Portrait

Family and the holidays

I have not shared Thanksgiving with my family now for nearly  30 years. Living at opposite ends of the continent, and in my case Alaska for a half-dozen years, makes travel on the busiest travel time of the year just about impossible. We may not be able to share another one together like we did when we were a unit, when I was younger. This makes me think of them even more this year. So, enjoy the time you spend with family. You might never know if it is the last time you do. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

 

 

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Me, I like herding dogs most of all

Ever since I traveled to Omak, Washington, in 2012 and met a couple of amazing Texas heelers adored by their owner, I have been smitten by this breed. Herding dogs just have that certain special something. Hey good boy, you are looking might fine. Click on the picture to see a larger photo on a separate picture page.

The look that is love

Every now and then some research pops into the news cycle that tells us something we know: puppies make us feel good. One of the latest studies, whose rigor I cannot verity, found that gazing into a a dog’s or puppy’s eyes releases the hormone oxytocin, which makes us humans feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I think I already knew that. Hi there, cute girl. Thanks for making me feel that magic only puppies can create.

 

Three of my favorite mother and daughter portraits

I have published these photos before on either my blog or web site, or both. Some times, everything comes together nicely when you get family members to pose. You cannot fake a warm smile.

Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

Tell me, you so wise, who among us does not have many masks

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

The expression “Janus faced” stems from Roman mythology. The god it represents, Janus, was two-headed. Sculptures show  two faces arranged in opposite directions.  The contemporary expression “Janus faced” is used to call out “two-faced” or deceitful persons, often politicians. Classic Greek theater  has a similar pairing many modern theater goers have seen of the two masks of drama, which show the classical Greek division of comedy and tragedy. They symbolize ancient Greek muses, Thalia and Melpomene. The muse of comedy is represented by the laughing face, and the muse of tragedy is represented by the weeping face.

I thought about the faces we present to the public, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. No one is able to fully mask their emotions, and I would say all of us can wear each mask depending on our ambitions and circumstances. Many of us encounter this daily, perhaps in a work environment with someone who projects being a lovable person to impress an audience he or she deems important to his or her personal priorities, and then they wear the other face when they no longer need to put on an act and can display the polar opposite behavior, usually to subordinates.

A conversation I had last night made me think about this, and during my long run today I thought about a pair of pictures I have of someone I once knew. Her faces were wonderfully clear, and powerful. I took these photos more than a dozen years ago, when I was much more involved in black and white portraiture and fascinated by what those portraits would tell me and other viewers. I hope one day to have someone capture me with my masks so I can see how I project my masks to the public.

My faith in humanity

On days when chaotic people around me seem overwhelming, in that place called life and the real world, I always seek the solace in what I know to be universally true. And that is the goodness in others.

I ignore the emotional tornadoes who suck energy from others, and I bring back memories of people I have met everywhere in the world. Today, on a day when the whirlwind people were a bit too much, I got a jolt of the “rest of humanity” through some friendly old smiles. Here are a few of their faces, taken from my travels in Bali and Java, in Indonesia, in February 2009.

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Janelle demonstrates frost face

 

One of the truisms of true runners is, a runner runs. And they run no matter what the hell is happening outside, hot, cold, pollution, whatever. I took this shot of a running buddy, Janelle, on a great Anchorage area backcountry run on snow. Yes, you can run on snow that has melted a bit and then froze crust hard. Our adventure traversed the length of Chugach State Park in March 2007. Many a time I had ice on my eyelashes and whiskers when running during an Alaska winter.

Tibetan carpet weaver, Darjeeling, India

When I visited the Indian hill station city of Darjeeling in 1989, I met many Tibetan refugees, who had made their home there, preserving their culture in exile from Chinese-occupied Tibet. You can see more photos I took on my India gallery. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Woodstock, a neighborhood that will soon go upscale

Woodstock. Ah, the memories…so many memories here. I used to come up here in the 1980s, when I attended a nearby college in Portland. I always liked it because it was distinctly lower-brow than the more upscale leafy neighborhood nearby called Eastmoreland, which has lovely estates and manicured lawns. No, Woodstock was all about small businesses making a go at it, a Safeway, a Bi-Mart, some specialty shops like Otto’s Sausage, and some other businesses that came and went, like a tea shop where I bought really strong gun powder tea to stay awake while writing research papers.

Today, most of these are all still around, but some new developments are coming in, and I can virtually guarantee in five years this street will not be recognizable. I love that Grand Central Bakery is here, but Portland has more than enough wine bistros and trendy watering holes. In fact, I just read the great tavern up here, the Lutz, is now considered one of top hip bars in Portland. I mean this is where folks used to come to get drunk on pitchers blitz beer on week nights. Change. It truly is unstoppable.  (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture 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.)