Think Local

Think Local. Ride Circa, is the motto of Portland bike manufacturing start-up Circa Cycles. Recently I had the pleasure of shooting Circa’s newest creation, a beautiful gold urban style bike called “Goldie”.

Circa was founded two years ago by Rich Fox, with a goal of re-inventing bicycle manufacturing. His aim was to create an affordable custom frame that was made in America. Another priority was to make a frame that had a short wait time, some custom frame manufacturers have a wait list of 3 to 5 years.

Goldie was created as a show bike for this year’s Handmade Bike & Beer Festival at Hopworks Brewery in September. Goldie is based on Circa’s Trillium frame set and anodized a beautiful gold color. Built with a Shimano internally geared hub and front disc brake, fenders and rack. A Brooks England leather saddle and bar grips top it all off, making it one of the most stylish city bikes out there.

One of the most unique features of Circa’s bikes is the weld-less frame construction, and almost infinite customization. This is very clearly illustrated by “Goldie” and the Trillium Road bike. They both started as essentially the same frame, but end up in two very different directions. Because of this modular approach Circa has been getting a lot of attention in the industrial design world, like articles in Design Boom and Fast Company.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Rich on this project. It was truly a collaboration creating these images. While we were shooting he set up his iPad to record a time lapse video of the shoot. It’s fun to see an hour of shooting fly by in twenty seconds.

If you’re thinking of buying a new bike and want something truly unique, Think Local, Ride Circa.


Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks and giving are our two favorite words at Polara. We are very grateful for such creative blood that runs through our studio family, however it wouldn’t be complete without our clients. We would like to give thanks to you all who bring such beautiful and creative vision for us to collaborate and photograph or video. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


A little story behind this turkey that Steve Cherry photographed for Norm Thompson Sahalie Catalog. We had him in the studio for a day and took care of him, bathed him, pet him and fed him. When we returned him back to the farm where he came from they found him to be so friendly that they kept him as a family pet. He never became a Thanksgiving turkey.

Keep Calm and Gobble On –

The Polara Studio Family

Grazia Solazzi

When I first heard of Grazia Solazzi, truthfully, I was a little skeptical about the idea behind an Italian cooking app she was interested in creating. In my mind “cooking” and “teaching how to cook” are very different skills. I decided to go forward with it since I’m always interested in finding different ways to showcase food photography.

Grazia Solazzi

When I first arrived at Grazia’s home in the Portland Hills, I was very impressed by what I found inside.  It was a Mecca of great Italian design.  From Venetian glass chandeliers to a sparse yet elegant Neo-Modern furniture to the European style kitchen it was like I was walking into someplace in Milan.

This began our 3 week long process where I helped her create a simple and elegant look (much like her cooking) that became the basis for her app.  I learned so much about how “true” Italians cook – simply, naturally and with much respect for the ingredients.

All the photographs were created in her kitchen and on her dining room table. Everything was eaten by either her family or mine.  It was a direct and honest approach to food that we, here in the States, have just in the past 10 years rediscovered and for me it was a little slice of “La Dolce Vita”.


A Cut Above

Take one pro soccer game, mix it with a six-foot long saw and a 400 pound log and what do you come up with?

Answer: Steve Cherry doing product photography of an Oregon Cutting Systems chainsaw used at the Timbers game by Timber Joey.A photograph of a Portland Timbers branded chainsaw. Photographed by Steve Cherry, Polara Studio.

The log was brought into the studio by a forklift, thanks to our friends next door at North Pacific Sign.
Steve Cherry of Polara Studio moves a log for a photo shoot.
Our client at OCS did the honor of cutting the log while Steve quickly moved around and shot it from different angles to try to get the most interesting look. Lighting is a short duration Einstein strobe and has that signature, almost chiaroscuro look that Steve Cherry is well known for.

Definitely “a cut above” product photograph or at least cut from above. The only downside is we now have a bunch of 30” diameter log rounds that are too pretty to throw out but we can’t quite figure what to do about. Any suggestions?

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.