Up-Close and Quirky Photos With the Glorious Residents of Portland

Behold
The Photo Blog
Nov. 14 2013 11:04 AM

Up-Close and Quirky Photos With the Glorious Residents of Portland

5
Jedediah Aaker

Kirk Crippens

When Kirk Crippens went on a five-week residency at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Ore., he welcomed the opportunity to shift gears a bit. The residency allowed him to work without distraction from life’s daily grind, and he was able to take a break from his long-term project about the recession toward something more whimsical. The result was a portrait-based series, “Portraitlandia,” in which he turned his camera on the people of Portland.

Although he was only in Portland for about a month, Crippens spent close to a year preparing for the residency, acting a bit like a tourist and scouting out possible portrait subjects through word of mouth. He decided to follow his subjects’ lead regarding locations for the shoot, and he asked them also to give him two hours of their time to create the portrait—an unusually long commitment for Crippens. “I wanted to do something that had authenticity while being aware I was new to Portland and didn’t have the time to build the relationships I would normally have,” he said.

Crippens also decided to work outside of his comfort zone and shot the entire series with a 4-by-5 view camera using film. It was the first time for him using the camera, and he practiced using it before heading to Portland. He said it allowed him to slow down his process, and it broke the ice a bit with his subjects who were curious about the camera. “Working in a slow, analog medium really leant itself to having an opportunity to get to know the folks,” he said. “It gave an expansiveness to their sessions.”

14
Mary Kozlov

Kirk Crippens

15
Nik Sin

Kirk Crippens

3
Fred and Toody

Kirk Crippens

Advertisement

A couple months after Crippens returned to San Francisco, Wired ran a story about his work on their Raw File blog. Suddenly Crippens, who was accustomed to working in isolation, found himself thrust into the spotlight. He said he started to receive requests for interviews and felt as if he were being pulled in a lot of directions. “It’s interesting when you work as an artist and you’re sort of doing your thing ... the people in your community know what you’re doing, and sometimes you have interviews published, but this one—there was something different about the way it was received,” he said about the viral nature of the Wired article.

“You’re grateful, but it’s also a little bit overwhelming, too. I was appreciative of it and also a bit relieved when it died down,” he said, laughing.

6
Karen and Sister Krista von Borstel

Kirk Crippens

4
The Prime Minister

Kirk Crippens

Crippens said the attention he received from “Portraitlandia” didn’t make him doubt his other projects, but it did make him more conscious about what types of projects would garner more attention. “Any attention you get as an artist is helpful because you’re doing your work, and “Portraitlandia” came from my heart, just like “Bank Rupture.” It was just a different part of my heart,” he said.

Crippens keeps in touch with many of the portrait subjects in “Portraitlandia” through social media, often when the portraits have been shown in galleries or published stories. “Everyone enjoyed that they’re part of this work that reflects back to the city they love,” he said.

An image from “Portraitlandia” will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London through Feb. 9 as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Crippens’ work will be on display in a solo exhibition at the RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco in September 2014.

2
Ed Edmo

Kirk Crippens

12
Harajuke Girl

Kirk Crippens

10
Zia and Matilda McCabe

Kirk Crippens

8
Glenn Andresen

Kirk Crippens

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.