January 30, 2002


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Germ sitting in front of Outside In, the new youth shelter in Portland.

10:08 PM PST

Sunday, January 27, 2002


"But what's really at stake here is the ability of the president and the vice president to solicit advice from anybody they want in confidence -- get good, solid, unvarnished advice without having to make it available to a member of Congress." - Dick Cheney

This quote is ridiculous enough to almost seem like a parody. Dick Cheney is concerned that people will figure out that his meeting with Enron executives just might have influenced the administration's development of energy policy. My question is, how could any advice coming from a company like Enron about the nation's energy policy be anywhere near "unvarnished".?

08:56 PM PST

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

» The Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001, if passed in the House of Representatives would require that men between the ages of 18 and 22 serve one year of military education. While I doubt that this will pass, the idea of mandatory military service is a scary thing, maybe it's time to look into applying for CO status.

04:37 PM PST

Saturday, January 19, 2002

» Fun! I think today is Gristle-colored, with occasional hints of Nostalgia. Check the photographs for the 28 Days of Gray in action.

03:36 PM PST

Thursday, January 17, 2002

» A-ha! Hearing these very loud noises on Tuesday night freaked me out, it sounded like planes that were flying way too low. I looked out my window and saw faces in all the other apartment building windows looking up at the sky as well.

It was a brief, vastly unsettling couple of minutes, then the sounds faded out, and outside noise quickly returned to cars swooshing by, random yelling coming from the Plaid Pantry (convenience store) across the street and loud groups of people walking down 23rd.

10:58 AM PST

Wednesday, January 16, 2002


In working on a shoot for a client, I was sent out into the city to take pictures that highlighted different transportation issues. After spending most of today scanning them in, a few of them stuck out as being a little more than just straight documentary photos.

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Underneath Interstate 5

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Empty Burnside bridge (skatepark is about 100 yards from here)

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Roads leading to and from Fremont Bridge

04:35 PM PST

Thursday, January 10, 2002

» I'd been seeing this 25% Off Everything sign at Ozone Records. Sadly enough, they're closing down soon, due to their rent being doubled in the past year (because of the restoration of the buildings across from them that will include a Fresh Fields and some other upscale places.

I picked up stuff by Vic Chesnutt, Tommy Guerrero, and the Minutemen, and looked hard for the Crooked Fingers, but I couldn't find anything. As their site says, everything's soon going to be 50% off, then amazingly, 75% off. It got me thinking that there's music, like I got today, that I'm happy to buy at 25%, but probably a hell of a lot more music that I'd be willing to buy at 75% off.

04:23 PM PST

» Opt out of popup ads. Click them all! This page is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

03:10 PM PST


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I shot this picture while standing in two feet of icy water near Punchbowl Falls, one of the most frequently photographed places in Oregon.

09:05 AM PST

Monday, January 7, 2002


And I think a form of music like punk rock is especially essential right now. It's just really important for that alternative viewpoint to be there, even if it's just a kind of visceral reaction to the kind of blanket -- you know, the insane narrowing of opinion that's been occurring lately. So, I think that music has a role to play. I haven't thought about it too much -- I haven't intellectualized it. I know that in the weeks after I didn't want to play music at all, but since then I really have wanted to. I'm not sure why...

From an interview with John Sampson of the Weakerthans.

10:15 PM PST

Sunday, January 6, 2002

» Back in Portland, long, boring 6 hour flight with two movies that should be illegal in how crappy they were. Amazingly enough, we got Amy's (veggie food brand) teriyaki rice on the plane. I also had a message on my answering machine that could mean really good things for my photography.

It's raining, 50 degrees, and nice to be back.

09:48 AM PST

Friday, January 4, 2002

» Being a heavy sleeper, kitchen timers are all that get me up these days, and the one next to my bed started buzzing at 4:45 AM.

I sat up, realized how tired I was, and weighed getting up and driving an hour down to the shore to photograph the sunrise versus sleeping for another five hours. As obvious as it sounds, it struck me as a relatively new insight that the sunrise wasn't going to wait for me to take the photographs. It was up to me to get my tired self out of bed and get to the location in time, and that's what I did.

I arrived just as the sky began lightening from black to a pale blue-grey. The best colors of a sunrise often happen before the sun actually hits the horizon, and that was how it was this morning. The horizon had a thin line of clouds that blurred where the ocean met the sky, though the rest of the sky was completely clear. First these clouds were nearly black, backlit by the rising orange light from the sun. This light then formed a rainbow of colors, as the sky went from orange to yellow to blue.

I began taking some long exposures with the moving ocean in the foreground and the horizon at about 1/4 of the way from the top of the frame. It was cold, about 23 degrees and lots of wind coming off the water. The metal tripod froze my fingers every time I lifted it up to move to a different position.

As the sun got nearer to the horizon, the glow reached the wet sand that the waves were washing over and reflected a blue orange in the rippled patterns.

A couple of days ago I read "Good photographers photograph the scene, great photographers photograph the light." I'm not anywhere near a great photographer, but as I knelt in the wet sand and felt the water soak through to my knees, I began trying to see the patterns of light and composing them as the elements in the picture as opposed to looking at the sand, water and sky.

The line of clouds still stretched across the horizon, and as the sun finally began to rise, its light gave the clouds an brilliant orange lining. By then the light on the water and in the sky had gotten much less interesting, just light pastelly colors. The sun hit the beach and the houses and poured on the morning glow that made the sand shine and warmed up the brown fencing that supported the sand dunes.

Four rolls of film and I was done. It was getting warmer and I was able to unclench my hands that were basically stuck in place on the camera.

When I'm done taking pictures, I usually leave feeling a little let down and mulling over what pictures I could've made that I didn't. I know these feelings aren't worth much, and I'm glad I got up. Today feels half over and it's only 11AM and I got to take pictures of a amazing sunrise.

I left, shaking with cold, knees wet from kneeling in the sand, and excitement about how the shots will turn out. Pictures soon.

08:02 AM PST

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

» I love this shot, there's an amazing softness to the kid in the foreground.

When furthered questioned in IM about this picture, I wrote-
Steve: i like this shot:
Char: why do you like it?
Steve: softness of kid in the foreground, and the slightly sad expression on his face
Steve: contrasted by the totally joyful movement of the kid slightly blurred out by the water droplets
Char: mmm
Char: ok, i see that

07:33 PM PST


"I am old-fashioned enough, to be fascinated with the idea of trying to capture many people talking on cell-phones at the same time, and this was a bonanza for me. I had the 50mm on the M6, and shot half a roll of film of people on cell-phones trying to figure out how they would get to work. It is the equivalent of a nature photographer who stumbles across a herd of grazing Zebra who have just been frightened by the scent of some predator and are about to take off at a gallop. For me, the lesson is always the same, no matter where you're going, have a camera with you. In New York, there is almost always something worth shooting."

Wow, my big plans for skateboarding tonight and reading magazines at the book store were completely scrapped, after I found Dave Beckerman's site. He has some wonderful pictures, but what has kept me on his site for the last 2 hours is his Day Book, simply an online journal of his working with photography, trying to sell his prints, and generally involved in the day-to-day work of life as he begins to make a living off of photography.

06:55 PM PST

Tuesday, January 1, 2002


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Back in May of last year (2001), I was taking pictures, working on them in the darkroom, and generally unhappy with how everything was turning out. The photo class I was taking was nearing the end, my final portfolio was due the next week, and I didn't have a single print done.

The problem was, my photographs were boring. Without any other ideas, I stubbornly kept printing these photos, trying to get just the right look for each particular boring photograph. Soon it was a Friday, with the portfolio due on Monday, and as I paged through my large stack of prints, I knew there was nothing good coming from it.

The choice was to cut down and mount these prints, or to do something else. Whatever something else was, it had to be done in the next 72 hours, or my photography grade was going to seriously suffer.

In walking around Washington with Charlene, I'd often (one might say "too often", or moreso "He's having the exact same thought he has every time he sees this, does it really need to be repeated again?") comment on the people I saw go by in buses, and the incredibly revealing expressions I saw that I thought might make interesting photos.

And with that thought, and a swift motivational speech from Charlene, it was decided. I went down to the photo store, rented a really large white lens, and bought some film. At about 7 o' clock that night, I went out with the single lens mounted on my camera, my tripod, and a pocketful of film, to make pictures that weren't boring.

Immediately, it felt invasive to be pointing a camera lens at someone who was unaware of its presence. I was a jerk, obnoxious, a pretentous little college kid, a capturer of bad photos and a waster of film.

Despite my best efforts, these feelings never left me for the next two nights, and writing this 7 months later, I'm not sure that those feelings were unjustified.

I shot 10 rolls of film, talked to people on the street, got dirty stares, smiles, had people make funny faces at me, but best of all, what I was most thankful for, was that I was mostly ignored.

Composition, photo theory, it didn't matter, I was taking photographs that made me nervous, and that challenged my own ideas about how I could make pictures. I didn't feel comfortable, I took at least thirty bad shots for every good one, and went home every night poring over Bresson and Wingrand's work for moral support, and wondering if any good would come of this.

During the day on Saturday and Sunday, I processed the film in my bathroom, and made prints in my closet darkroom. By Sunday afternoon, I had made forty prints, and with Charlene's help, I narrowed them down to 14, which she expertly cut and mounted.

Critique went well, but even better, I had broken out of a 2 month long slump of taking dull pictures. Looking at them now, I know they're not stunning photographs by any means, but I think they're revealing, and I'm proud to have worked so hard on them, and to have shot, processed and printed what was supposed to have been a half of a semester's work in a 3 day period.

A few of them are up here, on

10:10 PM PST

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