Month: October 2014

Portland’s Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

Last weekend I did a photo tour of neighborhoods in Portland, with an eye for finding aesthetically interesting homes, buildings, and churches. I stumbled on Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, serving the Greek Orthodox community. I of course stopped immediately when I saw it and took a few portraits. During my visit, I met Sofia, a native of Athens, and we had a lively discussion of the Hagia Sofia chruch in Istanbul and life in America. It is very fun to get to know who lives in your community, and churches can be a great place to meet people on their “home turf.” (Click on the photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

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Grave of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

The story behind this photograph is a long one. It involves ownership and secrets, legacies and histories. Who has the right to tell this story? Who has the right to publish this photograph? Is Chief Joseph‘s legacy only safeguarded by his people, or a larger circle who care about his people’s story of leadership, exile, pain, loss, and conquest? I do not have the answer.

Chief Joseph was born in what today is the Wallowa Valley of Oregon. He and other Nez Perce warriors led his band of just 700 men, women, and children on a 1,400-mile march that even received taciturn praise from their military pursuers seeking to place them in reservations. The group held off more than  2,000 U.S. soldiers and Indian auxiliaries in four battles and numerous skirmishes, before surrendering in 1877. His speech at his band’s surrender is among the most famous of all made by Native American leaders in response to their subjugation by the young United States and its people:

I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, “Yes” or “No.” He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are — perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.

The Nez Perce were relocated and broken. Half, including Joseph, were taken to a non-Nez Perce reservation in central Washington, becoming one of the bands of the Confederated Colville Tribes. Today the area is known as the Colville Reservation, where I shot this photograph in August 2014 when passing through. I found his final resting grounds to be a serene place.

Portland’s Irvington District: historic and very, very well off

Portland, Ore., has many beautiful homes and meticulously planned neighborhoods dating from the first half of the 20th century. The Irvington District, in northeast Portland, is a textbook study of this era, and many homes here are on the National Historic Registry. Many of these homes are along Knott Street. I took these with a GoPro, and I may publish more versions of these photos, taken with my Nikon, later. This is the Portland that did not hit rock bottom during the Great Recession and where children are all but certainly performing well-above average. On a fall day, it is a beautiful place to take a stroll. (Click on each photograph to see a larger photograph on a separate picture page.)

Seeing Portland’s architecture through fresh, newcomer’s eyes

I recently moved back to Portland after a long period away. I am taking photographs of buildings I knew years ago and those I had never encountered. Here are a couple. They simply caught my fancy because of their design, color, and sense of place. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Portland’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is a beautiful religious building and complex, in Portland’s Northwest neighborhood. The building was built in the first decade of the 1900s in Gothic revival style. Its closest neighbor is Temple Beth Israel, and together they make a dyanamic duo of traditional design to express religious conviction. Trinity also reminds me of many similar Episcobal and Presbyterian churches I have always loved in St. Louis, where I grew up. If you’re in Portland, take a quick visit to the cathedral at 19th Avenue NW and Everett Street. (Click on each picture to see a larger photo on a separate photo page.)

Temple Beth Israel of Portland

During my explorations of Portland, I am stumbling on many beautiful and sturdy houses of worship. Many of these date to the early and mid-1900s in this city. Temple Beth Israel, in the city’s northwest neighborhood, is among the most beautiful of all structures dedicated to the celebration of and expression of faith. The building, built in neo-Byzantine style (meaning duplicating the style of the great Hagia Sofia Church in Istanbul), is on the National Register of Historic Places. I used my GoPro to snap these first round of photos, and some members of the congregation graciously let me in to see the beautiful interior. I loved it. I hope to photograph as many of these stately buildings as I can on my free hours. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a seperate picture page.)

Portland’s most scenic drive, Northwest Cornell Road

Northwest Cornell Road climbs up the city’s West Hills more than a thousand feet, with trails intersecting the two-lane thoroughfare. It is one of the city’s most popular bike rides, and hikers and trail runners access world-class Forest Park from here too. Two tunnels were carved out here during the Great Depression, as a Works Project Administration project. They have both that sturdy quality of craftsmanship and utliitarian functionality that typify the great building projects of this era of American history. They are, in fact, timeless in their beauty, and I like them. Here are a few shots of one, and the side path bikers taken to avoid tunnel traffic. I think I will be seeing these tunnel a lot in the months to come. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Last of the San Luis Rey Mission Photos

Here are two more, and I think my last photos I am publishing, from pictures I took at the San Luis Rey Mission, in San Diego County. I took these with a GoPro. I guess I liked this mission, as it has cropped up now in three different posts I have published on my trip to southern California. I particularly liked the cemetery, which was a peaceful and introspective place to contemplate the lives of the many diverse residents who lived in this desert region, dating back to the late 1700s. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Impressions of southern California

I love traveling to places I know nothing about, in my own country or overseas. What you see is all new, particularly if you have no firm pre-set notions or biases. I spent a few days in San Diego and Riverside counties, specifically in Temecula (home to Native Americans for about 10,000 years), about 60 miles northeast of San Diego and the same distance southeast of greater Los Angeles. It is now a bedroom community, in the middle of the coastal ranges that once were dry and mostly arid spaces and are now home to freeways, Indian gaming casinos, agriculture businesses, shopping centers, miles of car-oriented subdivisions, strip malls, and also beautiful mountains and natural spaces. I was struck by how utterly and completely dependent the entire local economy and the built environment are to cheaply priced energy, notably petroleum.

The beaches of north San Diego County dazzled me. Numerous historic and scientific landmarks also impressed me, particularly the San Luis Rey Mission and the Palomar Observatory. I also was able to get in some hikes in Palomar State Park and the Santa Rosa Plateau. All provided excellent opportunities to enjoy the high desert mountain ecosystems. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Sunset on the Pacific in Carlsbad, Calif.

Nothing more to say about this one other than it was a fabulous sunset and I only had my point and shoot. It turned out fine, for my tastes. Really loved Carlsbad. Shhhhh. Secret, except to the thousands who surf there and the many, many more thousands who live there, and drive through there, nestled just south of Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Bring your camping gear if you’re car camping, as the camping spots at the state beach are incredible. (Click on the photograph to see a larger photo on a separate picture page.)