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.

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.