Women Changing the World

It’s been an honor to photograph for the World Affairs Council Of Oregon for the last 8 years in promoting their International Speaker Series. They have brought amazing speakers to Portland. Luminaries have included former President Bill Clinton, Noble Prize winning Economist’s like Joseph Stieglitz and a host of political and media figures that have ranged from Dan Rather to Bono.

This year the Council declared it the year of “Women Changing the World” and featured 4 women speakers who addressed the issues of global importance while influencing and changing lives on this planet.

The lineup included former Secretary of State – Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hillary ClintonLiberian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – Leymah Gbowee,Leymah Gbowee Chinese media mogul – Hung HuangHung Huang and possibly the youngest speaker ever featured, the irrepressible and charming 25 year old Pakistani women’s activist – Khalida Brohi.Khalida Brohi

Originally I was just providing event photography of these speakers however my colleagues at Polara Studio inspired me in 2010 to began taking of few moments of the speakers’ time to do a simple portrait. These images have since been featured in several publications such as a double page spread in TIME Magazine and a cover of Le Monde. Already some of the speakers I have photographed are no longer with us, so I treasure the few unguarded moments I was able to spend with them while capturing their image. Like so many photographs these images seem to gain a certain power over time and, I hope, show a a more private side of so many people who have made a difference in our time.

All Things Go Better with Chocolate

Treehouse Chocolate Pouring

Zupan’s is where I found myself on Valentines Day, along with plenty of others, buying a loving gift for my wife. Walking past the tasting tables, this tall, blonde haired man with a huge smile lured me in by giving away small bits of chocolate. I hid the Moonstruck chocolate (my wife’s favorite) behind my back as I wanted to have a little taste.
Treehouse Chocolate Original

Pleasantly surprised, I stayed and chatted awhile with Aaron Koch, who is the Founder and Master Chocolatier of Treehouse Chocolates. Come to find he make his chocolate only two blocks away. Now if that’s not local, I don’t know what is. The name originated from the actual tree house where Aaron lived for a couple of years. He was such a nice guy with such great tasting chocolate that I offered to help him get his story out by doing some food photography.
Treehouse Chocolate drinking chocolate

We utilized the talent of a young chef named Cory Nickel for food styling. Our stylistic approach mixed an Italian bistro feel with the Pacific Northwest. This came through by choosing certain props and backgrounds as well as some special post processing effects that reflected the handmade, artisnal nature of the product. For those interested in photography techniques, it involved using quite a bit of “clarity” and “de-saturating” the files in a way that created a gritty feel, leaving enough of the main color in to complete the story.
Treehouse Chocolate 8oz Chill

Creating the brand story through commercial food photography is my favorite thing about being a creative photographer. It is true that all things do go better with chocolate.

So You Want to Photograph Kids

kids sitting on carpetWith over 30 years of experience as a photographer, Steve Cherry’s passion resurfaced once again in photographing children. This video shows one of his long time clients who is a national carpet manufacturer that specializes in carpets for schools and daycares.

Every time he finds it fun yet challenging to capture great expressions from every kid who are all under the age of six. If you have interest in being a kid photographer, take a look at this video and see if you’ve got what it takes. (hint: a large cardboard box)

It is true like Charles Baudelaire said, “Genius is the ability to recall childhood at will.” Steve succeeds in channeling his inner child to get some great smiling faces.

The Devil is in the Details

Dakine Bag detail in Coraz

When Mies Van der Rohe, a modernist architect, said, “the devil is in the details”. He was talking about how every piece of stitching, material, font, embellishment, etc. – through to the final product is what makes a brilliant idea.

Derrin Battles, a Polara Studio Partner and Product Photographer, showcased these new DAKINE products in a unique way, focusing on the signature details. It all started when Derrin changed up the lighting and began getting closer to highlight the intricately designed details of Dakine’s products as a gift during larger shoots.. DAKINE loved those tight product photographs so much they began giving him time just to focus in on the details. To change it up and cite Gustave Flaubert in an earlier version of our quote,  “Le bon Dieu est dans le detail.”

We hope you agree.

Another Egg-scuse for a Photoshoot

“To show your true colors you have to come out of the shell.”

That’s egg-actly what we did one wonderful afternoon. Richard Pie, an up and coming Food Stylist, prepared some fancy deviled eggs. I, of course, used my favorite lighting from our beautiful northern facing windows of Polara’s natural light studio.


This is a new chapter in my “Bounty of Oregon” series which showcases raw then prepared foods all sourced locally.


Even the simplest of these eggs such as the one garnished with a single spear of chive is whimsical and appetizing. Eggs garnished with bacon & avocado or salmon & caper make a delicious new dish that delights the eye as much as the taste buds. Thank you Richard for a fun experience and your vision.

Happy Easter!