Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Homage to Jack McLarty

While I was talking with and photographing Portland artist Jack McLarty, he showed me a series of woodcuts he had in his studio. This series of mostly black and white prints were portraits of artists he had known over the years, most from the Northwest. Here is one he created of Gordon Gilkey, with his wife behind him:

I decided to create my own woodcut portrait of Jack, with his wife Barbara in the background, in a similar manner. And here it is:

Homage to Jack McLarty
Fritz Liedtke
Visit the PNCA website to see their cover story on Jack, using my images.

Creating environmental portraits like this is one of my very favorite jobs.  So meaningful.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jack McLarty, Artist

"Jack McLarty in the Hand of God"
One of my portraits of him, in front of a self-portrait.

Artist Jack McLarty is a native son of Portland. He is a well-known artist both locally and nationally (you can find him in all the art encycolpedias on the web, and in many museum collections), with a long list of credits to his name. His paintings and prints are often described as 'independent, personal, and urban.'

Jack is a thoughtful, articulate man, whose work spans decades and continents. His travels have taken him from New York to France, Mexico to Japan, and yet Portland is still home. He taught for many years at the Museum Art School (now Pacific NW College of Art), co-founded Print Arts Northwest with George Johansen, ran the Image Gallery with his wife, and more.

I had the privilege of spending some time with Jack and his energetic wife Barbara, talking about their work, and photographing them.

Jack McLarty's studio is the one bedroom in their one bedroom apartment. Barely 8 feet by 10 feet, lit by a small window, it is filled with art supplies, books, memorabelia, print series, and paintings in progress. He talked me through 10 or 12 acrylic paintings in progress, many of which I wouldn't mind having even in their current, unfinished state.

This is the second time I have had the privilege of talking with and photographing a respected, aging artist in his studio. Last year I visited with sculptor and printmaker Manuel Izquierdo, and the portrait of him and his studio that resulted were some of my favorite work of the year. I hope to do more of this work, documenting the lives and spaces of venerable artists. Perhaps it is the influence of the work of one of my favorite photographers, Arnold Newman; or just that I also am an artist, and love to document others in their native habitat: the studio. It's inspiring work.

Jack has kept notebooks in his pocket for decades. Barbara showed me some of them, each dated on the cover with a year. They are compendia of his thoughts, quotes, and sketches. Though painting in his tiny studio, Jack tells me he paints from observation. He pays attention to life, remembers and records it, and paints from it.

The artist's hands.

Jack has a collection of tin wind-up toys, dating back to his childrens' childhoods and perhaps earlier. Most of them, he tells me, are broken; his art students used to come over and play with them, winding them far too tightly, until the springs broke....

Visit the PNCA website to see their cover story on Jack, using my images.

Photographing portraits of Portland artists is one of my very favorite photo assignments.  And visit my fine art photography website to see more of my own artwork!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Receive My Blog in Your Email!

I've just added a new feature to my blog: the ability to receive these posts via email, whenever I make a new post. If you look to the right, you'll see the box where you can enter your email address. It's not for spam, it's just for subscribing to this blog. And why wouldn't you? Beautiful photographs and interesting stories, delivered every so often straight to your email inbox.

If you're more technically hip, of course, you can subscribe to my rss feed. (If you have no idea what an rss feed is, don't worry about it; just enter your email address!) You know who you are.

Either way about it, it's easier than navigating over here every once in a while to see what's up. With subscription, it's like receiving free candy every time I make a post, hand delivered to your desktop....

The Catcher

Heritage High School in Vancouver is new, and massive. In the early morning light, the 3 baseball fields glisten with the dew on the grass and the fine layer of spiderwebs that cover every inch of the ground. Our breath glows in front of our faces as if we were smoke-breathing dragons.

Into this scene steps James, varsity baseball catcher for the Timberwolves. We fire away, imagining this photograph reproduced one day in Sports Illustrated, when James has his own trading cards, screaming fans, and pennants.

As one of the premier Vancouver senior portrait photographers, I love portrait sessions like this!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Grace's Portland Portrait Photographer

I've known Grace since she was in the 7th grade. She was going to DaVinci Arts Middle School while I was there working on a photographic project on adolescence. One day I looked out the classroom window and saw Grace down on the swingset, wearing a pearl necklace and jeans and Converse, looking a little melancholy under the gray skies. I told her to stay there, while I grabbed my big wooden field camera, and raced out to photograph her. Later that day I discovered that Grace and her friend were supposed to have been in class at that time, and they spent a little time in the principal's office as a result.

On the upside, the portrait I took of Grace on the swingset made the final cut, and was published last January in LensWork Magazine.

So it was a delight to have opportunity to take some new portraits of Grace yesterday at Mt Tabor park. Here's a favorite:

I'm pleased to say that, in spite of her time in the principal's office in middle school, Grace is now the student body president at Franklin High School. Pretty cool.

View more of my Portland portrait photographer portraits at www.fritzphoto.com!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Amanda the Cellist--Portland Senior Portrait Photographer

Well, I've only included one photo of Amanda with her cello here, but she does play one...

We photographed Amanda's Portland senior portrait photography at the amazing Leach Botanical Garden.  
Such a gorgeous venue for her senior portrait photography!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Steve and Darla - McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Wedding Photography

Steve Baliko is quite a guy. Two years ago, he dressed up as his favorite poet/author, Wendell Berry, to go to a costume party. This means he dressed up as a farmer, because that's what Wendell Berry is, overalls and all. In fact, Berry still farms with a mule team on his family's farm in Kentucky.

When Steve first told me this story, my ears perked up. Anytime you meet a Wendell Berry fan, you know you've met a brother (or sister). Berry writes novels (my favorite: Jayber Crow), short stories (Fidelity), the most insightful essays (Sex, Economy, Freedom, Community), and poetry (Collected Poems). He's written a wagonload of books, most of which I've read. In fact, before I ever met my eventually-wife Shannon, I had perused her bookshelf and discovered Wendell Berry. I was intrigued.

Well, Steve Baliko was intrigued when he met this girl at the costume party, because when asked to guess who he was, she said, "Wendell Berry?"

You can guess the rest.

They were married this past Saturday, and I had the privilege of being their Portland wedding photographer. Obviously, I go to a lot of weddings, but it's rare that I am as excited to see two people together as I was this weekend. What a gracious, real, joyful, beautiful couple. Darla glowed, and she made everyone around her glow, as well.

Steve's brothers tried to make him glow, also, but it wasn't quite the same:

This young lady is a sweetheart. I loved the way she gnawed at her apple. Check out those teeth.

We love being some of the most experienced McMenamin's Cornelius Pass Roadhouse wedding photographers!