Authors Note : This is the first of many Blog posts about my Portrait Project, People of Anchorage. With respects to this project I will be writing on a wide range or topics. I'll be posting stories of the People I meet, the approach I use to getting these portraits ... success' and challenges and many other aspects of this endeavor. If you'd like to tag along, and I hope you do, check back next Monday for my next post. >>>
So, I spent this past Summer in Portland, OR. I'd been through a few times before, but never for more than a couple days. Whenever I find myself in a City I'm not all too familiar with I always pick up the local free paper to help get a finger on the pulse of the City. Portland has two of these papers, The Willamette Week and the Portland Mercury. I like both, but I found in The Willamette a section which appeals to me in particular. It's a section, about half a page, of just portraits of Portlandians from all walks - no names, no captions, just portraits.
I arrived back in Anchorage the last week of September. The first week of October I pitched People of Anchorage to the Anchorage Press. For those who may not be familiar with the Press, it's Anchorage's version of Portland's Willamette and Mercury papers. In my initial email to the Editor I included a grid of nine portraits I shot in Portland over the course of Labor Day weekend. The nine images were part of a larger set, The Portland 100, which was an attempt to photograph 100 stranger portraits over that 4-day day weekend. I made about 70 portraits before time ran out on the project.
People of Anchorage is an exploration, through portrait photography, of Anchorage's people & environment and how the two intertwine. I reckon that if you asked me to define this project a year from now, I'd probably give you a completely different answer. I say that as just in the short time that I've been photographing this project, I find my thoughts on it constantly changing. Just prior to leaving for Portland last Summer I undertook what could be best described as a Portrait a Day project which quickly affirmed what I already knew. I like working in short bursts of inspiration rather than forcing the issue.
Even now People of Anchorage, in it's published form, is still evolving. We started with the intent of publishing weekly and with no words. Now it's published bi-weekly and with words. Ultimately I'd love to incorporate captions, but with limited spacing it's proven a challenge. Today the sixth edition of the series hits newsstands and I couldn't be more pleased with the work done and the people I've met along the way. >>>