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Portraitlandia
July 19, 2013 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Portraitlandia, a series of portraits of residents of Portland, Oregon (one nude).

By Kirk Crippens, a San Francisco photographer. As seen on Wired Raw File.
posted by Nelson (42 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now that Willie Brown's out of office, that might be the best dressed mayor in America.
posted by Apropos of Something at 3:09 PM on July 19, 2013


For some reason I was imagining these as images from most interesting annual report ever!
posted by Sreiny at 3:14 PM on July 19, 2013


welp, one of these is my former landlord and one of the worst people on the planet. I'd forgotten about him. Until just now. Sigh.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, Andrew Shuler, one of the great beards of America. Also here.
posted by Wordshore at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2013


In case anyone gets the idea that "The Prime Minister" is some sort of local eccentric: It's a flower thing
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2013


Sort of offtopic, but loading this page sucks down a lot of bandwith, enough to disrupt your recording of your Friday night party radio stream if you're on shitty bandwith like me. Also I keep wanting to type "bandwitch" which is either a an old crone that hoards bits of data, or a delicious piece of uptime put between two slices of bread.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 3:18 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh jesus, why can't I go anywhere on the internet without encountering DamosA? Aside from that, nice photos, even if they do remind me of what a ridiculously small town this is.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:19 PM on July 19, 2013


Home of Mefilandia.

You guys don't have a Space Needle though.
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


You guys don't have a Space Needle though.

But they have a municipal elevator nearby, which is also pretty cool.
posted by aubilenon at 3:29 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


In case anyone gets the idea that "The Prime Minister" is some sort of local eccentric: It's a flower thing

That does not make her seem less eccentric to me. It just demonstrates that there's a whole group of people just as eccentric. If they consider themselves to be strait-laced, that just makes them more delightfully oddball.
posted by gurple at 3:29 PM on July 19, 2013


I am baffled as to how a thinly veiled McAfee hasn't made it into Archer yet.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:35 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Packy was nude too.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:36 PM on July 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


I am baffled as to how a thinly veiled McAfee hasn't made it into Archer yet.

S02E06: "Tragical History"
posted by Sys Rq at 3:40 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm, it could be - I was too distracted by the full on Britishness of that character to make that connection. Speaking of, the Rosarians are straight out of the original Prisoner.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:49 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised people don't know Sam Adams isn't mayor anymore. Google doesn't seem to realize it either (Though DuckDuckGo gets it right).
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:51 PM on July 19, 2013


Cool to see Fred & Toody in there.
posted by evisceratordeath at 3:52 PM on July 19, 2013


I've only been to Portland a few times. From these photos, it looks like a City of Irony where almost everyone is so deeply invested in being unusual that the most 'normal' looking people from anywhere else in the country end up being the stand outs in the line-up of people from Portland. The whole People-in-Portland-are-Weird motif is like the cities' national identity.

Yet, whenever I've been to Portland, I've never seen anything close to the expected parade of I-really-want-to-be-different people this photographer's lens and so much other media on Portland suggests one would find. The vast majority of people I see look like the vast majority of people you would expect to see on the streets in Anytown America. Portland seems populated by mostly 'normal' people with the typical scattered showers of 'freaks' you get anywhere.

Now, is there anyone here who lives in Portland willing to confess? Either Portland really has a catacomb of secret underground mines where thousands of people toil in a perpetual struggle of striving to out-different each other and all those people I see up on the top are really just in disguise/tourist/employees of Nike? or 2) is there a secret city sponsored conspiracy where artists like this are paid to produce propaganda designed to keep median America away? Are Portland's normal folk really as weird as this series of photos suggests? Or is this your secret plot to keep rents and housing prices reasonable? I'm on to you Portland! Fess up or we'll send more Californians up the 101 at you!
posted by astrobiophysican at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can Portland and Seattle combine to produce a Municipal Space Elevator?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now that Willie Brown's out of office, that might be the best dressed mayor in America.

As George_Spiggott notes, Sam's been out of office since I think the start of the year. Though in all fairness, Charlie's a nice enough guy but he's not as iconic.

Though by that metric I guess Bud Clark's still mayor.

Anyway, Portland is both way more normal than this photoset suggests and also pretty much what this photoset suggests. It kind of depends on where you're standing and what you're looking for.
posted by cortex at 4:14 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm bemused as usual by the contrast with Seattle. Many of these people would fit right in here, but quite a few would not. All generalizations are false, including this one, but I guess I'd say that while Seattle certainly has its weird contingent, there's usually a sense of weird cool to those folks, while in Portland I think those who choose weird are purists -- they are full weird, no adulteration.
posted by bearwife at 4:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I may be biased since I live here (and have talked to a few of those portrait subjects and am familiar with most of the others), but I don't really see hardly any of them as being "deeply invested in being unusual". The weird-for-the-sake-of-being-weird folks certainly exist*, but they're far outnumbered by some genuinely odd ducks that have flourished in a pond that for whatever reasons accepts quirkiness more than your typical medium size city.

*I really try to remind myself that my judgments on these types says more about my cattier tendencies than on anything about them, but sometimes it's hard not to roll your eyes round the corner at Fred Meyer and see Rex Church browsing the pasta section...
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:18 PM on July 19, 2013


Another good photo blog about Portland residents: The Black Portlanders.
posted by Corduroy at 4:30 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


For a while I was silly enough to be using the Google+ iPhone app back when it offered a "nearby" feature. This allowed you to see checkins based on the fact that they were in your area. Without exaggeration a solid 70% or so were airport (yes, PDX) checkins that said the same thing: "Here I am in Portland/P-Town/PDX! Hipsters here I come!" The first sentence was optional but the second sentence or some near cognate thereof was never absent. And I'm not even near the airport. Just an unending stream of them. Needless to say I stopped looking at that feature.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:39 PM on July 19, 2013


Kinda shocked how many of these people I know. (I moved away in 2002!)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:40 PM on July 19, 2013


astrobiophysican: Now, is there anyone here who lives in Portland willing to confess?

We could tell you, but then you'd have to become one of us.

One of us, one of us, one of us, one of us....
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:46 PM on July 19, 2013


Another good photo blog about Portland residents: The Black Portlanders.

The White City
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:12 PM on July 19, 2013


astrobiophysican: " here who lives in Portland willing to confess?"

Just moved to LA from PDX, but what I can say is that Portlanders define themselves why what they are into/do more than others. You play in a band/musician, you're that guy with the clowmakeup art-car, you're a writer, you're really into coffee/booze/bar tending/cured sausages...

Take that postal worker for instance, she probably is really into mail, and knows Zip+4 codes for the city. (Take this as a total hypothetical example) She could hate her job and would do anything to not be outside & wet 200 days of the year.

I'd also add that Portlanders also carry something akin to the Russian soul. "душа" (dushá) Not with the centuries of serfdom, but there's an unspeakable sadness...depression... that soaks into oneself in the Northwest. So much grey in the sky for so long.
posted by wcfields at 5:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really good point 'a box and a stick and a string and a bear.' I am aware of genetic 'freaks' and odd ducks and harbor only respect and even admiration for them. I also certainly don't intend to cast dispersions on those who intentionally choose outward signals of difference. Nor is it bad if someone with a nose ring ups their game with an tattoo when they move to the city... you know the story. I tried to put quotes around my use of those phrases since I think they are (and this maybe the photographer's point now that I think of it) arbitrary at best.

A survey of the most far out folk would probably reveal they tend to camouflage and look quite normal. Maybe those are the people I saw on the streets of Portland. From the outward freaks I've known, most were oddly normal in terms of personality and thinking.

wcfields - I like your description of how people identify themselves in Portland.
posted by astrobiophysican at 5:22 PM on July 19, 2013


Yeah, add me to the "I know that person!" brigade. And you could easily do a similar photoset in Vancouver (or likely any larger-sized North American city) though I like to believe in the Legend of Portland as much as anyone.
posted by jokeefe at 5:48 PM on July 19, 2013


Now, is there anyone here who lives in Portland willing to confess?
You have to get on the house party/show circuit. Or blowpony or something, but blowpony has been "over" for a few years now.

Portland easily has the highest non-mainstream to mainstream ratio I've seen in any city.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2013


*loves New York*
posted by jonmc at 6:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd also add that Portlanders also carry something akin to the Russian soul. "душа" (dushá) Not with the centuries of serfdom, but there's an unspeakable sadness...depression... that soaks into oneself in the Northwest. So much grey in the sky for so long.

Mmmm, yup. Lifelong Portland resident (minus 2 years) here. And yeah, the people who live out here for the majority of their life or really make it their home really have this vibe about them. This is a really good articulation of it.

And that's also why we have such a high proportion of amazing beer, coffee, wine and weed.

It's a good place that will probably survive being a 'cool place.'
posted by furnace.heart at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yet, whenever I've been to Portland, I've never seen anything close to the expected parade of I-really-want-to-be-different people this photographer's lens and so much other media on Portland suggests one would find.

The converse is true, too. I'm pretty sure I could find an analog for ~90% of the people featured here from the DC population.

Still, I like the portraits.
posted by psoas at 6:52 PM on July 19, 2013


Horizontal scrolling. Weird. Just like Portland.
posted by asnider at 7:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


While some of the pictures are nice, it's really lacking context. It's either about "weird people" (there are weirder) or it's about ordinary people (then, so what?). But just as "Portland." Full stop. You fill in the blanks...it doesn't work for me.

To answer a question above: it's all very normal and boring here. Don't move here! (We need the jobs.)
posted by amanda at 11:11 PM on July 19, 2013


Zia!
posted by chillmost at 4:10 AM on July 20, 2013


Forget this version of Portland. As Amanda said, it's normal & boring...our best kept secret is the enclave of Vancouveria, also known as Vantucky. This is where the cool folk hang out.
posted by Mack Twain at 9:05 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just moved to LA from PDX, but what I can say is that Portlanders define themselves why what they are into/do more than others. You play in a band/musician, you're that guy with the clowmakeup art-car, you're a writer, you're really into coffee/booze/bar tending/cured sausages...

I made a similar observation about Austin a few years ago. Basically, Austin residents are far more hardcore about their interests and quirks than what might be seen in other cities, and they're going to be more deeply entrenched into whatever subculture they're a part of.

It seems like the same might also be true in Portland. When I visited years ago, my impression was that Portland is the love child of outdoorsy, craft beer-loving Denver, and hipsterrific, indie-to-the-core Austin.
posted by elmwood at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2013


This is fun! Some context: Tres Shannon owns Voodoo Donuts, and used to run the coolest GenX rock club, the X-Ray. Fred and Toody are the longest running, iconic garage rockers in town. (I did some videos for them around 1983.) Sam Henry was the drummer for the Wipers and Napalm Beach, a junkie so notorious that Gus Van Sant is said to have introduced Matt Dillon to him to study how to act like a junkie for Drugstore Cowboy. Ron Funches is a Salem comedian now in LA who just landed a major role on the NBC sitcom "Undateable" for this fall, LA Weekly's #1 Comic to Watch. Super nice guy too. Packy is a famous elephant.
posted by msalt at 1:15 PM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just left Portland.
While there I met an old friend outdoors at a dog-friendly brew pub late in the evening. While he was explaining to me Portland wasn't weird an odd truck stopped and watered the plants hanging high above our heads. Then the young women next to us started hula-hooping.
Yep, nothing to see here. Move along.
posted by cccorlew at 4:51 PM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I moved here three years ago for no real reason other than I wanted to get out of the suburbs and what I considered to be a hostile city. I love it here and I don't think there are as many weird people as the media makes it seem like there are. Likewise, things that people consider to be "hipster" (a term I loathe) are things that I find important and I don't understand why people appear to vilify them, but maybe someone else can give me some context. I don't think it's weird or wrong to want to buy organic (and even locally grown) food or support local businesses, or to be able to bike around town, or to hang out in a park. I like living here because it's fun and it feels like a "city" but it's not a big city like New York or San Francisco. If it is disproportionally weird then that's a good thing for someone like me who doesn't want scary and negative attention from people just for wearing cut off shorts. When I visited my friends back "home" a while ago I went to a show and was wearing cut off shorts and I had so many strangers publicly criticize and be aggressive toward me, simply because my shorts were...short (not even that short even). Obviously there are other cities where that doesn't happen and other cities that are really great, but moving here has improved my self-esteem so much because I am no longer afraid of random people.


I don't think it's that weird to want to be able to live your life without criticism and verbal abuse from strangers.
posted by gucci mane at 7:51 PM on July 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I wrote (in my new book) about how when I went to college in Boston, my first thought was "Oh my God, every single person here is an asshole." Total strangers insulting my clothes -- I just didn't understand that mentality.

Of course now I'm a standup comic so I'M the asshole.
posted by msalt at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2013


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